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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 7, 2022) – Outside hitter Aaron Russell and opposite Kyle Ensing each scored 14 points on Tuesday as the U.S. Men’s National Team won its opening match of the 2022 Volleyball Nations League 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-14) over Slovenia.

The U.S. Men (1-0) will play Netherlands in their next match on Thursday at 2 p.m. PT. All matches are shown life and on-demand on VolleyballWorld.tv, a subscription service.

Russell was playing in his first match with the U.S. Men since 2019. After the 2020 season was canceled due to the pandemic, he underwent hip surgery in the spring of 2021.

“It’s great to be able to play like that and fight hard with this team again,” Russell said.

“We worked really hard during this little break we had after the pro season. Tonight, our block and defense worked really well for us.”

Russell’s 14 points were matched by opposite Kyle Ensing. Russell scored on eight kills, four blocks and two aces. Ensing added a match-high 12 kills and two aces.

Overall, the U.S. Men led Slovenia in kills (36-27), blocks (14-4) and aces (7-3). Each team had 18 errors.

“Even though we had limited video, I think our coaches did a good job of changing on the fly and communicating with us and our middle blockers,” Russell said. “Our libero (Kyle Dagostino) did a good job of coordinating the block and defense.”

The U.S. hitting efficiency was .403 behind the combined efforts of starting setter Josh Tuaniga and his backup James Shaw. Tuaniga started each set and Shaw would enter the match toward the end.

Libero Kyle Dagostino was credited with five successful receptions and five digs. Russell led the team in digs with six.

Among other U.S. scorers, outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke scored nine points on six kills, two aces and a block. Middle David Smith added eight points on a match-high five blocks and three kills. Middle Jeff Jendryk scored seven points on four kills and three blocks.

Tuaniga finished with three points on two kills and an ace and Shaw scored two points on a kill and a block.

Tuesday’s victory was a bit of vengeance for the U.S. Men, who lost a five-set battle to Slovenia in the 2021 VNL.

U.S. Men’s National Team 25-Person Roster for
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)
7 Jacob Pasteur (OH, 6-4, Westminster, Md., Ohio State Univ., Chesapeake)
9 Jake Hanes (OPP, 6-10, Orland Park, Ill., Ohio State Univ., Great Lakes)
10 Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Florida, Stanford Univ., Florida)
13 Patrick Gasman (MB, 6-10, Clovis, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii, 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)
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)
23 Cody Kessel (OH, 6-5, Colorado Springs, Colo., Princeton Univ., Rocky Mountain)
27 Tyler Mitchem (MB, 6-11, Bolingbrook, Ill., Lewis Univ., Great Lakes)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matthew Fuerbringer, Mike Wall, Javier Weber
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)

June 9 at 2 p.m.
USA vs Netherlands

June 10 at 2 p.m.
USA vs Japan

June 11 at 11 a.m.
USA vs Brazil

Preliminary Round 2 – Sofia, Bulgaria
June 22 at 10 a.m.
USA vs Serbia

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