COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 25, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team made sure their inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) match on Friday was memorable.

The U.S. Men fought back from Argentina’s match point to defeat the South Americans, 25-27, 24-26, 26-24, 25-21, 15-10 in their first VNL pool play match in Ningbo, China.

The U.S. Men will play Serbia on Saturday at 1 a.m. PT. The FIVB has chosen to live stream the matches.

The U.S. Men are in China without usual starters Matt Anderson, Aaron Russell and Micah Christenson, all of whom are on the preliminary roster, but had late finishes to their club seasons.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw started Taylor Sander and Thomas Jaeschke at outside hitter, David Smith and Jeff Jendryk at middle blocker, Ben Patch at opposite, Kawika Shoji at setter and Erik Shoji at libero.

Despite the team’s early struggles, Speraw stuck with the lineup until 13-10 in the fifth set, when he brought in 6-foot-6 setter Jonah Seif to provide more of a block threat with his setting.

“The team prepared really well mentally,” said Patch, who led all scorers with 23 points on 21 kills and two blocks. “We are here to win but we are also here to get better… I think it’s a matter of preparation.”

Sander, a fellow BYU Cougar of Patch’s, started slow, but picked up in the final three sets and finished with 19 points on 15 kills, three blocks and one ace. Jaeschke and Jendryk each finished with 11 points and Smith had 10.

After winning the first two sets, Argentina held match point at 24-23 in the third. Patch tied it with a kill off the block. With Patch serving, a kill and block by Smith won the set for the United States.

With the U.S. leading 14-13 in the fourth set, Jaeschke scored on a tip, giving Kawika Shoji the serve. He served for four more points, including an ace, putting the U.S. ahead for good.

With the scored tied 2-2 in the fifth, Patch scored with a kill after a tough rally and Shoji added a setter dump. Argentina’s next attack went long and Patch got a kill of the block to put the U.S. ahead 6-2. Argentina never caught up.

The U.S. led in blocks (11-6) and aces (5-0) and scored on 38 of Argentina’s errors while committing 35. Argentina led in kills (66-61).

Outside hitters: Taylor Sander and Thomas Jaeschke
Middle blockers: David Smith and Jeff Jendryk
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Kawika Shoji
Libero: Erik Shoji

Kills: Patch 21, Sander 15, Jaeschke 10, Jendryk 7, Smith 7, K Shoji 1
Blocks: Sander 3, Jendryk 3, Smith 3, Patch 2
Aces: K Shoji 2, Jaeschke 1, Jendryk 1, Sander 1

2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League

U.S. Men’s 14-Man Travel Roster for China

3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
8. T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
12. Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
13. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
17. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola)
18. Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
19. Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Hawaii)
20C. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
23. Jonah Seif (S, 6-6, Thousand Oaks, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
26. Kyle Ensing (Opp, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager: Andrea Becker
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Doctor: William Stetson

Schedule and Results (all times PT)
At Ningbo, China

May 25: USA def Argentina, 25-27, 24-26, 26-24, 25-21, 15-10
May 26 at 1 a.m.: Bulgaria vs USA
May 27 at 4:30 a.m.: China vs USA

At Goiânia, Brazil
June 1 at 8:15 a.m.: Japan vs USA
June 2 at 7:10 a.m.: Korea vs USA
June 3 at 8:40 a.m.: Brazil vs USA

At Ottawa, Canada
June 8 at 1:40 p.m.: Germany vs USA
June 9 at 1:10 p.m.: USA vs Australia
June 10 at 1:10 p.m.: Canada vs USA

At Hoffman Estates, Ill., USA
June 15 at 5:30 p.m.: USA  vs. Serbia
June 16 at 5:30 p.m.: USA vs. Poland
June 17 at 2:30 p.m.: USA vs. Iran

At Modena, Italy
June 22 at 8:30 a.m.: USA vs France
June 23 at 8:30 a.m.: USA vs Russia
June 24 at 11:30 a.m.: Italy vs USA

-17: Serbia, Poland, Iran – TICKETS in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
June 22-24: Italy, Russia, France in Italy