The U.S. Men’s National Team begins its quest to qualify for the Paris 2024 this weekend at the FIVB Road To Paris Olympic Qualifier in Tokyo, Japan
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 30, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team got the FIVB Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier off to a strong start with a sweep (25-20, 25-16, 25-19) of Egypt on Saturday in Tokyo.
At the qualifier, which runs Sept. 30-Oct. 8, eight teams will each play seven matches over nine days. The top two teams will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games.
On Sunday, The U.S. Men (1-0) will play Finland (0-1) at 12 a.m. PT.
On Saturday, the U.S. Men started slowly against a physical Egyptian team they hadn’t played since the 2019 FIVB World Cup.
“We were getting used to playing Egypt and also the new gym and the atmosphere,” said U.S. setter Micah Christenson, who set the team to a .380 hitting efficiency. “Treating the first set as a feeling-out process for us was good. We won the set and we got in a better rhythm as we learned what their hitters, their servers and their blockers were doing.”
The U.S. led Egypt in kills (40-29), blocks (5-4) and aces (8-2). The U.S. scored 22 points on Egypt errors and gave up 20.
Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco led all scorers with 17 points on 11 kills (.563 hitting efficiency), a match-high four aces and a team-high two blocks.
Opposite Matt Anderson added 13 points on 11 kills (.360) and two aces. Outside hitter Aaron Russell totaled 11 points on 10 kills (.333) and one block.
Middle blocker Max Holt, who had to leave the match to have his fingers taped after a particularly hard hit from Egypt, scored six points on five kills and one ace. Middle David Smith added four points on two kills, one block and one ace.
Libero Erik Shoji was credited with four excellent receptions and three digs. Anderson led the team in digs withe five.
Christenson scored one point with a block. Opposite Kyle Ensing was brought in at 24-18 in the third set. He was blocked on his first hitting attempt before finishing the match with an emphatic kill. Jeff Jendryk and Garrett Muagututia also played as substitutes.
Matches will be shown on VolleyballWorld.tv.
U.S. Men’s Roster for 2023 Road to Paris Olympic Qualifier
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
1 Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State, Western Empire)
2 Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
4 Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
5 Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
10 Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Florida, Stanford Univ., Florida)
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)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
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)
Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matthew Fuerbringer and Javier Weber
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Leader: Nate Ngo
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Mental Performance Coach: Andrea Becker
Second Assistant: Morteza Shiari
Second Assistant: Michael Wall
Team Doctor: Lori Boyajian-O’Neill
U.S. Men’s Schedule and Results for the 2023 VNL
All matches will be broadcast on volleyballworld.tv
All times PT
Sept. 30 USA def Egypt, 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-19)
Oct. 1 at 12 a.m. USA vs Finland (world No. 29)
Oct. 3 at 12 a.m. USA vs Türkiye (world No. 13)
Oct. 4 at 12 a.m. USA vs Tunisia (world No. 18)
Oct. 6 at 12 a.m. USA vs Slovenia (world No. 8)
Oct. 7 at 12 a.m. USA vs Serbia (world No. 9)
Oct. 8 at 3:25 a.m. USA vs Japan (world No. 5)