U.S. Men Get Important Point, but Not the Win

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 22, 2018, 4:03 p.m. (ET)
Micah Christenson sets in a match against France
Micah Christenson sets as David Smith approaches the net during their match against France on Friday.
 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 22, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team got the point it needed, but fell to France, 25-21, 23-25, 26-28, 25-20, 15-12 on Friday in an FIVB Volleyball Nations League match on Friday in Modena, Italy.

The U.S. Men (10-3) will play Russia (9-4) on Saturday at 8:30 a.m. PT. The FIVB has chosen FloVolleyball.tv to live stream the matches.

U.S. VNL EVENT PAGEFIVB VNL EVENT PAGE | TEAM STATISTICS

This is the last weekend of men’s VNL pool play and the U.S. Men needed one point to assure themselves a place in the Final Round, which will be July 4-8 in Lille, France. With the match going five sets, the U.S. earns one point while France earns two.

The U.S. Men led France in kills (64-53) and blocks (11-9). France led in aces (8-7) and scored 44 points on U.S. errors while committing 24.

U.S. opposite Matt Anderson led all scorers with 23 points on 20 kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Aaron Russell added 21 points on 19 kills, one block and one ace. Middle blocker Dan McDonnell totaled 12 points on six kills, three blocks and three aces.

Middle blocker David Smith scored nine points on kills and T.J. DeFalco added seven kills. Setter Micah Christenson scored six points on three blocks, two aces and one kill.

Opposite Kyle Ensing, who will be playing his senior season with Long Beach State in the fall, made his U.S. Men’s National Team debut in the fourth set and scored two points on a kill and a block. Middle blocker Jeff Jendryk and outside hitter Jake Langlois each scored a point as substitutes.

France was leading the first set 24-18 when the U.S. scored three straight points, including two straight aces by McDonnell. Although the U.S. didn’t win the set, the late run seemed buoy them for the second set.

The U.S. Men led the second set 6-2, but France finally tied the score at 13-13. The teams battled back and forth, but the U.S. reached set point at 24-21. France scored on a kill and block before Anderson notched a kill off the block.

The third set stayed close with the U.S. taking the first set point at 24-23 and France taking the second at 25-24. DeFalco tied the score at 25-25 with a kill. Then McDonnell got a block, aided by Langlois on the outside who had subbed for DeFalco, for the United States’ second set point. France tied the score when the United States hit it out, but then lost the point on a net serve. At 27-26, Christenson scored with an ace to win the set.

The U.S. Men trailed in the fourth set 24-17, but scored three straight points, including blocks by Ensing and Christenson, to pull it to 24-20.

The fifth set was tied 4-4 when France scored twice and the U.S. never recovered.

U.S. STARTERS VS FRANCE
Outside Hitters: Aaron Russell and T.J. DeFalco
Middle Blockers: David Smith and Dan McDonnell
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Subsitutes: Jake Langlois (OH), Jeff Jendryk (MB), Kyle Ensing (Opp)

U.S. STATISTICS VS FRANCE
Kills: Anderson 20, Russell 19, Smith 9, DeFalco 7, McDonnell 6, Christenson 1, Ensing 1, Langlois 1
Blocks: McDonnell 3, Christenson 3, Anderson 2, Russell 1, Ensing 1, Jendryk 1
Aces: McDonnell 3, Christenson 2, Anderson 1, Russell 1
Digs: Christenson 19, E Shoji 17, Anderson 11, Russell 10, DeFalco 7, Langlois 4, Smith 2

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: France def USA, 25-21, 23-25, 26-28, 25-20, 15-12
June 23 at 8:30 a.m.: USA vs Russia
June 24 at 11:30 a.m.: Italy vs USA

Final Round: July 1-4 in Lille, France