U.S. Men Beat Argentina for 3rd VNL Victory

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 14, 2019, 5:48 p.m. (ET)

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 14, 2019) -- The U.S. Men’s National Team got its second win in a row in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, beating Argentina, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21 on Friday in Cannes, France.

The U.S. Men (3-4) will look to even their record at 8 a.m. PT on Saturday against Germany. The match will be shown live on FloVolleyball.tv, a subscription service.

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U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw started the biggest group of 2016 Olympians that he has used so far in 2019 with Micah Christenson at setter, Taylor Sander at outside hitter, Max Holt at middle blocker and Erik Shoji at libero.

They were joined by Mitch Stahl at the other middle, Ben Patch at opposite and Garrett Muagututia at the other outside.

When Stahl’s hand was injured in the third set, two-time Olympian David Smith took over and helped the U.S. Men to a strong finish.

“The first match of the new weekend of VNL is always a little bit nerve-wracking,” said Patch who led all scorers with 17 points on a match-high 15 kills and two blocks. “We knew Argentina was going to be a tough team. Defensively, they are very scrappy and they dig a lot of balls.”

The U.S. Men had three other players in double figures: Sander had 14 points on 14 kills. Holt scored 13 points on a match-high four blocks and eight kills and Muagututia scored 12 points on a match-high three aces and nine kills.

Christenson set the team to a 45.4 kill percentage.

The U.S. Men led Argentina in kills (54-50) and blocks (9-7). Argentina led in aces (6-4). The U.S. scored 29 points on Argentina’s errors and committed 24.

After winning the first two sets, the U.S. Men fell behind in the third and never completely closed the gap despite a strong effort. The team fell behind 8-12 in the fourth set before using a 6-0 run to take the lead.

U.S. STARTERS VS ARGENTINA
Outside hitters: Taylor Sander and Garrett Muagututia
Middle blockers: Max Holt and Mitch Stahl
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Substitutes: David Smith (MB), Micah Ma’a (S)

U.S. STATISTICS VS ARGENTINA
Kills: Patch 15, Sander 14, Muagututia 9, Holt 8, Smith 4, Christenson 2, Stahl 2
Blocks: Holt 4, Patch 2, Christenson 2, Stahl 1
Aces: Muagututia 3, Holt 1

U.S. Men’s Travel Roster for France

3C  Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
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)
19  Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Hawaii)
20  David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
22  Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
23  Larry Tuileta (L, 6-2, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Hawaii)

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
USA def Portugal, 25-20, 22-25, 25-22, 25-17

Cannes, France
USA def Argentina, 25-22, 25-19, 21-25, 25-21
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