U.S. Men's National Team competing at VNL

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 5, 2021) – The U.S. Men’s National Team rebounded from losses to Russia and Poland with a sweep of Australia (25-23, 25-20, 25-17) on Saturday at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.

The U.S. Men finish the second round of VNL at 3-3. They get three days off while the women’s teams play and return to the court on June 9 to face Iran at 7 a.m. PT.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw used yet another starting seven as he continues to adjust his lineup as he works to decide the roster for the Olympic Games.


“It’s been a challenging (two weeks),” Speraw said. “Obviously (we have been facing) great teams, playing Brazil the first week and then Russia, Poland the second week; especially when we are trying to work on our lineup and get guys healthy.”

Speraw added that the team is still learning and growing together.

“I think there are a lot of things we can take from those two matches (against Russia and Poland),” he said. “There were lots of lessons learned and some really good things that we did do. I think we can build off of it. We would love to play great volleyball now. We’re not there yet, but we know that we can get there.”

Libero Dustin Watten started and competed with the team for the first time since 2018. He was credited with a team-high seven digs and three successful receptions.

Setter Kawika Shoji also took the court for the U.S. Men for the first time this year, subbing for Micah Christenson toward the end of the third set.

Matt Anderson, playing his second straight match at outside hitter rather than opposite, led all scorers with 14 points on 12 kills (.556), one block and one ace. Opposite Kyle Ensing added 11 points on nine kills and two blocks.

Middle blocker David Smith had his best match of the tournament thus far, scoring nine points on five kills (1.000), a match-high three blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke scored eight points on four kills, one block and a match-high three aces that came in a row during a scoring run in the third set.

Middle blocker Jeff Jendryk also had a strong outing, scoring seven points on six kills (.500) and one block.

Setter Micah Christenson scored four points on two kills, one block and one ace. He and Shoji combined to set the U.S. Men to a .405 hitting efficiency.

The U.S. Men led Australia in kills (38-36), blocks (9-2) and aces (6-1).

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster for June 5

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)
Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California)
13 Ben Patch (OP, 6-8, Layton, Utah, 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)
19 Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine)
21 Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Brian Thornton and Matthew Fuerbringer
Athletic Trainers: Aaron Brock and Timothy Pelot
Team Manager and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo

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 at 7 a.m.: Iran vs USA
June 10 at 7 a.m.: Germany vs USA
June 11 at 7 a.m.: USA vs Serbia

June 15 at noon: Italy vs USA
June 16 at 10:30 a.m.: USA vs France
June 17 at 9 a.m.: Netherlands vs USA

June 21 at 9 a.m.: Slovenia vs USA
June 22 at 4 a.m.: Bulgaria vs USA
June 23 at 4 a.m.: USA vs Japan

June 26: Semifinals 1 and 2
June 27: Bronze and Gold medal matches