COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 29, 2021) – The U.S. Men’s National Team dropped its first match of the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Saturday to Brazil, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-19) in Rimini, Italy. The U.S. Men (1-1) will be looking for a comeback against Argentina (0-2) on Sunday (7 a.m. PDT). All VNL matches...
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 30, 2021) – The U.S. Men’s National Team got back on track on Sunday and rebounded from a first-set loss to beat Argentina 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-19) at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.
The U.S. Men (2-1) now get three days off to cheer on the U.S. Women’s National Team. They will return to the court on June 3 to play Russia at noon PDT. Argentina, which had only nine players on its roster due to COVID-19 issues, fell to 0-3.
Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco led all scorers with 20 points on a match-high 15 kills (.444) and a match-high five blocks.
“When Argentina is in rhythm, it’s hard to play some defense behind that,” DeFalco said. “As soon as we got our service pressure and blocking defense going, it turned out a little bit better for us.
“It’s the first time in a year and eight months that we’ve played together. I’m happy with the first three games. There’s obviously some things we can learn from.”
Argentina often targeted DeFalco with their serves. He was credited with 14 successful receptions.
The U.S. Men led Argentina in kills (54-36), blocks (12-9) and aces (6-1). They scored 34 points on Argentina’s errors while committing 26.
Opposite Kyle Ensing substituted for Ben Patch to start the third set and finished as the second-leading scorer with 16 points on 13 kills (.722) and three blocks. Patch finished with 10 points on six kills, three blocks and one ace.
Middle blocker David Smith, making his 2021 VNL debut, got a slow start but ended up with eight points on eight kills. Smith was one of the last players to rejoin the team after he helped his Polish club Grupa Azoty Kędzierzyn-Koźle win the CEV Champions League.
Middle Max Holt had seven points on six kills and one ace. Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia scored six points on five kills and one ace.
Setter Micah Christenson finished with five points, including a match-high three aces. He set the U.S. Men to a .365 hitting efficiency. Libero Erik Shoji was credited with six digs and nine successful receptions. Muagututia led in digs with nine.
U.S. Head Coach John Speraw started DeFalco and Muagututia at outside hitter, Holt and Smith at middle blocker, Patch at opposite, Christenson at setter and Shoji at libero. Ensing was the only substitute.
U.S. Men’s National Team 14-Person Roster for May 30
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
4 Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago)
5 Kyle Ensing (OP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State 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.)
13 Ben Patch (OP, 6-8, Layton, Utah, Brigham Young Univ.)
15 Brenden Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., Brigham Young Univ.)
16 Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach 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)
19 Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine)
21 Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
U.S. Men’s Schedule for FIVB Volleyball Nations League (all times Pacific)
May 28: USA def Canada, 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-20)
May 29: Brazil def USA, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-19)
May 30: USA def Argentina, 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-19)
June 3 at noon: Russia vs USA
June 4 at 9 a.m.: Poland vs USA
June 5 at 9 a.m.: USA vs Australia
June 9 at 7 a.m.: Iran vs USA
June 10 at 7 a.m.: Germany vs USA
June 8 at 7 a.m.: USA vs Serbia
June 15 at noon: Italy vs USA
June 16 at 10:30 a.m.: USA vs France
June 17 at 9 a.m.: Netherlands vs USA
June 21 at 9 a.m.: Slovenia vs USA
June 22 at 4 a.m.: Bulgaria vs USA
June 23 at 4 a.m.: USA vs Japan
June 26: Semifinals 1 and 2
June 27: Bronze and Gold medal matches