U.S. Men Get Groove Back in VNL Win over Korea

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 02, 2018, 1:14 p.m. (ET)
U.S. volleyball player Taylor Averill attacks against Korea as Jake Langlois watches
 Taylor Averill attacks against Korea as Jake Langlois and Micah Christenson watch.
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 2, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team found its rhythm and rhyme on Saturday and defeated Korea, 25-23, 25-21, 25-11 in an FIVB Volleyball Nations League match in Goiânia, Brazil.

The U.S. Men improved to 5-0 in VNL and moved into second place in the standings behind Poland, which has only lost one set so far. Every other team has at least one match loss as France lost to Poland on Friday and Italy lost to Canada.

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The U.S. Men will put their perfect record on the line against Brazil (3-1) on Sunday at 7:40 a.m. PT. The FIVB has chosen FloVolleyball.tv to live stream the matches.

After a rough five-set win over Japan on Friday that saw four starters pulled from the lineup, the U.S. Men started slowly on Saturday. Korea came out with fast swings and strong digging.

“I thought Korea had a great strategy,” U.S. middle blocker Taylor Averill said. “They dug the ball really well and put a lot of pressure on us.”

The U.S. fell behind 16-13, but used a 3-0 run to tie the score. They battled back and forth until 22-22, when Averill took the serve and the U.S. took set point at 24-22. Korea scored once more before T.J. DeFalco ended it with a kill off the block. After that, the U.S. found its rhythm and did not trail again.

It also cut down on mistakes, finishing with 11 in the first set, and 12 over the next two sets.

Coach John Speraw went with another new starting lineup against Korea, with Matt Anderson at opposite, Micah Christenson at setter, Jake Langlois and DeFalco at outside hitter, David Smith and Taylor Averill at middle blocker and Erik Shoji at libero.

Langlois made his VNL debut in the country where he did his mission for the LDS church, and he did not disappoint, leading the U.S. with 15 points on 14 kills and one block.

Anderson, who was pulled from Friday’s match in the second set, finished Saturday with 10 kills, two blocks and one ace. DeFalco and Smith, both of whom were pulled early from Friday’s match, each finished with nine points. Averill had six points. Shoji and Dustin Watten switched back and forth at libero throughout the match.

Christenson, who was also pulled from Friday’s match, set the U.S. to a 71.7 kill percentage.

U.S. STARTERS VS KOREA
Outside hitters: T.J. DeFalco and Jake Langlois
Middle blockers: David Smith and Taylor Averill
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji

U.S. SCORING VS KOREA
Kills: Langlois 14, Anderson 10, DeFalcso 7, Smith 7, Averill 5
Blocks: Anderson 2, Smith 2, DeFalco 2, Averill 1, Langlois 1
Aces: Anderson 1

2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League

U.S. Men’s 14-Man Travel Roster for China

1. Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
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)
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)
17. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola)
18. Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
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: Andrea Becker
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Doctor: William Stetson 

Schedule and Results (all times PT)
At Ningbo, China

May 25: USA def Argentina, 25-27, 24-26, 26-24, 25-21, 15-10
May 26: USA def Bulgaria vs USA, 25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 25-20 
May 27: USA def China, 25-20, 26-24, 25-18

At Goiânia, Brazil
June 1: USA def Japan, 23-25, 13-25, 25-18, 25-20, 15-10
June 2: USA def Korea, 25-23, 25-21, 25-11
June 3 at 8:40 a.m.: Brazil vs USA

At Ottawa, Canada
June 8 at 1:40 p.m.: Germany vs USA
June 9 at 1:10 p.m.: USA vs Australia
June 10 at 1:10 p.m.: Canada vs USA

At Hoffman Estates, Ill., USA - GET TICKETS
June 15 at 5:30 p.m.: USA  vs. Serbia
June 16 at 5:30 p.m.: USA vs. Poland
June 17 at 2:30 p.m.: USA vs. Iran

At Modena, Italy
June 22 at 8:30 a.m.: USA vs France
June 23 at 8:30 a.m.: USA vs Russia
June 24 at 11:30 a.m.: Italy vs USA

Final Round (must qualify): July 1-4 in Lille, France