U.S. Men So Very Close to VNL Final Round

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 21, 2018, 11:40 a.m. (ET)
The U.S. Men's National Team huddles after their victory over Iran
The U.S. Men huddle after their victory over Iran in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 21, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team is one point away from securing a spot in the final six of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

The U.S. Team (10-2) is in second place in the VNL standings and will play first-place France (10-2), third-place Russia (9-3) and seventh-place Italy (7-5) this weekend in Modena, Italy in the final round of pool play.

U.S. VNL EVENT PAGEFIVB VNL EVENT PAGE

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

U.S. Head Coach John Spreraw was feeling positive about the team’s chances after it went 3-0 and didn’t lose a set in its three VNL matches on June 15-17 in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

“I feel great. Certainly, to be 3-0 at home and to get all nine points puts us in a really nice position,” Speraw said. “At this point, we’re a little depleted. For us to be in this position going into the last weekend is probably really good for us.”

Depleted may be an understatement. The United States has lost opposite Ben Patch and outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke to injuries over the last week and a half. Outside hitter Taylor Sander is in the United States for personal reasons.

Taylor’s younger brother Brenden Sander, who finished at BYU in May, will make his U.S. National Team roster debut in Modena.

U.S. opposite/outside hitter Matt Anderson is leading the U.S. in scoring with 126 points on 101 kills, 11 blocks and 14 aces, which puts him 12th among all VNL players. He is third in the VNL in aces.

Anderson is fifth among all VNL players in attacks with a 52.88 kill percentage (.340 efficiency). Outside hitter Aaron Russell is seventh with a 51.75 success percentage (.382 efficiency).

Micah Christenson is fifth among all VNL setters with an average of 8.4 running sets per set and he leads the VNL in digs with an average of 1.24 per set. Libero Erik Shoji is eighth in digs with an average of .98 per set.

Shoji is third among all VNL players in receiving with an 18.01 efficiency percentage.

Among this weekend’s competition, opposite Stephen Boyer leads France in scoring with 132 points on 120 kills, 10 blocks and two aces. Middle blocker Dmitriy Muserskiy leads Russia with 173 points on 136 kills, 25 blocks. Outside hitter Ivan Zaytsev leads Italy with 121 points on 101 kills, 12 blocks and eight aces.

U.S. Men’s 14-Man Travel Roster for Modena, Italy

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)
15. Brenden Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
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