Olympians Step up in U.S. Men's Win over Japan

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans | Sept. 12, 2017, 6:30 a.m. (ET)

U.S. Men's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 12, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team opened the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-13 victory over Japan on Tuesday.

The U.S. Men (1-0) will face Iran (1-0) on Wednesday at 11:40 p.m. PT. All the Grand Champions Cup matches will be shown live and replayed on the Olympic Channel and live on nbcsports.com/live.

OFFICIAL STATISTICSMATCH REPLAYFIVB WGCC WEB PAGE | NORCECA MEN'S CONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP

U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw went with an all-Olympian starting lineup against Japan and it showed as the U.S. led in kills (40-24; .493 hitting efficiency), blocks (8-4) and aces (7-2). The teams were almost even in errors with the U.S. committing 22 and Japan committing 20.

“The first match of any tournament is difficult. You have to shake off the rust,” Team Captain David Smith told the Olympic Channel.

“Tonight was all around good volleyball,” U.S. middle blocker Max Holt told the FIVB. “Our serve and block were strong all night. We passed really well. It was just a great performance by everybody.”

The U.S. started Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke at outside hitter, Anderson at opposite, Max Holt and Smith at middle blocker, Micah Christenson at setter and Erik Shoji at libero. All played on the 2016 Olympic Team that took bronze in Rio de Janeiro.

Anderson led all scorers with 13 points on 11 kills and two blocks. Jaeschke added 11 points on nine kills (.615) and two aces. Russell finished with 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and one ace.

Holt had two key aces for the U.S. in the third set. Christenson contributed two kills, two blocks and two aces and Smith had six points. Shoji was credited with six digs. Setter Kawika Shoji played as a substitute for Micah Christenson in the third set and Taylor Averill scored with an ace as a serving substitute.

Smith said that Wednesday’s match against Iran will be challenging.

“We’ve had quite a few battles with Iran in the last few years,” he said. “They have a lot of unique things that they do.”

U.S. Starters vs Japan
Outside hitter: Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke
Middle blockers: Max Holt and David Smith
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji

U.S. Statistics vs Japan
Kills: Anderson 11, Jaeschke 9, Russell 7, Holt 6, Smith 5, Christenson 2
Blocks: Anderson 2, Christenson 2, Russell 2, Holt 1, Smith 1
Aces: Jaeschke 2, Holt 2, Christenson 1, Averill 1, Russell 1
Digs: Shoji 6, Smith 3, Anderson 3, Christenson 3, Holt 2, Jaeschke 2

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. 12: Brazil def. France, 27-25, 27-25, 25-22
Sept. 12: Iran def. Italy, 25-19, 23-25, 28-26, 29-31, 15-11
Sept. 12: USA def. Japan, 25-21, 25-18, 25-13

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