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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 7, 2022) – The U.S. Men’s National Team could have given up after losing the first set to France 25-15 in their Volleyball Nations League match on Thursday in Osaka, Japan.

The U.S. Men (8-2) hung tough and came away with a 3-2 (15-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-14, 15-8) win against France, the reigning Olympic gold medalist. Both teams secured slots in the VNL Final Round as the U.S. earned two points for the win and France earned one for losing in five sets.

The U.S. will return to the court at 11:40 p.m. PT on Saturday to play Canada (2-7).

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw was thrilled to see his team fight to win the match.

“France came out and played great in the first set as you would expect of a great team,” Speraw said. “We showed a tremendous amount of poise in coming back and getting the second set, which really changed the momentum of the match.”

U.S. outside hitter Aaron Russell called it a “great team win.

“Everybody played well in defense, and we were really flowing in sideout too,” Russell said. “It was good for us to respond to those tough matches that we lost and be able to win in five sets.”

France led the match in kills (56-46) and aces (7-6). The U.S. Men led in blocks (9-5) and scored 40 points on France’s errors while committing 28 errors itself.

Outside hitter Aaron Russell led the U.S. Men’s scoring with 18 points on 13 kills, three blocks and two aces. Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco added 15 points on 12 kills, two blocks and one ace. Opposite Kyle Ensing totaled 12 points on 10 kills and two aces.

Middle blocker David Smith scored seven points on five kills, one block and one ace and middle Jeff Jendryk totaled six points on five kills and one block.

Setter Micah Christenson scored three points on a kill and two blocks. He combined with backup setter Josh Tuaniga to set the U.S. to a .343 hitting efficiency.

Libero Erik Shoji was credited with seven digs and five successful receptions. Russell led the team with seven successful receptions.

Speraw credited the team’s serving and defense for playing a big role in the win.

“I think we turned the match around with how we served the ball,” he said. “We got aggressive, got France out of system and played great defense around it. We converted in transition on several opportunities.”

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster for Round 3 of
2022 Volleyball Nations League

No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
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)
6 Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA, Keystone)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
Jake Hanes (OPP, 6-10, Orland Park, Ill., Ohio State Univ., Great Lakes)
10 Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Florida, Stanford Univ., Florida)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California, Aloha)
16 Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA, Southern 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., Aloha)
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
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

Preliminary Round 1 – Brasilia, Brazil
June 7-11
USA def Slovenia, 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-14)
USA def Netherlands, 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-16)
USA def Japan, 3-2 (17-25, 25-15, 25-21, 26-28, 15-9)
USA def Brazil, 3-1 (21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-20)

Preliminary Round 2 – Sofia, Bulgaria
June 22-26
USA def Serbia, 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20)
Iran def USA, 3-0 (25-18, 29-27, 27-25)
USA def Bulgaria, 3-1 (25-12, 20-25, 26-24, 25-23)
Poland def USA, 3-1 (21-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-22)

Preliminary Round 3 – Osaka, Japan
July 4-9
USA def Germany, 3-1 (25-21, 25-19, 22-25, 25-18)
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