U.S. Men's National Team

CHARLESTON, W.Va., USA (Sept. 6, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team can look forward to a showdown with Cuba after beating Puerto Rico on Wednesday 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-12) in a NORCECA Men’s Senior Continental Championship match at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.

The United States (2-0) will play Cuba (2-0) to determine the pool winner at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday. The winner will advance straight to Saturday’s semifinal. Canada won its three-team pool on Wednesday and advanced to the other semifinal.

The U.S. led Puerto Rico in attacks (43-21), blocks (6-1) and aces (5-1). Each team finished with 21 scoring errors.

U.S. outside hitter T.J. DeFalco was the only player from either team to score in double figures, finishing with 12 points on a match-high 10 attacks (.556 hitting efficiency) with one block and one ace.

“The best part about the match was that we stayed focused the entire time,” DeFalco said. “There were a lot of points in the match where it was hard to stay focused with ebbs and flows. There were a lot of lulls. But we stayed focused, and we did what we needed to do.”

U.S. setter Micah Christenson played two sets and started the third before Micah Ma’a took over.  The two combined for a team .631 hitting efficiency. Christenson also scored four points on two aces, a block and a kill.

“We sided out really, really well,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “I thought Micah Christenson came out and played very, very well. I thought the connections were outstanding. I thought we passed the ball really well.”

The next three U.S. scorers each finished with seven points. Opposite Matt Anderson, who only played the first set, scored seven points on six kills and one ace. Jake Hanes, who played the next two sets at opposite, scored seven points on seven kills.

Middle blocker David Smith scored seven points on five kills and two blocks. Middle Taylor Averill added five points on three kills and two blocks.

Outside hitter Aaron Russell scored four points on four kills and middle Max Holt had four points on three kills and an ace.

Middle Jeff Jendryk and outside Garrett Muagututia each scored two points on two kills a substitutes.

Libero Tim McIntosh was credited with five digs and libero Erik Shoji had seven excellent receptions.

Puerto Rico outside hitter Klistan Lawrence, who played with the U.S. Boys U19 Training Team in 2019, led his team with seven points on seven attacks.

Speraw said the U.S. would need to play its best to beat Cuba.

“Cuba is an exceptional team with a ton of power and the ability to score points at any moment with their serve,” he said. “We’ll have to be really sharp in serve-receive again. We’ll also have to figure out how to side-out in different ways because not all the passes are going to be on the net. It will be an out-of-system battle for us, and we need to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.”

Tickets for the 2023 Continental Championship are still available online. For those who can’t make it to Charleston, matches will be livestreamed at youtube.com/@VolleyballSource.

U.S. Men’s Roster for the 2023 NORCECA Continental Championship

No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State, Western Empire)
Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
Timothy McIntosh (L, 6-0, Miami, Fla., Sacred Heart, Florida)
T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
Jake Hanes (OPP, 6-10, Orland Park, Ill., Ohio State Univ., Great Lakes)
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: Peter Naschak
Team Doctor: Daniel Green

U.S. Referee: Devonie McLarty

NORCECA Continental Championship Schedule
All times ET

Sept. 5
Canada def. Dominican Republic, 3-0 (25-11, 25-8, 25-12)
Cuba def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-15)
USA def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-14, 25-9, 25-10)

Sept. 6
Cuba def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-23)
Canada def. Mexico, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-20)
USA def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-12)

Sept. 7
3 p.m.: Suriname vs. Puerto Rico
5 p.m. Dominican Republic v. Mexico
7:30 p.m.: USA vs. Cuba

Sept. 8 Quarterfinals
5 p.m. Second place Group B vs. Third place Group A
7:30 p.m. Second place Group A vs. Third place Group B

Sept. 9 Semifinals and Classifications
3 p.m. Classification 5/7
5 p.m. 1st Group A vs. TBA
7:30 p.m.: 1st Group B vs. TBA

Sept. 10 Medal Matches and Classifications
3 p.m.: Classification 6/7
5 p.m.: Bronze Medal Match
7:30 p.m.: Gold Medal Match