U.S. Men Take on Top-Ranked Teams at Champions Cup

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | Sept. 11, 2017, 4:07 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Men's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 11, 2017) – With all of its returning 2016 Olympians on the roster, the U.S. Men’s National Team will begin play in the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup on Tuesday at 3 a.m. PT against host Japan in Nagoya.

FIVB WGCC WEB PAGE | NORCECA MEN'S CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP

All the Grand Champions Cup matches will be shown live and replayed on the Olympic Channel and live on nbcsports.com/live.

The U.S. Men’s roster will include all nine players who are returning from the bronze-medal winning 2016 Olympic Team: Matt Anderson, Micah Christenson, Max Holt, Thomas Jaeschke, Aaron Russell, Taylor Sander, Erik Shoji, Kawika Shoji and David Smith.

“I’m very excited to play the great teams that will be competing in the Grand Champions Cup,” Head Coach John Speraw said. “I think it’s always a great opportunity to practice what is essentially have of a World Cup.

“The chance to play each of these great teams once will give us a chance to see where we stand early in the (2020 Olympic) quadrennial.”

Besides the Olympians, the other players on the roster are Jeff Jendryk, Ben Patch, Carson Clark, Taylor Averill and Dustin Watten.

After opening against Japan, which is in the tournament as the host, the U.S. Men will face Iran (top-ranked Asian team), France (top-ranked European team), Brazil (top-ranked South American team) and Italy (wild card entry).

The United States’ best finish at the Grand Champions Cup was second in 2005. In 2013, it finished fifth.

The U.S. Men will open the tournament with two matches in Nagoya and will play the final three matches in Osaka.

The U.S. Men are ranked No. 2 in the world by the FIVB. Brazil is ranked No. 1. Italy is No. 4. Iran is No. 8. Francs is No. 9 and Japan is No. 12.

FIVB World Grand Champions Cup
U.S. Men’s Roster

1. Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
7. Kawika Shoji(S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
14. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
19. Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Hawaii)
20C. 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)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager Nate Ngo
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Doctor: Andrew Gregory
Consultant Coach: John Crawley
Consultant Coach: Mike Wall
Strength Coach: Tim Pelot

Schedule/Results
All times PT

Sept. 11 at 8:40 p.m.: France vs Brazil
Sept. 11 at 11:40 p.m.: Italy vs Iran
Sept. 12 at 3 a.m.: USA vs Japan

Sept. 12 at 8:40 p.m.: Brazil vs Italy
Sept. 12 at 11:40 p.m.: USA vs Iran
Sept. 13 at 3:15 a.m.: Japan vs France

Sept. 14 at 8:40 p.m.: Iran vs Brazil
Sept. 14 at 11:40 p.m.: France vs USA
Sept. 15 at 3:15 a.m.: Italy vs Japan

Sept. 15 at 8:40 p.m.: USA vs Brazil
Sept. 15 at 11:40 p.m.: France vs Italy
Sept. 16 at 3:15 a.m.: Japan vs Iran

Sept. 16 at 7:40 p.m.: Italy vs USA
Sept. 16 at 10:40 p.m.: Iran vs France
Sept. 17 at 2:15 a.m.: Brazil vs Japan