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International men: Strong week for Taylor Averill, Projekt Warsaw; big matches on tap

International men: Strong week for Taylor Averill, Projekt Warsaw; big matches on tap

Michael Ma’a, left, blocks for Halkbank in its win over Benfica/cev.ru

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 blairlambert2@gmail.com

With the holidays just around the corner, some leagues go on hiatus, but there are some interesting matches on the docket in the world of professional volleyball. 

Micah Christenson and Zenit Kazan did not play a Russian Super League match this past week, but play Dynamo Moscow in the Russian Cup final on Christmas Eve. Christenson is one match away from winning his third consecutive Russian Cup.

The biggest match so far in the Turkish Efeler League is also December 24 between Halkbank Ankara and Fenerbahce. Both are undefeated in league play and CEV competitions.

The Berlin Recycling Volleys will play SVG Lüneburg on December 23 in a match between the German Bundesliga’s top two teams.

There is a full lineup of Boxing Day matches in Italy, marking the end of the first half of the season, and will set the seeds for the eight-team Coppa Italia. Gabi Garcia and Pallavolo Padova play Itas Trentino. Padova needs to win and must have Rana Verona lose in order to qualify for the Coppa Italia as the eighth seed. Franceso Sani and Verona play Lube Civitanova in an attempt to hold onto the last spot in the competition and keep Padova out.

Gioelle Prisma Taranto is looking for its best chance at a win in 2023 when it plays Farmitalia Catania, the last-place team in Italy. Taranto has gone to five sets six times this season and its six points puts it ahead of Catania in the standings, despite Catania having one win. There is a chance that if Jeff Jendryk and Kyle Russell’s Taranto club loses in five sets, it will still be above Catania in the standings despite having two-fewer wins.

Last week featured another round of European cup competitions and the conclusion of the Emperor’s Cup in Japan. Injuries to Dave Smith, TJ DeFalco and some of their teammates tempered what could have been a competitive week.

Matt Anderson’s Ziraat Bankasi did not have a domestic league match, but he had 16 kills and block against Olympiakos Piraeus in the Champions League. The four-set victory keeps Ziraat Bankasi (3-0) on top of Pool A.

ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle needed five sets to get past Knack Roeselare. Erik Shoji passed 60 percent positively and 60 percent…

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