The U.S. Men’s National Team got the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier off to a strong start with a sweep (25-20, 25-16, 25-19) of Egypt on Saturday in Tokyo.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 1, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team improve to 2-0 after a sweep (25-17, 25-14, 25-17) against Finland at the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier on Sunday in Tokyo.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Men (2-0) will play Türkiye (1-1) at 12 a.m. PT.
Sunday was the first meeting for the U.S. Men and Finland in FIVB sanctioned competition.
“Finland started off the tournament very well,” said head coach John Speraw. “They played great against Japan yesterday so that gave us an opportunity to study them a little bit further. They’re athletic at the pins and play with some variety so we knew we were going to have to be disciplined with our systems and understand how to execute. I thought we did a really good job of that tonight.”
The U.S. put together their second straight match with eight aces led by T.J. DeFalco’s five ace performance. DeFalco had four aces in the previous match against Egypt.
“Serving has always been a strength of ours and something we’ve improved on and tonight was an example,” said Speraw. “I think T.J. really got us going in that first set to really break away, he had a really nice night overall. At any point, any one of our guys can go on a run and break open a set and hopefully we’ll be able to keep that up throughout the course of this tournament.”
The U.S. Men led Finland in kills (43-27), blocks (7-1) and aces (8-2). The U.S. scored 17 points on Finland errors and gave up 19.
Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco led all scorers with 14 points on seven kills, two blocks and 5 aces.
Opposite Matt Anderson added 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke totaled eight points on eight kills.
The U.S. middles has strong performances. Jeff Jendryk had 10 points on eight kills, one block and one ace. Taylor Averill added nine points or eight kills and one block.
Libero Erik Shoji was credited with five excellent receptions and five digs.
Setter Micah Christenson set his hitters up for success with a .526 setting efficiency.
Opposite Kyle Ensing was brought in at the end of the third set and added two points on two kills to help the U.S. close out the win.
Matches will be shown on VolleyballWorld.tv.
U.S. Men’s Roster for 2023 Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
1 Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State, Western Empire)
2 Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
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)
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)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California, Hawaii)
12 Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State, Ohio Valley)
14 Micah Ma’a (S, 6-3, Kaneohe, Hawaii, UCLA, Aloha)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
19 Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii, Northern 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., Hawaii)
Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matthew Fuerbringer and Javier Weber
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Leader: Nate Ngo
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Mental Performance Coach: Andrea Becker
Second Assistant: Morteza Shiari
Second Assistant: Michael Wall
Team Doctor: Lori Boyajian-O’Neill
U.S. Men’s Schedule and Results for the 2023 VNL
All matches will be broadcast on volleyballworld.tv
All times PT
Sept. 30 USA def Egypt, 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-19)
Oct. 1 at 12 a.m. USA def Finland (25-17, 25-14, 25-17)
Oct. 3 at 12 a.m. USA vs Türkiye (world No. 13)
Oct. 4 at 12 a.m. USA vs Tunisia (world No. 18)
Oct. 6 at 12 a.m. USA vs Slovenia (world No. 8)
Oct. 7 at 12 a.m. USA vs Serbia (world No. 9)
Oct. 8 at 3:25 a.m. USA vs Japan (world No. 5)