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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 10, 2022) – The U.S. Men’s National Team finished the Preliminary Round of the Volleyball Nations League the hard way with a 3-2 (29-27, 22-25, 20-25, 25-13, 17-15) win over Argentina on Sunday.

The U.S. Men finished the Preliminary Round at 10-2 and in third place in the standings. They will return to Anaheim to prepare for the Final Round on July 20-24 in Bologna, Italy.

The U.S. victory ended Argentina’s hopes for making it to the Final Round. It comes almost a year after Argentina eliminated the U.S. Men from the Tokyo Olympic Games by winning their final pool play match.

Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco played like a man on a mission and led all scorers with 28 points on 25 kills (.442 hitting efficiency) and three blocks.

“We were expecting a good game and a fight from the beginning, but I wasn’t expecting something like that,” DeFalco said of the five-setter. “I’m happy that everyone who’s here witnessed a good fight.”

The U.S. Men led Argentina in blocks (13-7) and aces (3-2) while Argentina held a narrow 66-65 lead in kills. Argentina gave up 32 points in errors while the U.S. gave up 30.

After Argentina won set 3 and took a 2-1 lead, U.S. Head Coach John Speraw started opposite Kyle Ensing and setter Micah Christenson in sets 4 and 5, which seemed to give the U.S. a boost. Both athletes played earlier in the match as substitutes for starters Jake Hanes at opposite and Josh Tuaniga at setter.

“We needed to use our bench today. It was a full team effort in the win,” Speraw said. “To go five after along week, I was just really proud of the way we fought for the win when we were down.”

Middle blocker David Smith was the team’s second-leading scorer with 14 points on nine kills (.667), three blocks and two aces. Middle Mitch Stahl scored 11 points on seven kills (.500), three blocks and one ace.

Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia made his first 2022 VNL start and scored 10 points on 10 kills. He also led the team in successful receptions with 11.

Ensing finished with eight points on seven kills and one block. Hanes scored seven points on seven kills.

Christenson scored three points on three blocks. He combined with Tuaniga to set the U.S. Men to a .424 hitting percentage.

Libero Kyle Dagostino led the team in digs with 10 and had 10 successful receptions.