U.S. Men Lose Marathon Match to Poland

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 01, 2019, 3:39 p.m. (ET)

T.J. DeFalco prepares to serve

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 1, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team lost a marathon to world champion Poland, 17-25, 34-32, 26-28, 25-23, 15-9 in an FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) match on Saturday in Katowice, Poland.

The U.S. Men fall to 0-2 in the VNL preliminary round, but pick up a point for going five sets. The U.S. will close the first weekend against Australia at 5 a.m. PT on Sunday. The match will be show on FloVolleyball.tv, a subscription service.

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An estimated crowd of 8,952 packed Spodek Arena to cheer on both teams.

"It's always amazing to play against Poland in Poland. I love it,” outside hitter T.J. DeFalco said. “Both teams played very hard. It was a really good game. I made some mistakes in the end that I cannot afford and it makes a difference.”

DeFalco led the U.S. with 20 points on a team-high 17 kills, one block and two aces. Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia added 19 points on 16 kills and a team-high three aces.

Opposite Kyle Russell scored 15 points on 12 kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Mitch Stahl had 12 points on six kills, a team-high four blocks and two aces.

“We had our chances in a couple of different sets and I'm sure they felt the same way,” said U.S. Head Coach John Speraw. “They just came out on top. Playing in Poland is always a great experience, because of this crowd. I love it! We appreciate their enthusiasm and I'm sure they are making Poland better.”

The U.S. Men’s serving was strong as they led Poland in aces (12-5), but also had a few more errors (28-24).

The U.S. Men led in kills (58-54). The U.S. hitting efficiency was .321 while Poland’s was .338.

Poland led in blocks (12-10) and scored 46 points on U.S. errors while committing 37.

U.S. STARTERS VS POLAND
Outside hitters: T.J. DeFalco and Garrett Muagututia
Middle blockers: Mitch Stahl and David Smith
Opposite: Kyle Russell
Setter: Kawika Shoji
Libero: Erik Shoji
Substitutes: Kyle Ensing (Opp), Josh Tuaniga (S), Micah Ma’a (S)

U.S. STATISTICS VS POLAND
Kills: DeFalco 17, Muagututia 16, Russell 12, Stahl 6, Smith 5, K Shoji 1, Ensing 1
Blocks: Stahl 4, Russell 2, Smith 2, DeFalco 1, Shoji 1
Aces: Muagututia 3, K Shoji 2, DeFalco 2, Stahl 2, Smith 1, Russell 1

U.S. Men’s Travel Roster for Poland

3C  Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4  Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
5  Kyle Ensing (Opp, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)
6  Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA)
7  Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
8  T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
9  Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
14  Micah Ma'a (S, 6-3, Kaneohe, Hawaii, UCLA)
16  Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
18  Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
20  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)
25  Kyle Russell (Opp, 6-9, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Consultant Coach: Erik Sullivan
Doctor: Christopher Lee

2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League
U.S. Men’s Schedule (all times PT)

Katowice, Poland
Brazil def USA, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23
Poland def USA, 17-25, 34-32, 26-28, 25-23, 15-9 
June 2 at 5 a.m.: USA v Australia

Ufa, Russia
June 7 at 4 a.m.: USA v Italy
June 8 at 7 a.m.: USA v Russia
June 9 at 4 a.m.: USA v Portugal

Cannes, France
June 14 at 8 a.m.: USA v Argentina
June 15 at 8 a.m.: USA v Germany
June 16 at 8 a.m.: USA v France

Hoffman Estates, Illinois, USA
June 21 at 6 p.m.: USA v Japan
June 22 at 5:30 p.m.: USA v Canada
June 23 at 2:30 p.m.: USA v China

Plovdiv, Bulgaria
June 28 at 10:40 a.m.: USA v Bulgaria
June 29 at 7 a.m.: USA v Serbia
June 30 at 7 a.m.: USA v Iran