COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 2, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team opened the 2017 FIVB World League with a loss to Serbia, 25-18, 23-25, 25-20, 25-21 in Novi Sad, Serbia.

The United States, ranked No. 2 in the world, is playing three matches in Novi Sad. It will face Canada on Saturday and Belgium on Sunday. Friday’s match will be shown on NBCSN at 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

Serbia dominated in aces (11-3) as the U.S. struggled with serve reception.

“That is not a matter of inexperience, but lack of communication,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said.

Serbia also led in kills (50-44). The teams tied in blocks (7-7). Each team finished with 30 errors.

“Of course we are disappointed,” said U.S. Team Captain Kawika Shoji, who played as a serving substitute and came away with an ace. “We always want to win. But we did some good things and we did some bad things. We are learning on the way and we hope for the best tomorrow.”

Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco, the youngest player on the roster, made his World League playing debut and finished with eight points on seven kills and one block.

Outside hitter Taylor Sander led the team with 13 points on 11 kills and two aces. Opposite Carson Clark added 11 points on 11 kills. Middle blocker David Smith scored nine points on six attacks and three blocks.

Libero Erik Shoji led players from both teams in digs with seven. Sander and DeFalco took the brunt of the serves as Sander was credited with 14 excellent receptions and DeFalco with 13.

Opposite Ben Patch made his World League debut when he played as a substitute in the third set. He scored two points on two kills.

Among the players missing from the team that took the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games are Matt AndersonMax Holt and David Lee, who are taking some time off from the team. Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke are injured. Reid Priddy is playing beach volleyball and Murphy Troy has retired.

The FIVB is repeating the World League formula it uses in Olympic years. The U.S. Men will play Serbia, Canada and Belgium on June 2-4 in Serbia. On June 9-11, they will face Italy, Russia and host France. They will end pool play in Poland facing Iran, Russia and Poland on June 15-18.

The top five finishers plus Brazil will qualify for the World League Final Round in Curitiba, Brazil.

U.S. Starters vs Serbia
Outside hitters: Taylor Sander and T.J. DeFalco
Middle blockers: David Smith and Dan McDonnell
Sitter: Micah Christenson
Opposite: Carson Clark
Libero: Erik Shoji

Statistics vs Serbia
Kills: Sander 11, Clark 11, DeFalco 7, McDonnell 7, Smith 6, Patch 2
Blocks: Smith 3, Christenson 2, McDonnell 1, DeFalco 1
Aces: Sander 2, K Shoji 1
Digs: E Shoji 7, Sander 5, Smith 4, DeFalco 4, K Shoji 1, Christenson 1

2017 FIVB World League
June 2-4 in 
Novi Sad, Serbia
U.S. Men’s Roster

1. Tommy Carmody (MB, 6-9, Orland Park, Ill., Pacific/Pepperdine)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
7C. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
9. Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
13. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
14. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. TJ DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Leader: Mike Wall
Assistant Coaches: Matt Fuerbringer and Robert Neilson
Sports Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Strength Coach: Tim Pelot
Consultant Coach: Anton Brams

TV Schedule and Results

Date and OpponentResultLocationTV (all times EDT)
June 2SerbiaL (25-18, 23-25, 25-20, 25-21)Novi Sad, SerbiaJune 2: 9:30-11:30 p.m. NBCSN
June 3CanadaNovi Sad, SerbiaJune 3: 3-5 p.m. NBCSN
June 4BelgiumNovi Sad, SerbiaJune 4: 6-8 p.m. UniHD
June 9ItalyPau, FranceJune 9: 6-8 p.m. NBCSN
June 10RussiaPau, FranceJune 10: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. UniHD
June 11FrancePau, FranceJune 11: 3-4:30 p.m. NBCSN
June 15IranKatowice, PolandJune 15: 12-2 p.m.. NBCSN
June 17RussiaLodz, PolandJune 17: 6:30-8:30 p.m. NBCSN
June 18PolandLodz, PolandJune 18: 6-8 p.m. NBCSN
July 4Final RoundCuritiba, BrazilTBD: UniHD
July 5Final RoundCuritiba, BrazilTBD: UniHD
July 6Final RoundCuritiba, BrazilTBD: UniHD
July 7Final RoundCuritiba, BrazilTBD: UniHD