U.S. Men Send Poland Packing from Final Six

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | July 05, 2018, 10:10 p.m. (ET)
U.S. Men's volleyball players Ben Patch, David Smith and Matt Anderson block against Poland
From left, Ben Patch, David Smith and Matt Anderson block against Poland during their VNL match on Thursday. 
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 5, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team needed just three sets to dash Poland’s hopes of advancing to the semifinals of the Final Six of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

The U.S. Men defeated Poland, 28-26, 25-17, 25-18 on Thursday in Final Six pool play in Lille, France. The U.S. will play Russia on Friday at 10 a.m. PT to determine the pool’s top seed. The FIVB has selected FloVolleyball.tv to live stream the VNL matches.

Poland lost 3-1 to Russia on Wednesday and was eliminated from the Final Six with the loss to the United States.

Outside hitter Taylor Sander, who missed the final three weeks of preliminary play for the birth of his first child, a son, returned with a vengeance, finishing with 14 points on 11 kills and three aces. However he suffered an apparent knee injury toward the end of the third set.

“We played a little bit nervous at first, but then we played really well,” Sander said. “This was an important win for us. Sure, I got a bit injured but I'll be back, I'll be fine.”

The United States’ serving was on point as it led in aces, 8-1 led by three from Sander and two by Matt Anderson. The U.S. Men also led in kills (46-30) and blocks (5-4). Middle blocker David Smith led in blocks with two.

"I felt we blocked and passed the ball really well, which gave our offense a lot of options,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “I don't think we were sharp early in a couple of transition opportunities, but once we got a little bit better I thought our offense was excellent. They [Poland] are a good team that make you play long rallies, with a lot of tip and roll and smart decisions in difficult situations, so we had to play a lot of volleyball and I was pleased with what we did.”

Anderson, playing on the left side, led all scorers with 15 points on a match-high 13 kills and two aces.

U.S. STARTERS VS POLAND
Outside hitters: Matt Anderson and Taylor Sander
Middle blockers: David Smith and Dan McDonnell
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Substitutes: Dan McDonnell (middle blocker), Aaron Russell (outside hitter)

U.S. STATISTICS VS POLAND
Kills: Anderson 13, Sander 11, Patch 11, Smith 5, Holt 4, Christenson 2
Blocks: Smith 2, Patch 1, Holt 1, Christenson 1
Aces: Sander 3, Anderson 2, Smith 1, Christenson 1, McDonnell 1

U.S. Men’s 14-Man Travel Roster for Lille, France

1. Matt Anderson (Opp/OH, 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)
8. T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
10. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Phoenix, Ariz., UC Irvine)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Hawaii, Southern California)
12. Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
13. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
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)
26. Kyle Ensing (Opp, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager: Nate Ngo
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Team Doctor: Eugene Yim
Consultant Coach: Mike Wall

Final Six Schedule/Results (All times PT)
July 4
Russia def Poland, 25-18, 25-23, 22-25, 25-17
France def Brazil, 22-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 15-13

July 5
USA def Poland, 28-26, 25-17, 25-18
Brazil def Serbia, 25-16, 28-26, 25-19

July 6
10 a.m. Russia vs USA
12:45 p.m. France vs Serbia