Taylor Sander attacks against Guatemala

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 26, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team had little trouble defeating Guatemala, 25-12, 25-14, 25-10 in their opening pool play match on Tuesday at the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

The U.S. Men (1-0) will have Wednesday off and will play Dominican Republic on Thursday at 7 p.m. MT.


The top-seeded U.S. Men went into the match as heavy favorites and worked to ake sure they did not let down the U.S. fans who came to cheer them on.

“We don’t get opportunities like this to play in front of our home fans a lot,” setter Micah Christenson said. “We want to play good volleyball and we want to give the best that we can and play clean volleyball; give a good show. That’s playing USA Volleyball; scrapping for every dig and playing as hard as we can no matter who is on the other side of the court.”

The U.S. Men led in aces (13-0), kills (35-16) and blocks (5-2). The U.S. had a hitting efficiency of .674 behind Christenson’s setting.

U.S. opposite Matt Anderson led all scorers with 16 points on a match-high 12 kills, one block and three aces. Outside hitter Aaron Russell added 14 on eight kills, one block and five aces. Outside hitter Taylor Sander scored 10 points.

Guatemala had three players who each scored five points, opposite Erik Flores Dias, middle blocker Andy Leonardo Blanco and middle blocker Leonel Aragon Lopez. Guatemala scored 18 points off U.S. errors.

“Sometimes when you’re playing teams at NORCECA and you don’t know much about them and the chances are high that you’re going to win, you can ease off,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “We talked a lot about how we just need to play USA Volleyball and I thought our guys did a great job of that.”

The United States is the tournament’s top seed and also had a significant height advantage over Guatemala. Guatemala did its best to play strong defense, but struggled to dig the United States’ tough serves and attacks.

U.S. Starters vs Guatemala
Outside hitters: Taylor Sander and Aaron Russell
Middle blockers: David Smith and Dan McDonnell
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji

U.S. Statistics vs Guatemala
Kills: Anderson 12, Russell 8, Sander 7, Smith 6, McDonnell 2
Blocks: Sander 1, Anderson 1, Smith 1, McDonnell 1, Russell 1
Aces: Russell 5, Anderson 3, Sander 2, Mitch Stahl 1, McDonnell 1, Smith 1
Digs: Anderson 4, Christenson 3, Sander 2, Smith 2, E Shoji 2, Russell 2, McDonnell 1

U.S. Men’s Roster

1. Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
13. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6. Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
14. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
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)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager Nate Ngo
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Doctor: Andrew Gregory
Consultant Coach: Greg Walker
Strength Coach: Tim Pelot

(All times MDT)

Sept. 26     Gym         Match
5 p.m. SportsCenter 1 Trinidad & Tobago def St. Lucia, 25-15, 25-16, 25-17
5 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Costa Rica def Martinique, 25-19, 25-16, 23-25, 25-21
7 p.m. SportsCenter 1 USA def Guatemala, 25-12, 25-14, 25-10
7 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Mexico def St. Vincent, 25-7, 25-16, 25-10
Sept. 27    
5 p.m.  SportsCenter 1 Canada v St. Lucia
5 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Costa Rica v St. Vincent
7 p.m. SportsCenter 1 Dominican Republic v Guatemala
7 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Mexico v Martinique
Sept. 28    
5 p.m.  SportsCenter 1 Canada v Trinidad & Tobago
5 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Martinique v St. Vincent
7 p.m. SportsCenter 1 USA v Dominican Republic
7 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Mexico v Costa Rica
Sept. 29    
5 p.m.  SportsCenter 1 Quarterfinal 1
5 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Classification 7-10
7 p.m. SportsCenter 1 Quarterfinal 2
7 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Classification 7-10
Sept. 30    
3 p.m.  SportsCenter 1 Classification 5-8
3 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Classification 9-10
5 p.m. SportsCenter 1 Semifinal 1
5 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Classification 5-8
7 p.m. SportsCenter 1 Semifinal 2
Oct. 1    
2 p.m.  SportsCenter 2 Classification 7-8
3 p.m. SportsCenter 1 Bronze Medal Match
4 p.m. SportsCenter 2 Classification 5-6
5 p.m. SportsCenter 1 Gold Medal Match