The U.S. Men opened the Olympic Games with a strong performance, sweeping France, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-22) on Saturday at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
TOKYO (July 26, 2021) – The U.S. Men fought hard and nearly forced a fifth set, but fell to the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) 3-1 (25-23, 27-25, 21-25, 25-23) on Monday at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Head Coach John Speraw started Matt Anderson at opposite, Taylor Sander and TJ DeFalco at outside hitter, Micah Christenson at setter, Max Holt and David Smith at middle blocker, and Erik Shoji at libero.
Outside hitters Thomas Jaeschke and Garrett Muagututia, middle blocker Mitch Stahl and setter Kawika Shoji all played as substitutes.
After falling behind in the first set, the U.S. Men fought back to tie it up 20-20 after an ace from Christenson. The teams went back and forth until ROC got an ace serve of it’s own for set point and provided momentum to take the first set.
After dropping the first two sets, the U.S. Men started set three with better energy and got the boost they needed after a DeFalco chase down to keep the ball in play led to a Christenson solo block. Speraw made two substitutions early in the third set bringing in Stahl for Smith and Muagututia for DeFalco making this the Olympic debut for both athletes. ROC made several errors on both the serving line and attacking, and the U.S. Men took advantage to take set three. Both Stahl and Muagututia scored their first Olympic points in set three.
Stahl and Muagututia started set four. The U.S. Men held a 19-15 lead at one point but were unable to take advantage of errors which allowed ROC back in it. Speraw made a double substitution at 23-23 bringing in Ensing, making his Olympic debut, and K. Shoji. ROC scored the next two points to take the set and the match.
“We just didn’t play the volleyball we needed to play and we had lots of opportunities to do so whether is was attacking in certain stretches and serving for sure in certain stretches. I think we had too many errors toward the end of that second set. The consistency of where we are right now serving hasn’t been great so that’s going to be important when you’re playing a team as physical as Russia.”
The U.S. Men led in kills (53-46) but ROC led in blocks (10-6) and aces (7-5). Sander led all players in kills (17) followed by Dmitry Volkov of ROC (16).
The U.S. Men will play Tunisia next on Tuesday, July 27 at 7:05 p.m. PT. All matches are being shown live along with replays later the same or next day. Visit NBC Olympics for broadcast information.
U.S. Men’s Roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OPP, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State Univ.)
3 Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., Brigham Young Univ.)
5 Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
6 Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., Univ. of California Los Angeles)
7 Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
8 TJ DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California)
12 Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State Univ.)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., Univ. of California Los Angeles)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
Head Coach John Speraw
Asst. Coach Brian Thornton
Asst. Coach Matthew Fuerbringer
Asst. Coach Mike Wall
Team Manager Erik Sullivan
Technical Coordinator Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer Aaron Brock
Strength Coach Timothy Pelot
Doctor Chris Lee
Statistician/Scout Andrew Strick
Massage Therapist Jennifer Holt
U.S. Men’s Olympic Schedule (all times Pacific)
July 24: USA def. France 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-22)
July 25: ROC def. USA 3-1 (25-23, 27-25, 21-25, 25-23)
July 26 at 6:00 p.m.: USA vs ROC (replay) NBCSN
July 27 at 7:05 p.m.: USA vs Tunisia Watch Live
July 28 at 2:45 p.m.: USA vs Tunisia (replay) USA Network
July 28 at 6:00 p.m.: USA vs Tunisia (replay) NBCSN
July 29 at 7:05 p.m.: Brazil vs USA Watch Live
July 30 at 9:00 a.m.: Brazil vs USA (replay) USA Network
July 30 at 11:00 p.m.: Brazil vs USA (replay) NBCSN
August 1 at 5:45 a.m.: USA vs Argentina Watch Live
August 1 at 7:00 p.m. USA vs Argentina (replay) NBCSN
August 2-3: Quarterfinals
August 4-5: Semifinals
August 6: Bronze medal match
August 7: Gold medal match