December 28, 2023
This is Blair Lambert’s VolleyballMag.com weekly men’s professional volleyball report, featuring Americans around the world. Got a note about a player or a comment for Blair? Email him at email@example.com
While many leagues took a Christmas break, there were still a number of matches taking place all over Europe, Asia, and South America. The European cup competitions had a full schedule last week to close out the year before resuming the second week of January, and the field for the Coppa Italia has been finalized.
TJ DeFalco and Max Holt were from injuries. Dave Smith is still sidelined.
Micah Christenson set Zenit-Kazan, which hit .337, to its third consecutive Russian Cup in a 28-26, 30-32, 25-17, 25-20 victory over Dynamo Moscow. Christenson had two blocks and an ace. Belgian outside hitter Sam Deroo, and Dmitry Volkov both scored 17 for Kazan. While Tsvetan Sokolov put away 17 kills for Moscow, he hit .139.
This is Christenson’s fifth trophy with Zenit Kazan, including three Russian Cups, a Russian Supercup, and the Russian Super League championship. He also won the Italian SuperLega and Coppa Italia with Lube Civitanova in 2017 and the 2018 Italian SuperCoppa with Modena.
CEV Champions League
Matt Anderson led all players with 11 kills, three blocks and an ace as Ziraat Bankasi swept ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle. Erik Shoji had 33 percent positive passes and eight percent perfect. Ziraat clinched a sport in the playoffs and needs a win over either Knack Roeselare or Olympiacos Piraeus in its next two matches to guarantee first place in Pool A. Those teams have a combined two wins so far in the pool.
DeFalco was a serving sub for Asseco Resovia Rzeszów in a sweep of ACH Volley Ljubljana. The win puts Resovia back in second place of Pool B with two matches remaining.
In a surprising result, Berlin Recycling Volleys swept Halkbank Ankara. Cody Kessel was third-set sub. Micah Ma’a had three kills and an ace for Halkbank, which hit. 286. Halkbank dropped into second place of Pool C behind Gas Sales Piacenza. Berlin is in third place, but with seven points. Berlin is the best third-place team and in position to qualify for the playoffs.
SVG Lüneburg was swept by visiting CV Guagas. Matt Knigge had three kills and an ace and Blake Leeson two kills and two blocks. Gage Worsley passed 50 percent of his receptions positively and 21 percent…