Speraw Gives U.S. Men Jolt They Need to Win

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 09, 2018, 6 a.m. (ET)
Micah Christenson, Jeff Jendryk and Matt Anderson put up a triple block against Australia
Micah Christenson, Jeff Jendryk and Matt Anderson block against Australia.
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 9, 2018) – U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw is known for his sideline stoicism.

But it was a well-timed rant that seemed to shake his team out of its doldrums and help it come back to beat Australia, 20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-17 at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Saturday in Ottawa.

The United States (6-2) will play host Canada (5-2) at 1:10 p.m. PT on Sunday. The FIVB has chosen FloVolleyball.tv to live stream the matches in the United States.

After a stunning 3-0 loss to Germany on Friday, the U.S. Men found themselves trailing Australia 0-1 on Saturday and losing 13-11 in the second set.

That’s when live stream cameras caught Speraw breaking character and loudly exhorting his team to improve its defense.

The effect was not immediate as Australia’s next serve went for an ace. But the next serve went into the net and U.S. outside hitter Aaron Russell followed that with a block of Australia’s Thomas Hodges. The U.S. scored on Australia’s error and setter Micah Christenson got another block giving the U.S. a 15-14 lead, which it increased to 17-15 and 20-16. Then went on to win.

“I don’t know if we were timid, but things weren’t clicking very well and we weren’t really finding solutions for the first set and a half,” U.S. Team Captain David Smith said. “Then we got challenged a little bit at the end and Ron (Aaron Russell) kicked things off and made a block and after that a great play at the net.”

Australia held an 8-5 lead in the third set; but the U.S. went on a 8-1 run, including a block by Patch and two kills and a block from Anderson to lead 13-9 and the U.S. Men never looked back.

The U.S. jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the fourth set and held on for the victory.

“It took us a while to get into rhythm this weekend,” Speraw said. “I don’t know exactly why, but I was really pleased to see that we played pretty poor volleyball for four sets and then came back. In the middle of the second set, we were down and made a bunch of great plays defensively. We started playing with more confidence and from then on.”

The U.S. Men led in kills (55-41), blocks (7-2) and aces (8-5). The U.S. scored 25 points on Australia’s errors while committing 29.

Matt Anderson, playing at outside hitter, led all scorers with 15 kills, four aces and one block. Russell added 17 points on two blocks and one ace.

Middle blocker Dan McDonnell scored 11 points, including three aces. Christenson led the team in blocks with three.

U.S. STARTERS VS AUSTRALIA
Outside Hitters: Matt Anderson and Aaron Russell
Middle Blockers: Jeff Jendryk and Dan McDonnell
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Substitute: Kawika Shoji (S)

U.S. STATISTICS VS AUSTRALIA
Kills:  Anderson 15, Russell 14, Jendryk 10, McDonnell 8, Patch 7, Christenson 1
Blocks: Christenson 3, Russell 2, Anderson 1, Patch 1
Aces: Anderson 4, McDonnell 3, Russell 1

2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League

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

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)
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)
17. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola)
18. Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., 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)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager: Andrea Becker
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Team Doctor: Andrew Gregory
Consultant Coach: Greg Walker

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: Brazil def USA,  21-25, 20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 20-18

At Ottawa, Canada
June 8: Germany def USA, 25-19, 25-22, 25-13
USA def Australia, 20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-17
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