U.S. Men Fight Hard in Tough Loss to Serbia
The U.S. Men's National Team got close to forcing the fifth set, but fell to Serbia, 3-1 (25-23, 25-17, 19-25, 27-25) on Friday at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 14, 2021) – USA Volleyball is proud to announce the 12-player men’s team that will compete for the U.S. at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, pending approval from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee.
Eight players return from the 2016 squad that won the bronze medal in Rio de Janeiro.
Two athletes making their third Olympic appearances are opposite/outside hitter Matt Anderson and middle blocker David Smith.
Making their second Olympic appearances will be setters Micah Christenson and Kawika Shoji, middle blocker Max Holt, outside hitters Thomas Jaeschke and Taylor Sander, and libero Erik Shoji.
Competing in their first Olympics will be opposite Kyle Ensing, outside hitters T.J. DeFalco and Garrett Muagututia and middle blocker Mitch Stahl.
The eight Olympic alternates are middle blockers Taylor Averill and Jeff Jendryk, opposites Ben Patch and Kyle Russell, outside hitters Aaron Russell and Brenden Sander, setter Josh Tuaniga and libero Dustin Watten.
Ensing and DeFalco, both 24, are the youngest players on the team. David Smith, 36, is the oldest. The average age of the roster is 29.9.
“We had some really difficult decisions to make,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw. “Team USA over the last four or five years has become deeper. The discussions about whom to take on this team involved the performances during VNL as well as what these players bring as teammates and competitors.”
Speraw took over as U.S. Men’s head coach in 2013 and will be working his second Olympic Games in that role. He was an assistant coach at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Brian Thornton will be attending his first Olympics as an assistant coach. He played setter on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men’s Team. Assistant coaches Matt Fuerbringer and Mike Wall will be working their second Olympic Games in those roles.
“The past year has been challenging for all of us,” Speraw said. “We are grateful we have the opportunity to compete at an Olympic Games. There have been a lot of people who have dealt with significant stress and loss. No matter what this tourney throws our way, we will continue to be resilient and adapt and be grateful to represent the United States.”
The U.S. Men are ranked No. 3 in the world and currently competing at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy. Since 2016, the Men’s Team has finished third at the FIVB World Championship and at the World Cup.
The team will briefly return to its Anaheim training center before heading to Japan. Prior to its arrival in Tokyo, the team will train in the Japanese city of Mishima and play two matches against Japan’s men’s team.
The 2020 Olympic Games, which were postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled to begin on July 23 with the Opening Ceremony. The men’s volleyball tournament will commence on July 24.
All team nominations are subject to USOPC approval.
U.S. Men’s Roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OPP, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State Univ.)
3 Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., Brigham Young Univ.)
5 Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
6 Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., Univ. of California Los Angeles)
7 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)
12 Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State 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)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ.)
2 Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State Univ.)
4 Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago)
13 Ben Patch (OPP, 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.)
19 Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii)
21 Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ.)
25 Kyle Russell (OPP, 6-9, Sacramento, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine)
Head Coach John Speraw
Asst. Coach Brian Thornton
Asst. Coach Matthew Fuerbringer
Asst. Coach Mike Wall
Team Manager Erik Sullivan
Technical Coordinator Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer Aaron Brock
Strength Coach Timothy Pelot
Doctor Chris Lee
Statistician/Scout Andrew Strick
Massage Therapist Jennifer Holt