Top five things the U.S. Men’s National Team brings with them on road trips:
5. Assigned Reading: Before they won the 2015 FIVB World Cup, U.S. Head Coach John Speraw had the players reading The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown. The team discussed the book as they read along.
4. The Settlers of Catan: This may seem old school but the U.S. Men played this board game, which was developed in Germany in 1995, all the time on road trips during the summer of 2015.
3. Playing Cards: When there is no room for a board game, then the players get out the cards. It is a way to interact and compete while taking a break from the stress of the court.
2. Music: Gotta have the tunes and most players prefer streaming their music when they can. They also like to bring a small speaker to listen to music during practice.
1. Cell phone and/or tablet: Keeping in touch with the folks at home while on the road is a priority for the players and staff, especially during a long event like the World Cup.
CEV CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
In the battle of brothers, U.S. setter Kawika Shoji and Turkey’s Arkas Izmir defeated his brother and U.S. libero Erik Shoji and also outside hitter Paul Lotman of the host Berlin Recycling Volleys on Nov. 4, 25-27, 25-18, 25-22, 13-25, 15-12. Kawika Shoji scored nine points on a match-high five aces along with three kills and one block. He also set Izmir to a .522 hitting efficiency. Lotman scored 11 points on eight kills, two blocks and one ace for Berlin. He was also credited with 30 receptions, 63 percent positive. Erik Shoji was credited with 18 receptions, 63 percent positive.
Middle blocker Max Holt led all players with five blocks as his Russian team Dinamo Moscow defeated Germany’s VfB Friedrichchafen, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16 on Nov. 3. Holt also scored two points on kills.
Middle blocker David Smith and his French league team Tours defeated Greece’s PAOK Thessaloniki, 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-16 on Nov. 4. Smith scored 13 points on six kills, five blocks and two aces. American Jace Olsen also plays for Tours, but did not play in the match.
Opposite Murphy Troy and his Polish team Lotos Trefl Gdansk defeated Serbia’s Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad, 25-18, 25-16, 25-19. Troy scored 12 points on 11 kills and one block.
U.S. setter Micah Christenson and Cucine Lube Banca Marche Civitanova are 2-0 in the Italian league. On Nov. 1, Christenson was named the match MVP as Civitanova beat LPR Piacenza, 25-18, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20. Christenson started all four sets and scored five points on two kills, two aces and one block. He set the team to a .518 hitting efficiency.
Outside hitter Taylor Sander and Calzedonia Verona are 1-1 after two weeks of league play. On Nov. 1, Sander led his team with 12 points as Verona fell to DHL Modena, 25-19, 25-17, 25-17. Sander scored on 10 kills, one block and one ace.
Outside hitter Aaron Russell and Sir Safety Conad Perugia are 1-1 after two weeks of play. Sam Holt, brother of National Team middle blocker Max Holt, also plays on the team. In a 25-17, 25-21, 25-23 loss to Verona on Oct. 25, Russell scored nine points on seven kills, one block and one ace. Taylor Sander led all scorers with 12 points on eight attacks, two blocks and two aces.
Tonazzo Padova, including U.S. middle blocker Taylor Averill and outside hitter Brian Cook, is 0-2 after two weeks. On Nov. 1, Padova fell to Diatec Trentino, 25-15, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23. Averill scored 14 points on 10 kills, three blocks and one ace. Cook, who started the final three sets, added six points on four kills and two blocks.
Outside hitter Matt Anderson and his Russian Super League team Zenit Kazan finished second at the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship in Betim, Brazil. In the final on Oct. 31, Kazan fell to Brazil’s Sada Cruzeiro Volei, 25-20, 21-25, 27-25, 25-21. Anderson scored 10 points for Kazan on 10 kills.
Libero Erik Shoji, outside hitter Paul Lotman and the Berlin Recycling Volleys are 2-0 after their first two matches in the Bundesliga. On Oct. 31, Berlin beat TSV Herrsching, 25-21, 25-14, 25-22. Lotman scored 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace. He was also credited with 11 receptions, 91 percent positive. Shoji was credited with 13 receptions, 62 percent positive.
SWD powervolleys Duren, which includes U.S. setter Matt West are 2-1 after their first three matches, including a 29-27, 22-25, 25-18, 25-17 victory on Nov. 1 over TV Ingersoll Buhl. Americans Graham McIlvaine, Peter Russell and Daniel Tublin play for Buhl. West scored seven points on three kills, two blocks and two aces and also set Duren to a .391 hitting efficiency. McIlvaine scored one point on a kill for Buhl and set the team to a .447 hitting efficiency. Russell, who is the brother of U.S. National Team player Aaron Russell, played as a substitute and did not score.
American middle blocker Scott Kevorken is serving as captain of SVG Luneburg, which is 2-1 so far this season. On Oct. 31, Luneburg beat TV Rottenburg, 30-28, 25-22, 25-19. Kevorken scored eight points on six kills, one block and one ace.
Middle blocker David Smith and his French league team Tours are 1-2 after their first three matches. On Oct. 31, Tours took its first victory, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 26-24 over AS Cannes. Smith scored seven points on four kills and three blocks. American Jace Olsen also plays for Tours, but did not play in the match. American Nikola Antonijevic plays for Cannes, but did not play in the match.
Libero Dustin Watten and his team Nancy are 0-3 after the first three matches of the season. On Oct. 31, Nancy fell to GFC Ajaccio, 25-23, 31-29, 25-21. Watten was credited with 19 receptions, 58 percent positive.