U.S. Men's National Team

ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 7, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team never stopped running, but eventually lost a marathon match to Argentina on Friday, 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 43-41, 15-12) in a Volleyball Nations League (VNL) bout before a raucous crowd at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The U.S. Men (8-2) remain in second place in the VNL standings with two matches to go. The top eight teams advance to the Final Round on July 19-23 in Gdansk, Poland.

Overall, the U.S. Men led Argentina in aces (6-4). Argentina led in kills (73-72) and blocks (13-7). Argentina scored on 39 U.S. errors and committed 36.

But the match came down to missed opportunities for the U.S. Men, who led the fourth set 21-18 and served for match point six times before losing 43-41. The set ran 50 minutes and, according to Volleyball World, is the longest VNL set ever.

“It’s certainly disappointing to have some of those swings and not finish it off,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “We’ll have to go back and figure out what we can learn from it.”

U.S. outside hitter T.J. DeFalco led all scorers with 25 points on a match-high 22 kills, one block and two aces. Opposite Matt Anderson finished with 19 points on 17 kills and two aces.

Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke added 18 points on 15 kills, one block and two aces. Starting middle blocker Max Holt totaled 13 points on 11 kills and two aces.

After the team struggled in the first set, Speraw brought in middle blocker David Smith in the second to sub for Jeff Jendryk.

“I was looking for a little more offense,” Speraw said. “I was looking for a little more of a serve and for a little more experience against a team that has a pretty unique offense and has a pretty unique setter.

“I think David did that. He stuffed a bunch of really nice out-of-system balls. He killed some really nice balls. Unfortunately, he had some errors I am sure he wishes he could get back.”

Smith scored eight points on five kills and a team-high three blocks.

Jendryk scored a point on a kill and setter Micah Christenson did too.

Libero Erik Shoji was credited with 10 successful receptions and three digs. Christenson and Jaeschke led the team in digs with 10 apiece. Jaeschke also had 11 successful receptions.

Saturday’s marquee matchup between the U.S. Men and defending Olympic champion France, which is fighting to get into the top eight, just got more interesting.

“I thought about that in the middle of the fourth set,” Speraw said. “I thought, ‘Oh boy, this where this tournament gets really, really hard.’ I am looking at some of our players and I just don’t know that we can roll out the same team tomorrow.”

U.S. Men’s Roster for Preliminary Week 3
2023 Volleyball Nations League

No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State, Western Empire)
Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
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)
15 Kyle Russell (OPP, 6-9, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine, Northern 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)
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: Matt FuerbringerJavier Weber
Second Assistant Coaches: Morteza ShiariMike Wall
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Team Manager: David Dantes
Sports Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Team Doctors: Chris Koutures, Christopher Lee, James Suchy, Eugene Yim

U.S. Men’s Schedule for the 2023 VNL
All matches will be broadcast on volleyballworld.tv

Week 1 in Ottawa, Canada
June 7 USA def Netherlands 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-21)
June 8 USA def Italy 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-19)
June 10 USA def Canada 3-0 (25-22, 25-20, 25-20)
June 11 Brazil def USA 3-1 (19-25, 25-21, 15-25, 21-25)

Week 2 in Rotterdam, Netherlands
June 20 USA def Serbia 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21)
June 21 USA def China 3-0 (28-26, 25-22, 25-18)
June 23 USA def Iran 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-23)
June 24 USA def Poland 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-19)

Week 3 in Anaheim, California, USA
July 5 USA def Cuba 3-0 (27-25, 25-17, 25-15)
July 7 Argentina def USA 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 43-41, 15-12)
July 8 at 8:30 p.m. USA vs France
July 9 at 8:30 p.m. USA vs Bulgaria

Final Round on July 19-23 in Gdansk, Poland