U.S. Men Finish VNL Week 4 with Victory

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 23, 2019, 11:50 p.m. (ET)

David Smith attacks against China

HOFFMAN ESTATES. Ill. (June 23, 2019) – Nothing like a getting over a tough loss with a big win, even it is not against the best team.

The U.S. Men’s National Team capped off the penultimate weekend of FIVB Volleyball Nations League preliminary play with a 25-20, 25-19, 25-19 win over China on Sunday at the Sears Centre.

OFFICIAL STATISTICS | BUY TIX FOR VNL FINAL

The U.S. Men will play their final VNL weekend in Bulgaria where they will face Bulgaria (June 28), Serbia (June 29) and Iran (June 30). Matches will be shown live on FloVolleyball.tv, a subscription service.

A day after falling to Canada, 3-1, the U.S. Men outhit China 48-31 and out-blocked it 10-4. The U.S. hit .532 behind setter Micah Christenson while China hit .368. China led in aces 4-1.

The general consensus seemed to be that the United States is probably a more talented team than China (1-11), which sits in last place in the standings. But that didn’t take any shine off the win for the United States.

"Kudos to our whole team for pulling it off and finishing the weekend with a win over a tough China team,” U.S. opposite Ben Patch said. “China played well. We were just serving the ball really well, receiving the ball really well and we're a hard team to hit against. We're big blockers. If we're on point with our defensive plan then it's hard to get past us."

China coach Raul Lozano tended to agree.

"The U.S. team is at another level technically,” he said through an interpreter. “Without doubt, it is one of the top four teams in this tournament.”

Team captain and outside hitter Taylor Sander was happy the team got to work on improving its offense.

“I though we passed well and we ran our system better than we did last night,” he said. “That was a big improvement. That’s what we wanted to work on. That was a really positive thing.”

The U.S. has already qualified for the VNL Finals by virtue of hosting them July 10-14 at Credit Union 1 Arena in Chicago.

Sander led the U.S. with 15 points on 12 kills, two blocks and one ace. Patch had 14 points on 14 kills. Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia scored 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks.

The middles also came through as David Smith finished with seven points and Jeff Jendryk with six.

U.S. STARTERS VS CHINA
Outside hitters: Taylor Sander and Garrett Muagututia
Middle blockers: David Smith and Jeff Jendryk
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Micah Chirstenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Substitutes: Micah Ma'a (S) and Larry Tuileta (L)

U.S. STATISTICS VS CHINA
Kills: Patch 14, Muagututia 12, Sander 12, Smith 5, Jendryk 4, Christenson 1
Blocks: Sander 2, Muagututia 2, Smith 2, Jendryk 2, Christenson 2
Aces: Sander 1

U.S. Men’s Roster for Hoffman Estates, Ill.

1  Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
3C  Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4  Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
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)
17  Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola)
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 Jr. (L, 6-2, Honolulu, Hawaii, Hawaii)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Leader: Dan Friend
Doctor: Mark Hutchinson

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
USA def Germany, 25-22, 21-25, 25-19, 25-20
USA def France, 3-25, 25-22, 28-26, 27-25

Hoffman Estates, Illinois, USA
USA def Japan, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19 
Canada def USA, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 25-17
USA def China, 25-20, 25-19, 25-19

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