Saturday, 20 Jul 2024

U.S. Men’s Update: Winter Break

The winter break has provided an opportunity for professional European men’s volleyball teams to recharge and prepare for the upcoming European Olympic Qualifier. Let’s take a look at how some of our favorite players from the U.S. have been doing during this break.

Asseco Resovia Rzeszow vs. Zenit Kazan

In Poland, Asseco Resovia Rzeszow, featuring outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and middle blocker Russell Holmes, recently played three friendly matches against Zenit Kazan, where Matt Anderson plays as an outside hitter.

On January 5, Rzeszow emerged victorious with a score of 22-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23. Jaeschke, who has been recovering from an injury, performed exceptionally well, starting all four sets and scoring 12 points on 12 kills. He also showcased his receiving skills with 14 receptions at a positive rate of 43%. Holmes did not play in this match. Anderson, on the other hand, scored 13 points on nine kills, three blocks, and one ace. He displayed his receiving prowess with 28 receptions at a positive rate of 54%.

The following day, on January 6, Kazan turned the tables and won the match with a score of 21-25, 25-22, 25-17, 21-25, 15-13.

CEV Champions League

Let’s also take a look at the performance of these players in the CEV Champions League. Anderson and Kazan have been dominating Pool D, remaining unbeaten with a record of 4-0. They secured a victory against Turkey’s Halkbank Ankara with a score of 21-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-14. In this match, Anderson played as a substitute and contributed three points from three kills.

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Jaeschke, Holmes, and Rzeszow are also undefeated in Pool G with a record of 4-0. Their victory against Volley Asse-Lennik of Belgium on December 17, with a score of 21-25, 25-13, 26-24, 25-14, saw Holmes scoring six points on five kills and one ace. Jaeschke played as a substitute and added two points from one kill and one block.

Other U.S. players in action:

  • Kawika Shoji and his team, Arkas Izmir from Turkey, hold a record of 3-1 in Pool A. Despite a loss to Russia’s Belogorie Belgorod on December 16, Shoji performed well with two points, one kill, and one block, setting his team to a .397 hitting efficiency.
  • David Smith and the French club Tours have a record of 3-1 in Pool C. On December 16, Tours secured a victory against Italy’s Trentino Diatec with a score of 18-25, 25-21, 27-25, 22-25, 15-10. Smith contributed nine points to the team’s success with four kills, three blocks, and two aces.
  • Murphy Troy and his Polish team, Lotos Trefl Gdansk, hold a record of 3-1 in Pool F. They emerged victorious against ACH Volley Ljubljana of Slovenia on December 17, with a score of 25-19, 25-17, 25-23. Troy shined in this match, leading his team with 19 points from 17 kills and one block. American opposite Eric Mochalski, who plays for Ljubljana, scored 20 points with 17 kills and three blocks.
  • The Berlin Recycling Volleys, including Paul Lotman as the outside hitter and Erik Shoji as the libero, hold a record of 2-2 in Pool A. On December 16, Berlin defeated Bulgaria’s Marek Union-Ivkoni Dupnitsa with a score of 25-14, 25-19, 27-25. Lotman contributed seven points with five kills, one block, and one ace. Shoji displayed his receiving skills with 10 receptions at a positive rate of 60%.
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Outside hitter Taylor Sander, who plays for Calzedonia Verona, faced a scare on December 20 when his team played against Sir Safety Perugia, featuring Aaron Russell as an outside hitter. Sander suffered a blow to the head from Perugia’s Serbian opposite Aleksandar Atanasijevic, resulting in being carried off the court on a stretcher. However, Sander later reassured everyone through Instagram that he was alright. Perugia claimed victory in this closely contested match with a score of 27-25, 25-14, 25-27, 23-25, 15-13.


Smith and Tours ended 2015 on a positive note, defeating Lyon on December 19 with a score of 25-22, 27-29, 26-24, 25-23. Smith’s impressive performance included 12 points from four kills, a match-high six blocks, and two aces. Tours currently holds seventh place in the French league.

Dustin Watten and Nancy faced a loss against Paris on December 19, falling with a score of 28-26, 25-18, 25-18. Watten contributed to the team’s efforts with 11 receptions at a positive rate of 27%. Nancy currently sits in 14th place in the league.

Scott Rhein and Chaumont also suffered a defeat against Toulouse on December 19, with a score of 25-19, 20-25, 26-24, 25-16. Rhein scored 10 points from 10 kills and showcased his receiving skills with 33 receptions at a positive rate of 61%. Chaumont is currently in third place in the league.


Q: What is the current standings of the U.S. players’ teams in the CEV Champions League?
A: Matt Anderson and Zenit Kazan are leading in Pool D, while Thomas Jaeschke, Russell Holmes, and Asseco Resovia Rzeszow are at the top of Pool G. Kawika Shoji and Arkas Izmir hold a strong position in Pool A, and David Smith’s team, Tours, is performing well in Pool C. Murphy Troy and Lotos Trefl Gdansk are also in a good position in Pool F. Paul Lotman and Erik Shoji’s team, the Berlin Recycling Volleys, are putting up a solid fight in Pool A.

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Q: Did Taylor Sander recover from the head injury?
A: Yes, Taylor Sander reassured his fans through Instagram that he was okay after the head injury incident during the match against Sir Safety Perugia.


As the winter break comes to an end, U.S. men’s volleyball players continue to make impressive moves on the European courts. Their performances in both the friendly matches and the CEV Champions League demonstrate their skill and dedication to the sport. We look forward to seeing more exciting games in the coming months.

Visit Alpinetgheep for more updates on the U.S. men’s volleyball team and other exciting news in the world of volleyball.