The U.S. Men overcame error woes to stave off a comeback from Tunisia and win 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23) on Wednesday at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
TOKYO (July 28, 2021) – The U.S. Men started strong but couldn’t keep pace with Brazil down the stretch, falling 3-1 (30-32, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20) on Friday at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The U.S. Men and Brazil have a historic Olympic rivalry. The two teams have met twice in the gold medal match, 1984 and 2008. In both instances, the U.S. Men triumphed to become Olympic champions. In 1988, the teams met in the semifinal match and the U.S. Men prevailed again en route to back-to-back gold medals. Most recently, in the 2016 Rio Olympics, the teams met in pool play and the U.S. Men won 3-1. The teams didn’t meet again in the tournament, but both finished on the podium with the U.S. Men taking bronze and Brazil gold.
On Thursday, Head Coach John Speraw started Matt Anderson at opposite, Taylor Sander and TJ DeFalco at outside hitter, Micah Christenson at setter, Max Holt and Mitch Stahl at middle blocker, and Erik Shoji at libero.
Stahl scored seven points on six kills and one block in his first Olympic start.
Outside hitters Thomas Jaeschke, Garrett Muagututia and David Smith all played as substitutes.
The U.S. Men jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, however, Brazil quickly stormed back to tie the set 6-6. The teams went back and forth, staying close and trading leads until the U.S. Men took set one 32-30 after a tough serve from Christenson led to an overpass and Anderson put the set away.
The U.S. Men showed some great defense at times in the second and third sets with a couple clutch digs that kept the set close, but couldn’t get ahead of Brazil late. The U.S. Men fought hard in the fourth set to get within a point of Brazil towards the end, but Brazil pulled ahead and didn’t look back.
“I think it was pretty consistent all the way through that we just need to do a better job executing game plans and taking advantage of the scoring opportunities that we had,” Speraw said. “Late in the fourth set we had a couple more too. We didn’t win the serve and pass battle, which is the most important thing.”
Next up, the U.S. Men will play Argentina on Sunday, August 1 at 5:45 a.m. to finish out pool play. All matches are being shown live along with replays later the same or next day. Visit NBC Olympics for broadcast information.
Opposite Matt Anderson said confidence is the key to move on from the loss and get ready for the next match.
“Confidence in our individual abilities, but more so, confidence in our abilities as a team and what we can do against any team in the world,” he said. “We’ve shown over time that we are a great team and are capable of achieving the greatest goal and that is to win the Olympic gold medal. We’ll need to learn from this match because I foresee us having to play Brazil again. But we’re all hands on deck going into Argentina now.”
The U.S. Men led in kills (70-58). Brazil led in blocks (9-7) and aces (7-4). Anderson led all scorers (22) followed by DeFalco (21), then Ricardo Lucarelli from Brazil (19).
U.S. Men’s Roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OPP, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State Univ.)
3 Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., Brigham Young Univ.)
5 Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
6 Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., Univ. of California Los Angeles)
7 Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California)
12 Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State Univ.)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., Univ. of California Los Angeles)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
Head Coach John Speraw
Asst. Coach Brian Thornton
Asst. Coach Matthew Fuerbringer
Asst. Coach Mike Wall
Team Manager Erik Sullivan
Technical Coordinator Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer Aaron Brock
Strength Coach Timothy Pelot
Doctor Chris Lee
Statistician/Scout Andrew Strick
Massage Therapist Jennifer Holt
U.S. Men’s Olympic Schedule (all times Pacific)
July 24: USA def. France 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-22)
July 25: ROC def. USA 3-1 (25-23, 27-23, 21-25, 25-23)
July 27: USA def. TUN 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-14, 25-23)
July 29: Brazil def. USA 3-1 (30-32, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20)
July 30 at 9:00 a.m.: Brazil vs USA (replay) USA Network
July 30 at 11:00 p.m.: Brazil vs USA (replay) NBCSN
August 1 at 5:45 a.m.: USA vs Argentina Watch Live
August 1 at 7:00 p.m. USA vs Argentina (replay) NBCSN
August 2-3: Quarterfinals
August 4-5: Semifinals
August 6: Bronze medal match
August 7: Gold medal match