U.S. Men's National Team competes at VNL

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 22, 2022) – Olympians T.J. DeFalco and Erik Shoji made their 2022 debuts with the U.S. Men’s National Team on Wednesday and helped it to a 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20) FIVB Volleyball Nations League win over Serbia in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The U.S. Men (5-0) are the lone undefeated team in the standings. They will play Iran (2-3) on Thursday at 10 a.m. PT. All matches are being shown live on VolleyballWorld.tv.


Until the fourth set, the match scores were very close as were the statistics. Serbia led in kills (57-56) and aces (6-5). The U.S. Men led in blocks (7-3) and scored 31 points on Serbia’s errors while committing 26.

“It was a really good volleyball match for us because Serbia played really well,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “At least in the first three sets, it was a very close match, which challenged us to play at a higher level. I think it highlighted a couple areas that we were looking to improve in and need to continue to improve.”

DeFalco at outside hitter led all scorers with 25 points on a match-high 23 kills (.625 hitting efficiency) and two blocks. At libero, Shoji was credited with four digs and nine successful receptions.

Opposite Kyle Ensing added 13 points on 13 kills.

Outside hitter Aaron Russell scored 12 points on 10 kills, one block and one ace. Middle blocker David Smith totaled 11 points on a match-high four blocks, five kills and two aces.

Middle Jeff Jendryk scored five points on five kills and setter Josh Tuaniga scored two points on two aces while setting the team to a .473 hitting efficiency.

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster for Round 2 of
2022 Volleyball Nations League
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
2 Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
3 James Shaw (S, 6-8, Woodside, Calif. Stanford, Northern California)
4 Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
5 Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
6 Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA, Keystone)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
10 Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Florida, Stanford Univ., Florida)
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)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine, Southern California)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ., Aloha)
27 Tyler Mitchem (MB, 6-11, Bolingbrook, Ill., Lewis Univ., Great Lakes)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matthew Fuerbringer, Mike Wall
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Consultant Coach: Mike Sealy
Sports Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Sports Psychologist: Bernard Whitney
Team Doctor: James Suchy

U.S. Men’s Schedule for the 2022 VNL (All times PDT)
All matches to be shown on VolleyballWorld.tv

Preliminary Round 1 – Brasilia, Brazil
USA def Slovenia, 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-14)
USA def Netherlands, 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-16)
USA def Japan, 3-2 (17-25, 25-15, 25-21, 26-28, 15-9)
USA def Brazil, 3-1 (21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-20)

Preliminary Round 2 – Sofia, Bulgaria
USA def Serbia, 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20)

June 23 at 10 a.m.
USA vs Iran

June 25 at 10 a.m.
USA vs Bulgaria

June 26 at 6:30 a.m.
USA vs Poland

Preliminary Round 3 – Osaka, Japan
July 4 at 11 p.m.
USA vs Germany

July 6 at 8 p.m.
USA vs France

July 8 at 11:40 p.m.
USA vs Canada

July 9 at 8:40 p.m.
USA vs Argentina

Final Round – Bologna, Italy
July 20-24