Russia Rushes to Victory over U.S. Men at VNL

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 08, 2019, 4:20 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Men triple block

Ben Patch (13), Mitch Stahl (6) and T.J. DeFalco block against Russia

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 8, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team never found its rhythm against Russia and fell 25-22, 25-29, 25-15 in an FIVB Volleyball Nations League match on Saturday in Ufa, Russia.

The U.S. (1-4) will look to bounce back against Portugal (1-4) at 5 a.m. PT on Sunday. The match will be shown live on FloVolleyball.tv, a subscription service.

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The Russian team, led by opposite Victor Poletaev who finished with 19 points, got stronger with each set.

Russia led the U.S. in kills (41-30) and blocks (12-7). The teams tied in aces (3-3). The U.S. scored 16 points on Russia errors while committing 19.

Middle blocker Igor Philippov had five blocks for Russia.

Russia’s captain Igor Kobzar was surprised by the final score.

“I think the USA is preparing for the final,” Kobzar said. “Because we beat them 3-0.”

Setter Micah Christenson made his first start for the U.S. Men in 2019. U.S. Head Coach John Speraw substituted Micah Ma’a for Christenson to start the third set. The two combined for a 33.3 team kill percentage.

Max Holt substituted for Jeff Jendryk in the third set.

Opposite Ben Patch led the U.S. with 13 points on 12 kills and one block. Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia finished with six points on five kills and one block.

STARTERS FOR U.S. MEN VS RUSSIA
Outside hitters: T.J. DeFalco and Garrett Muagututia
Middle blockers: Mitch Stahl and Jeff Jendryk
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Substitutes: Max Holt (MB), Micah Ma’a (S)

STATISTICS FOR U.S. MEN VS RUSSIA
Kills: Patch 12, Muagututia 5, Stahl 4, DeFalco 3, Holt 3, Jendryk 2, Ma’a 1
Blocks: Holt 2, Jendryk 2, Patch 1, DeFalco 1, Muagututia 1
Aces: Stahl 1, DeFalco 1, Christenson 1

U.S. Men’s Travel Roster for Russia

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)
11  Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
12  Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
13  Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
14  Micah Ma'a (S, 6-3, Kaneohe, Hawaii, UCLA)
18  Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
20  David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
22  Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
24  Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Fla., Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

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 
USA def Australia, 19-25, 27-25, 25-16, 25-16

Ufa, Russia
Italy def USA, 25-23, 13-25, 25-20, 25-23
Russia def Italy, 25-22, 25-19, 25-15
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