Micah Christenson and Taylor Averill

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 8, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team showed off the benefits of experience against a young Italian team at the Volleyball Nations League on Thursday, getting its second straight sweep (25-15, 25-18, 25-19) in Ottawa, Canada.

The U.S. Men (2-0) will take Friday off before playing host Canada (1-0) at 6 p.m. PT on Saturday.


U.S. outside hitter T.J. DeFalco stood out for a second match, leading all scorers with 15 points including a match-high nine kills (.533 hitting efficiency), a match-high four aces and two blocks. Three of his aces came on his first four serves of the match.

“We served the ball really, really well. That’s nice to see this early in the season,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “I think Micah Christenson is doing a great job with the offense. When we’re passing well and he’s setting like that, good things happen for us.”

Christenson set the team to a .508 hitting efficiency. Overall, the U.S. led in kills (35-30), blocks (7-1) and aces (10-4). The U.S. scored 23 points on Italy’s errors while giving up 17.

“I think about how good our passing has been,” Christenson said. “Our passing line has been nails; whoever has been in there. It’s made my job easier. All the credit to those guys.”

Libero Erik Shoji was credited with 11 digs and two successful receptions.

Middle blocker Max Holt, playing in his first match with the U.S. Men since the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021, was the second-leading scorer with 10 points on seven kills (.875), two blocks and one ace.

Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia finished with nine points on seven kills (.500) and two aces. Middle Taylor Averill scored eight points on five kills, two blocks and one ace.

Outside hitter Matt Anderson totaled seven points on six kills and one ace. Christenson scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace.

U.S. Men’s National Team 30-Athlete Roster for
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)
Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
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)
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)
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)
23 Cody Kessel (OH, 6-5, Colorado Springs, Colo., Princeton Univ., Rocky Mountain)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matt FuerbringerJavier Weber
Second Assistant Coaches: Erik Sullivan
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Manager: David Dantes
Sports Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Team Doctor: Andrew Gregory

U.S. Men’s Schedule for the 2023 VNL
All matches will be broadcast on volleyballworld.tv

Week 1 in Ottawa, Canada
(All times PT)
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 at 5 p.m. USA vs Canada
June 11 at 11:30 a.m. USA vs Brazil

Week 2 in Rotterdam, Netherlands
June 20 at 7:30 a.m. USA vs Serbia
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