COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 9, 2021) – U.S. Men’s National Team improved as it went along, but fell to Iran, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-23) on Wednesday at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.

The U.S. Men (3-4) will play Germany (3-4) at 7 a.m. PT on Thursday (June 10).


Late in the third set, outside hitter Garrett Muagututia served an ace to go up 23-21 giving the U.S. Men momentum. However, Iran won the next two points to tie the set at 23-23 after a successful no touch challenge from Iran on a Brenden Sander attack. Iran finished the set 25-23 after a block and ace serve to win the match.

“I think it took us a little longer to get into the match,” Muagututia said. “I thought in the second and third sets we had our chances to win. Even in the first set we came back, but we just couldn’t close.”

Head Coach John Speraw started T.J. Defalco and Muagututia at outside hitter, Ben Patch at opposite, Taylor Averill and Jeff Jendryk at middle blocker, Kawika Shoji at setter and Erik Shoji at libero.

Kyle Ensing, Josh Tuaniga and Brenden Sander all played as substitutes.

Patch led the U.S. Men with 14 kills. Muagututia followed with 13 points on 11 kills, one block and one ace. Jendryk led the team with three blocks.

“Sometimes the more difficult challenges through a summer like this can lead to a better outcome, so that’s our hope,” Speraw said. “We hope that the opportunity to take a look at some other players and give them a chance, we hope that can build a better cohesive team in the long run and obviously we hope we can get our guys healthy and go into the Olympic Games at full strength.”

Iran led the match in kills (44-37) and blocks (7-6) and scored 19 points on U.S. errors while giving up 21. The teams tied in aces (2-2).

Off the court, U.S. setter Micah Christenson and his wife Brooke welcomed their second child, a boy, yesterday.

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster for June 9

3 Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., Brigham Young Univ.)
Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago)
Kyle Ensing (OP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., Univ. of California Los Angeles)
Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
Jake Hanes (OP, 6-10, Orland Park, Ill., Ohio State Univ.)
13 Ben Patch (OP, 6-8, Layton, Utah, Brigham Young Univ.)
15 Brenden Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., Brigham Young Univ.)
16 Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
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)
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 9 a.m.: Iran def USA, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-23)
June 10 at 7 a.m.: Germany vs USA
June 11 at 9 a.m.: USA vs Serbia

June 15 at 7:30 a.m: 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