U.S. Victory Tempered by Loss of Jaeschke

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans | June 15, 2018, 11:30 p.m. (ET)
T.J, DeFalco blocks against Serbia
T.J. DeFalco blocks against Serbia as Max Holt watches.
 

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (June 15, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team’s excitement over their 25-22, 25-16, 25-14 win over Serbia on Friday was tempered by the injury to outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke in an FIVB Volleyball Nations League match at the Sears Centre.

The U.S. Men (8-2) will play Poland (8-2) in a marquee match on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. CT. Poland, which had led the VNL standings, fell to Iran (4-6), 3-0 on Friday and is now in second place behind France.

With the U.S. Men tied 4-4 with Serbia in the third set, Jaeschke appeared to suffer a knee injury and had to be carried off the court.

Jaeschke grew up in nearby Wheaton, Ill., and won two NCAA National Championships with Loyola of Chicago. He was clearly a fan favorite as he scored nine points on seven kills and two blocks.

T.J. DeFalco entered the match for Jaeschke and scored five points on three kills and two big blocks.

“We’re heartbroken to see Thomas get hurt in the middle of the match like that,” Head Coach John Speraw said. “Hopefully he’s OK. But you need to have guys come up when guys go down and T.J. certainly did. He’s such a good blocker and had such a good game at the net.”

DeFalco credited his blocking to his training at Long Beach State, where he won an NCAA National Championship last month and where he will return for his senior season in the fall.

“I credit it back to Long Beach and the stuff that they teach there,” he said. “It transfers well to the international game because it’s not something you expect. You’re expecting more physicality here rather than making the moves on a shorter guy like me. It’s kind of hard for them to see me, which is good.”

Speraw started an all-Olympian lineup against Serbia and it showed as setter Micah Christenson led a high-powered offense that saw outside hitter Aaron Russell score 14 points and opposite Matt Anderson score 13. Middle blockers David Smith and Max Holt each scored six points. Libero Erik Shoji was only served four times, but made some amazing saves when it counted.

“Micah Christenson did such a good job running the offense,” Speraw said. “All the guys passed the ball so well that we just kept giving ourselves opportunities to score points. I thought our serving was great tonight. I think the combination of our passing and our ability to play defense behind a good service game was the key to the match.”

U.S. STARTERS VS SERBIA
Outside Hitters: 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 SERBIA
Kills: Anderson 11, Russell 10, Jaeschke 7, Smith 5, DeFalco 3, Christenson 2
Blocks: Jaeschke 2, Holt 2, DeFalco 2, Russell 1, Smith 1, Christenson 1
Aces: Russell 3, Anderson 2

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

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)
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)
26. Kyle Ensing (Opp, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)

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
June 9: USA def Australia, 20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-17
June 10: USA def Canada, 23-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-20

At Hoffman Estates, Ill., USA - GET TICKETS
June 15: USA  def Serbia, 25-22, 25-16, 25-14
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