U.S. Men Beat Iran to Go 3-0 for Chicago

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans | June 18, 2018, 3 a.m. (ET)
Aaron Russell attacks against Iran
 Aaron Russell attacks against Iran as Micah Christenson, Dan McDonnell and Jeff Jendryk watch.
 

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (June 17, 2018) – Home proved to be pretty sweet for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it beat Iran, 29-27, 25-20, 26-24 and went 3-0 for the fourth weekend of FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Sunday at the Sears Centre.

The U.S. Men (10-2) will head to their final weekend of pool play in Italy in second place behind France. There, they will face France (10-2), Russia (9-3) and Italy (7-5).

U.S. VNL EVENT PAGEFIVB VNL EVENT PAGE

The matches will also be shown on FloVolleyball.tv, which is a subscription service.

In Sunday’s match, Iran went with a new, younger lineup, including setter Mohammad Taher Vadi instead of star setter Saeid Marouf.

The estimated crowd of 5,000 were mostly pro-Iranian fans, but cheered for both teams.

“They kind of threw us for a loop, but that’s just part of the game,” middle blocker Dan McDonnell said. “We adjusted to the lineup and made improvements as the game went on.”

Iran held at least a two-point lead in every set. Each time the U.S. used strong serving and passing to regain control.

“We didn’t know what to expect but they came out firing,” U.S. libero Erik Shoji said. “We battled so hard, it was an awesome match.”

The U.S. led in kills (43-33) and aces (8-4), Iran led in blocks (9-7).

U.S. opposite Matt Anderson led all scorers with 18 points on a match-high 13 kills, three aces and two blocks. McDonnell added 12 points on nine kills, two aces and one block.

Iran led 15-13 in the first set when the U.S. used a kill by T.J. DeFalco, a block and kill from McDonnell to take a 16-15 lead at the first technical timeout. The U.S. reached set point first at 24-23, but served out of bounds. Each team fought off set point until the score was tied 27-27. Iran served out of bounds and McDonnell served an ace to give the U.S. the win.

Iran led 11-9 in the second set. The U.S. used a 4-0 run behind the serving of DeFalco to take the lead for good.

Iran led 16-14 in the third set when the U.S. scored on a DeFalco kill of an overpass and an Iran error. The score was still tied at 23-23. The U.S. reached match point on DeFalco’s left-handed tip, but Iran tied it with a kill. McDonnell scored on a kill and Anderson won the match with a tip.

STARTERS FOR THE U.S. MEN VS IRAN
Outside Hitters: Aaron Russell and T.J. DeFalco
Middle Blockers: Jeff Jendryk and Dan McDonnell
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
LIbero: Erik Shoji

STATISTICS FOR THE U.S. MEN VS IRAN
Kills: Anderson 13, McDonnell 9, Russell 9, DeFalco 8, Jendryk 4
Block: Anderson 2, Jendryk 2, McDonnell 1, Russell 1, Christenson 1
Aces: Anderson 3, McDonnell 2, DeFalco 2, Russell 1

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 
June 15: USA  def Serbia, 25-22, 25-16, 25-14
June 16: USA def Poland, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19
June 17: USA def Iran, 29-27, 25-20, 26-24

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