The U.S. Men’s National Team rebounded from a rough first set and outlasted a determined Japanese side to win its third straight Volleyball Nations League match 3-2 (17-25, 25-15, 25-21, 26-28, 15-9) on Friday in Brasilia, Brazil
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 11, 2022) – A new starting lineup came through with an exciting result as the U.S. Men’s National Team beat world No. 1 Brazil, 3-1 (21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-20) in a Volleyball Nations League match on Saturday in Brasilia, Brazil.
The U.S. Men (4-0), ranked No. 7 in the world, will get the next week off before traveling to Bulgaria for the next round of matches.
With the match against Brazil coming less than 24-hours after a five-set victory over Japan, U.S. Head Coach John Speraw needed to call in fresh arms.
Enter opposite Jake Hanes, middle blocker Tyler Mitchem and outside hitter Cody Kessel.
“Tonight, I had to play some of my younger players,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “Cody Kessel isn’t young but hasn’t played very much for us. Tyler Mitchem and Jake Hanes haven’t played very much for us. For us to be 4-0 and to beat Brazil in Brazil is a really successful start to the tournament.”
Veteran outside hitter Aaron Russell, who was playing in his fourth straight match and third in three days, was grateful for the fresh players.
“You could see there was some nerves and tiredness in the first set,” he said. “The way we continued to battle, they deserved it today. They carried me.”
Hanes, who had played as a substitute against Netherlands and Japan, led the U.S. scoring with 20 points on 17 kills, two blocks and one ace.
Mitchem, who finished his collegiate career at Lewis University in May, added 13 points on nine kills, two blocks and two aces. Kessel, who had never made a VNL roster let alone start for the U.S. Men, scored eight points on eight kills along with seven digs and six successful receptions.
Veteran middle Jeff Jendryk started all four matches in Brazil and finished Saturday with 12 points on nine kills (.800 hitting efficiency), two blocks and one ace.
Libero Kyle Dagostino also had a solid match with 12 digs and 11 successful receptions.
Russell had 10 points on nine kills and one ace. He also led in successful receptions with 14 and had seven digs.
Setter Josh Tuaniga, another four-time starter, scored five points on three kills and two blocks. He combined with backup James Shaw to set the U.S. to a .374 hitting efficiency.
Brazil started the match with four 2020 Olympians: setter Bruno Rezende, libero Thales Hoss, middle Lucas Saatkamp and opposite Alan Souza.
But after Brazil won the first set handily, its play became less consistent. Substitutes were brought in including 2020 Olympic setter Fernando Kreling and middle blocker Isac Santos, but Brazil struggled to string points together. It finished with 22 service errors and a hitting percentage of .408.
U.S. Men’s National Team 25-Person Roster for
2022 Volleyball Nations League
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
2 Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
3 James Shaw (S, 6-8, Woodside, Calif. Stanford, Northern California)
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)
7 Jacob Pasteur (OH, 6-4, Westminster, Md., Ohio State Univ., Chesapeake)
9 Jake Hanes (OPP, 6-10, Orland Park, Ill., Ohio State Univ., Great Lakes)
10 Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Florida, Stanford Univ., Florida)
13 Patrick Gasman (MB, 6-10, Clovis, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii, Northern California)
16 Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine, Southern California)
21 Mason Briggs (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
23 Cody Kessel (OH, 6-5, Colorado Springs, Colo., Princeton Univ., Rocky Mountain)
27 Tyler Mitchem (MB, 6-11, Bolingbrook, Ill., Lewis Univ., Great Lakes)
Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matthew Fuerbringer, Mike Wall, Javier Weber
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Consultant Coach: Mike Sealy
Sports Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Sports Psychologist: Bernard Whitney
Team Doctor: James Suchy
U.S. Men’s Schedule for the 2022 VNL (All times PDT)
All matches to be shown on VolleyballWorld.tv
Preliminary Round 1 – Brasilia, Brazil
USA def Slovenia, 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-14)
USA def Netherlands, 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-16)
USA def Japan, 3-2 (17-25, 25-15, 25-21, 26-28, 15-9)
USA def Brazil, 3-1 (21-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-20)
Preliminary Round 2 – Sofia, Bulgaria
June 22 at 10 a.m.
USA vs Serbia
June 23 at 10 a.m.
USA vs Iran
June 25 at 10 a.m.
USA vs Bulgaria
June 26 at 6:30 a.m.
USA vs Poland
Preliminary Round 3 – Osaka, Japan
July 4 at 11 p.m.
USA vs Germany
July 6 at 8 p.m.
USA vs France
July 8 at 11:40 p.m.
USA vs Canada
July 9 at 8:40 p.m.
USA vs Argentina
Final Round – Bologna, Italy