Micah Christenson setting in U.S. win over Serbia.
Micah Christenson Setting in U.S. Win Over Serbia

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 20, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team opened the second week of Volleyball Nations League (VNL) preliminary round play with a 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21) victory over Serbia in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

The U.S. Men (4-1), ranked fifth in the world, come right back tomorrow to face China (1-4) at 7:30 a.m. PT.

Four players registered double-digit kills totals with outside hitter T.J. DeFalco leading the way with 14. He added a block and two service aces for a team-high 17 points. Outside hitter Aaron Russell finished with 13 kills, while outside hitter Matt Anderson and middle blocker Jeff Jendryk each added 10.

“They are all beasts, they are all incredible attackers,” captain and setter Micah Christenson said about setting the U.S. hitters. “There is no wrong decision on this team because they can all put the ball away with one, two, or three blocks up.”

Anderson added four blocks and two aces, and middle blocker David Smith recorded a match-high six blocks as the U.S. carved out a huge advantage in blocking, 11-4.

After dropping the first set, the U.S. started serving tougher and jumped out in front in the second set. An ace from DeFalco gave the U.S. a six-point advantage,16-10, and Serbia never got closer than three points the remainder of the set as the U.S. evened the match.

The U.S. Men continued their strong play in the third set and when DeFalco put an overpass straight down, they led 21-14 and went on to take a two set to one lead. The fourth set was more of the same as the U.S. clinched the match despite a gallant effort from Serbia, who fought off three match points.

“I think we executed really well, even in the first set. We’ve got to give Serbia a lot of credit for that first set. They did a great job in transition,” Christenson explained. “It felt like it was coming together and 25 came just a little too fast. If we stayed out on the court a little longer, we were confident we were going to get that and it showed in the second, third, and fourth sets.”

Volleyball Nations League is the world’s premier annual international indoor volleyball tournament. The top 16 teams in the world play four matches a week for three weeks of preliminary competition. The top eight teams at the end of the preliminaries will go to the Final Round.

The U.S. Men will host the third round of preliminary play in Anaheim, California, on July 4-9.

Get tickets for the Anaheim matches at volleyballworld.com

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster for Week 2
2023 Volleyball Nations League

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)
16 Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
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)
23 Cody Kessel (OH, 6-5, Colorado Springs, Colo., Princeton Univ., Rocky Mountain)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matt FuerbringerJavier Weber
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Manager: David Dantes
Team Doctor: James Suchy

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
(All times PT)
June 20 USA def Serbia 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21)
June 21 at 7:30 a.m. USA vs China
June 23 at 7:30 a.m. USA vs Iran
June 24 at 4 a.m. USA vs Poland

Week 3 in Anaheim, California, USA
July 5 at 6:30 p.m. USA vs Cuba
July 7 at 6:30 p.m. USA vs Argentina
July 8 at 6:30 p.m. USA vs France
July 9 at 6:30 p.m. USA vs Bulgaria