U.S. Men Start World League in Serbia

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | May 31, 2017, 7:38 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 31, 2017) – While some of the stars of the U.S. Men’s National Team are off the roster for a variety of reasons, new players will get a chance to show what they’ve got at the FIVB World League.

The U.S. Men, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalists ranked No. 2 in the world, begin World League play on Friday in Novi Sad, Serbia against the host country.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw has had good luck with young players in the past. In 2013, when Speraw took over the program, he brought in Micah Christenson, Taylor Sander and Erik Shoji. The following year saw Aaron Russell join the U.S. Men fresh out of college and in 2016, Thomas Jaeschke made his debut.Taylor Sander

“We’ve had some young guys in the past impact our program pretty quickly,” Speraw said. “Our hope is that we have the same experience this year.”

Olympians remaining on the travel squad are setters Christenson and Kawika Shoji (who will serve as captain), libero Erik Shoji, outside hitter Taylor Sander and middle blocker David Smith.

The youngest player on the travel squad is outside hitter T.J. DeFalco, who just finished his sophomore season at Long Beach State and was named the 2017 AVCA Division I Player of the Year.

Middle blocker Jeff Jendryk just finished his junior season at Loyola of Chicago where he was named AVCA First Team All-American. Opposite Ben Patch finished his junior season at BYU this year.

Outside hitter Jake Langlois graduated from BYU in May with a double major in finance and Portuguese and was also a First Team All-American.

Although all three have played internationally at lower levels, Speraw knows they will be facing trial by fire.

“Our hope for them is that they can gain valuable experience against great teams,” Speraw said. “Our draw is very challenging. They are going to see some of the best teams in the world early in their careers.”­­

More experienced players on the travel roster are opposite Carson Clark, middle blockers Tommy Carmody and Dan McDonnell, outside hitter Garrett Muagututia and libero Dustin Watten.

Among the players missing from the team that took the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games are Matt Anderson, Max Holt and David Lee, who are taking some time off from the team. Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke are injured. Reid Priddy is playing beach volleyball and Murphy Troy has retired.

The FIVB is repeating the World League formula it uses in Olympic years. The U.S. Men will play Serbia, Canada and Belgium on June 2-4 in Serbia. On June 9-11, they will face Italy, Russia and host France. They will end pool play in Poland facing Iran, Russia and Poland on June 15-18.

The top five finishers plus Brazil will qualify for the World League Final Round in Curitiba, Brazil.

2017 FIVB World League
June 2-4 in 
Novi Sad, Serbia
U.S. Men’s Roster

1. Tommy Carmody (MB, 6-9, Orland Park, Ill., Pacific/Pepperdine)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
7C. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
9. Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
13. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
14. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. TJ DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Staff
Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Leader: Mike Wall
Assistant Coaches: Matt Fuerbringer and Robert Neilson
Sports Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Strength Coach: Tim Pelot
Consultant Coach: Anton Brams

Date and Opponent     Result   Location   TV (all times EDT)    
June 2     vs Serbia    
  Novi Sad, Serbia   June 2: 9:30-11:30 p.m. NBCSN    
                         
June 3     vs Canada    
  Novi Sad, Serbia   June 3: 3-5 p.m. NBCSN    
                         
June 4     vs Belgium         Novi Sad, Serbia   June 4: 6-8 p.m. UniHD    
                         
June 9     vs Italy    
  Pau, France   June 9: 6-8 p.m. NBCSN    
                         
June 10     vs Russia    
  Pau, France   June 10: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. UniHD
   
                         
June 11     vs France         Pau, France   June 11: 3-4:30 p.m. NBCSN    
                         
June 15     Iran  
    Katowice, Poland   June 15: 12-2 p.m.. NBCSN  
                         
June 17     Russia    
  Lodz, Poland   June 17: 6:30-8:30 p.m. NBCSN
 
                         
June 18     Poland    
  Lodz, Poland   June 18: 6-8 p.m. NBCSN  
                         
July 4     Final Round    
  Curitiba, Brazil   TBD: UniHD    
                         
July 5     Final Round         Curitiba, Brazil   TBD: UniHD    
                         
July 6     Final Round         Curitiba, Brazil   TBD: UniHD    
                         
July 7     Final Round         Curitiba, Brazil   TBD: UniHD