U.S. Men's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 17, 2023) – What’s the sign of a difficult volleyball tournament? When your prize for winning the preliminary round is playing the defending champion.

The U.S. Men’s National Team finished the preliminary round of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) in first place with a 10-2 record. Their quarterfinal opponent will be France (6-6), which finished eighth.

France is the defending VNL and Olympic champion. But it didn’t use some top players when it played the U.S. Men during the preliminary round, namely outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth, the 2020 Olympic MVP.

The U.S. Men will need to be prepared for any possibility when they play France in the quarterfinals on Wednesday at 8 a.m. PT on Wednesday (July 19). The winner advances, the loser goes home.

“The seeding doesn’t matter. The quarterfinals are going to be tough,” said Micah Christenson, the team captain and starting setter, prior to the team’s final preliminary match against Bulgaria. “We’re going to get ready to play some high-level volleyball and every game is a final at that point.”

The 14 players chosen for the U.S. roster at the Final Round all had playing time in preliminary round matches.

There are nine Olympians on the roster: Christenson, opposite Matt Anderson, outside hitters T.J. DeFalco, Thomas Jaeschke, Garrett Muagututia and Aaron Russell, middle blockers Max Holt and David Smith and libero Erik Shoji.

With them will be setter Micah Ma’a, opposite Jake Hanes, middle blockers Taylor Averill and Jeff Jendryk and libero Kyle Dagostino.

DeFalco was the team’s leading scorer through the preliminary round, although he did not start every match. He finished with 135 points on 112 kills, eight blocks and 15 aces. Anderson scored 112 points on 90 kills, eight blocks and 14 aces.

Their aces put them 11th and 13th among all servers in the VNL, respectively.

Christenson is second among all setters with 225 successful sets.

Smith led the team in blocks with 19, which puts him 13th among all VNL players.

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster for Final Round

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)
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, 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
Mental Performance Coach: Andrea Becker
Team Leader:
David Dantes
Strength and Conditioning Coach:
 Tim Pelot
Second Assistant Coach: Mortez Shiari
Team Doctor: Steven Stovitz

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 USA def France 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 27-25)
July 9 USA def Bulgaria, 3-0 (29-27, 25-19, 25-21)

Final Round in Gdansk, Poland
8 a.m. PT USA vs France