Monday, 11 December 2023

International Volleyball

International men: Christenson, Zenit Kazan among many early season cup winners

International men: Christenson, Zenit Kazan among many early season cup winners

This is Blair Lambert’s 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

The beginning of the professional season in most countries is accompanied by various Supercup matches that traditionally pair the winners of the league from the previous season against champions of that country’s cup competition from last year. 

Micah Christenson and Zenit Kazan won the Russian Supercup a week ago against Dynamo Moscow. This past week saw three major Supercup competitions take place. Sir Safety Perugia won the four-team Italian SuperCoppa on November 1 when it defeated Lube Civitanova in five sets. Italy takes the winners of the league and cup competitions as well as the next top two teams from the league the year before to have semifinals and a final to determine its SuperCoppa champion. There were two other Supercup matches featuring American players on November 1 and 3 in Turkey and Poland, respectively.

Matt Anderson and Ziraat Bankasi played Micah Ma’a and Halkbank Ankara for the second time this season. Halkbank claimed a five-set victory on the first day of the Turkish season, but Anderson’s 18 points helped Ziraat earn the 22-25, 31-29, 25-19, 25-23 victory and the club’s first trophy of the season. Anderson had 14 kills and four blocks with a .448 attack efficiency. Ma’a set Halkbank to a .336 hitting percentage and had a block and an ace.

The Polish Supercup pitted two familiar foes against each other, ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle faced Jastrzębski Węgiel in a a rematch of last year’s Champions League final, the last three PlusLiga finals, the last two Supercup matches, and the previous four Polish Cup finals.

Erik Shoji competed for another trophy at ZAKSA last week/plusliga/p photol

After dropping the first two sets, ZAKSA rallied for a 20-25, 24-26, 31-29, 25-19, 15-12 victory. Dave Smith hit .400 and had five kills. Erik Shoji passed 59 percent positively and 29 percent perfectly. Bartosz Bednorz was the MVP with 25 points. Tomasz Fornal matched him with 25 points for Jastrzębski Węgiel. This is ZAKSA’s third Supercup title.

CEV Cup: Kyle Dagostino and Narbonne were eliminate when they dropped the return leg to Nantes Reze 25-17, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23. Dagostino posted a 44 and 31 percent passing performance.

CEV Challenge Cup: Jaylen Jasper played the first two sets for…

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