U.S. Men's National Team competing at World Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2022) – The U.S. Men’s National Team used a dramatic third-set comeback to sweep Bulgaria (25-20, 25-23, 26-24) on Sunday at the World Championship in Katowice, Poland.

The U.S. Men (2-0) will play defending world champion  and world No. 1 Poland (2-0) for pool supremacy at 11:30 a.m. PT on Tuesday. The top 16 teams advance from pool play. Matches are being shown live on VolleyballWorld.tv.

U.S. serving was on point as it led in aces 7-3. The U.S. lead was tighter in kills (39-38) and blocks (8-7). The U.S. Men scored 22 points on Bulgaria’s errors while committing 19.


Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco led the U.S. scoring with 13 points on 10 kills, one block and two aces.

It was DeFalco who took the serve in the third set when the U.S. Men were trailing 22-24 and served the next four points, including an ace and the winning back-row kill, to give the U.S. the sweep.

DeFalco’s dramatics came after setter Josh Tuaniga entered the match for Micah Christenson and served an ace to win the second set, then directed the U.S. offense throughout the third set.

“We just fought throughout that set,” said libero Erik Shoji, who was flying around the court and was credited with eight digs and three successful receptions. “T.J. went back and did what T.J. does and we got the win so it’s a huge three points (for the win).”

Opposite Matt Anderson and outside hitter Aaron Russell each finished with 11 points. Anderson’s points came all on kills. Russell had two blocks and an ace.

Christenson scored six points on a team-high four blocks (two in a row to start the match), one kill and one ace before leaving the match at the end of the second set. He and Tuaniga combined to set the U.S. Men to a .309 hitting efficiency.

Middle blockers David Smith and Jeff Jendryk each scored five points. Jendyrk scored all on kills, Smith scored on three kills, one block and one ace.

Opposite Kyle Russell played as a serving substitute and scored on an ace to win the first set. Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia came in during the third set and had a big one-handed block during DeFalco’s serving run. Tuaniga’s ace was his only point.

“Once again, great contributions from a bench that’s been impactful for us all summer,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “They did it again tonight.”

U.S. Men’s 14-Person Roster for the FIVB World Championship

No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
1 Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State, Western Empire)
Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California, Hawaii)
15 Kyle Russell (OPP, 6-9, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine, Northern California)
16 Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
19 Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Hawaii, Northern California)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine, Southern California)
21 Mason Briggs (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ., Hawaii)
23 Cody Kessel (OH, 6-5, Colorado Springs, Colo., Princeton Univ., Rocky Mountain)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matthew FuerbringerMike Wall, Javier Weber
Performance Analyst and Team Manager: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Consultant Coach: Mike Wall
Consultant Coach: Morteza Shiari
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Doctor: Daniel Green

U.S. Men’s Schedule for the 2022 FIVB World Championship
in Katowice, Poland

All Times PT
All matches are being livestreamed at VolleyballWorld.tv

August 26
USA def Mexico, 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-12)

August 28
USA def Bulgaria, 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 26-24)

August 30
11:30 a.m. Poland vs USA

September 3-6
Round of 16 matches

September 7-8

September 10

September 11