HOFFMAN ESTATES. Ill. (June 23, 2019) – Nothing like a getting over a tough loss with a big win, even it is not against the best team.

The U.S. Men’s National Team capped off the penultimate weekend of FIVB Volleyball Nations League preliminary play with a 25-20, 25-19, 25-19 win over China on Sunday at the Sears Centre.

The U.S. Men will play their final VNL weekend in Bulgaria where they will face Bulgaria (June 28), Serbia (June 29) and Iran (June 30). Matches will be shown live on FloVolleyball.tv, a subscription service.

A day after falling to Canada, 3-1, the U.S. Men outhit China 48-31 and out-blocked it 10-4. The U.S. hit .532 behind setter Micah Christenson while China hit .368. China led in aces 4-1.

The general consensus seemed to be that the United States is probably a more talented team than China (1-11), which sits in last place in the standings. But that didn’t take any shine off the win for the United States.

“Kudos to our whole team for pulling it off and finishing the weekend with a win over a tough China team,” U.S. opposite Ben Patch said. “China played well. We were just serving the ball really well, receiving the ball really well and we’re a hard team to hit against. We’re big blockers. If we’re on point with our defensive plan then it’s hard to get past us.”

China coach Raul Lozano tended to agree.

“The U.S. team is at another level technically,” he said through an interpreter. “Without doubt, it is one of the top four teams in this tournament.”

Team captain and outside hitter Taylor Sander was happy the team got to work on improving its offense.

“I though we passed well and we ran our system better than we did last night,” he said. “That was a big improvement. That’s what we wanted to work on. That was a really positive thing.”

The U.S. has already qualified for the VNL Finals by virtue of hosting them July 10-14 at Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago.

Sander led the U.S. with 15 points on 12 kills, two blocks and one ace. Patch had 14 points on 14 kills. Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia scored 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks.

The middles also came through as David Smith finished with seven points and Jeff Jendryk with six.


Outside hitters: Taylor Sander and Garrett Muagututia

Middle blockers: David Smith and Jeff Jendryk

Opposite: Ben Patch

Setter: Micah Chirstenson

Libero: Erik Shoji

Substitutes: Micah Ma’a (S) and Larry Tuileta (L)


Kills: Patch 14, Muagututia 12, Sander 12, Smith 5, Jendryk 4, Christenson 1

Blocks: Sander 2, Muagututia 2, Smith 2, Jendryk 2, Christenson 2

Aces: Sander 1

U.S. Men’s Roster for Hoffman Estates, Ill.

1  Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)

3C  Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)

4  Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)

8  T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)

11  Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)

12  Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)

13  Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)

14  Micah Ma’a (S, 6-3, Kaneohe, Hawaii, UCLA)

17  Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola)

18  Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)

19  Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Hawaii)

20  David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)

22  Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

23  Larry Tuileta Jr. (L, 6-2, Honolulu, Hawaii, Hawaii)

Head Coach: John Speraw

Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton

Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo

Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

Team Leader: Dan Friend

Doctor: Mark Hutchinson

2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League

U.S. Men’s Schedule (all times PT)

Katowice, Poland

Brazil def USA, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23

Poland def USA, 17-25, 34-32, 26-28, 25-23, 15-9

USA def Australia, 19-25, 27-25, 25-16, 25-16

Ufa, Russia

Italy def USA, 25-23, 13-25, 25-20, 25-23

Russia def Italy, 25-22, 25-19, 25-15

USA def Portugal, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17

Cannes, France

USA def Argentina, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21

USA def Germany, 25-22, 21-25, 25-19, 25-20

USA def France, 3-25, 25-22, 28-26, 27-25

Hoffman Estates, Illinois, USA

USA def Japan, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19

Canada def USA, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 25-17

USA def China, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19

Plovdiv, Bulgaria

June 28 at 10:40 a.m.: USA v Bulgaria

June 29 at 7 a.m.: USA v Serbia

June 30 at 7 a.m.: USA v Iran