U.S. Men Sweep Iran to Finish Prelims

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | June 30, 2019, 4:33 p.m. (ET)

Jeff Jendryk blocks

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 30, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team finished the preliminary stage of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League with a 27-25, 25-21, 25-20 win over Iran on Sunday in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The U.S. Men finished the preliminary round with a 9-6 record. They qualified for the Finals automatically because they are hosting on July 10-14 in Chicago.

OFFICIAL STATISTICS | TEAM STATISTICS | BUY TIX FOR VNL FINAL

Iran (12-3) finished in second place and will also go to the Finals.

Playing without their usual starters, the U.S. Men dominated Iran in kills (44-34), blocks (11-6) and aces (4-2).

"We did a nice job receiving the ball, put some pressure on them from the service line," Coach Rob Neilson said. "Our team did a very good job competing in this pool, that’s what we wanted to see from a group of young guys who are still trying to find their identity and play consistent volleyball."

The United States scored 24 points on Iran’s errors while committing 18.

“This is a new experience for us this weekend. We have a lot of new guys here,” said U.S. opposite Ben Patch who led all scorers with 16 points on a match-high 15 kills and one block. “We didn’t really know what would happen or what to expect. We knew we would come out fighting as hard as we could.”

Setter Micah Ma’a started and finished the match at setter for the first time with the U.S. Men, helping the team to a 55.7 kill percentage as opposed to Iran’s 47.2.

Middle blocker Jeff Jendryk (blocking in photo above) scored 10 points on five kills and a match-high five blocks. Outside hitter Jake Langlois scored 13 points on 10 kills and three blocks.

Iran did start its star setter and team captain Saeid Marouf, but did not play star opposite Amir Ghafour, who led the VNL in scoring going into the weekend. Iran’s coach Igor Kolakovic said the team was missing four players due it injuries.

STARTERS FOR U.S. MEN VS IRAN
Outside hitters: Garrett Muagututia and Jake Langlois
Middle blockers: Jeff Jendryk and George Huhmann
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Micah Ma'a 
Libero: Kyle Dagostino
Substitute: Kyle Russell (Opp)

STATISTICS FOR U.S. MEN VS IRAN
Kills: Patch 15, Langlois 10, Muagututia 7, Huhmann 6, Jendryk 5, Russell 1
Blocks: Jendryk 5, Langlois 3, Ma'a 1, Huhmann 1, Patch 1
Aces: Huhmann 2, Muagututia 1, Ma'a 1

U.S. Men's Roster for Bulgaria

4  Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
8  T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
9  Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
13  Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
14  Micah Ma'a (S, 6-3, Kaneohe, Hawaii, UCLA)
16  Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
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)
21  Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
24  Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Fla., Stanford)
25  Kyle Russell (Opp, 6-9, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine)
29  Price Jarman (MB, 6-9, Las Vegas, Nev., BYU)
30  George Huhmann (MB, 6-11, St. Louis, Mo., Princeton)

Head Coach: Rob Neilson
Assistant Coaches: Dan Friend and Greg Walker
Team Manager: Nate Ngo
Physiotherapist: Peter Higbie

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
Bulgaria def USA, 21-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-23
USA def Serbia, 14-25, 25-20, 29-27, 26-24
USA v Iran, 27-25, 25-21, 25-20