Fresh off their five set victory over the Netherlands at the end of week four, the U.S. Men battled hard in another fifth set, but fell to Slovenia, 3-2 (30-28, 19-25, 25-20, 26-28, 13-15) on Monday at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 22, 2021) – After a tough five-set loss to Slovenia on Monday, the U.S. Men rebounded with a sweep against Bulgaria, 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-9) on Tuesday at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.
“It was a tough loss yesterday, especially going five sets,” middle blocker Jeff Jendryk said. “A lot of the guys were tired so the guys who weren’t playing yesterday wanted to come in today and show the hard work they’ve put in.”
The U.S. Men (7-7) will close out the 2021 VNL against Japan (7-7) on Wednesday at 4 a.m. PT. All matches are being shown on VolleyballWorld.tv.
Head Coach John Speraw started Thomas Jaeschke and Garrett Muagututia at outside hitter, Kyle Ensing at opposite, Jendryk and Mitch Stahl at middle blocker, Kawika Shoji at setter and Erik Shoji at libero.
Opposite Jake Hanes out of Ohio State played as a substitute, making his VNL debut. He scored two points on two third-set kills and also made an amazing save that led to another point.
The U.S. Men led in kills (41-30), blocks (7-2) and aces (5-0). Muagututia was best scorer (13) followed by Jaeschke and Jendryk (10). Jendryk led all players in blocks (4) and Stahl led in aces (3). Jaeschke led all players in dig (9) followed by Erik Shoji (8).
Bulgaria kept set one close at the start, but the U.S. Men finished strong with a run at the end. Opposite Jake Hanes entered the match at 21-16 and went on a three point serving run. This was Hanes first match of VNL and first action for the U.S. Men’s National Team at the international level.
The second set was close all the way through and Bulgaria even had a set point at 24-23, but Jaeschke kept the U.S. Men alive with a back row kill. Jendryk’s block on the next play gave the U.S. Men set point and Stahl closed the set with an ace.
The U.S. Men scored eight points in a row in the middle of the third set and Bulgaria couldn’t recover. Late in the set, Hanes stole the show again when he made an incredible save while sliding into the boards that led to a Muagututia kill and the whole U.S. Men’s team erupted in celebration. Hanes had two kills from the back row to get the U.S. Men to match point and Bulgaria’s serve out ended the match.
The U.S. Men will play their final match of VNL tomorrow against Japan and hope to end on a strong note.
“Expectations are to win in three,” said Jendryk. “They’re going to be a good energetic team. We’re going to really stay focused on our side and get better as a team.”
U.S. Men’s National Team 14-Person Roster for June 22
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OP, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State Univ.)
4 Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago)
5 Kyle Ensing (OP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
6 Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., Univ. of California Los Angeles)
7 Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
9 Jake Hanes (OP, 6-10, Orland Park, Ill., Ohio State Univ.)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California)
12 Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State Univ.)
15 Brenden Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., Brigham Young Univ.)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., Univ. of California Los Angeles)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
U.S. Men’s Schedule for FIVB Volleyball Nations League (all times Pacific)
May 28: USA def Canada, 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-20)
May 29: Brazil def USA, 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-19)
May 30: USA def Argentina, 3-1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-15, 25-19)
June 3: Russia def USA, 3-1 (25-22, 25-29, 17-25, 25-19)
June 4: Poland def USA, 3-0 (25-17, 28-26, 25-17)
June 5: USA def Australia, 3-0 (25-23, 25-20, 25-17)
June 9: Iran def USA, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-23)
June 10: USA def Germany, 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 29-27)
June 11: Serbia def USA, 3-1 (25-23, 25-17, 19-25, 27-25)
June 15: USA def Italy, 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-21)
June 16: France def USA, 3-1 (25-23, 22-25, 31-29, 25-22)
June 17: USA def Netherlands, 3-2 (21-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-15, 15-13)
June 21: Slovenia def USA, 3-2 (30-28, 19-25, 25-20, 26-28, 13-15)
June 22: USA def Bulgaria, 3-0 (25-19, 26-24, 25-9)
June 23 at 4 a.m.: USA vs Japan
June 26: Semifinals 1 and 2
June 27: Bronze and Gold medal matches