U.S. Men Open 2019 VNL vs. Brazil, Poland, Australia

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | May 29, 2019, 6:26 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. Men's National Team huddles to celebrate a win

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 29, 2019) – No. 2 takes on No. 1 on Friday as the U.S. Men’s National Team opens the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League against world No. 1 Brazil at 8:30 a.m. PT on Friday.

FloVolleyball.tv, a subscription service, is live streaming all VNL matches.

In 2018, the U.S. Men, ranked No. 2 in the world, lost a five-set match to Brazil in the VNL preliminary round (losing the fifth set 20-18) and beat the South Americans for the bronze medal at the VNL Final Round.

“We were able to get a lot of experience and play a lot of good teams,” said U.S. Team Captain Taylor Sander, who, coincidentally, played professionally in Brazil over the winter. “Getting third place is not what we wanted, but any time you can get on the medal stand, it’s a positive.”

After Brazil on Friday, the U.S. Men will play 2018 World Champion Poland on Saturday and Australia on Sunday.

Because the U.S. Men are hosting the VNL Final Round on July 10-14 in Chicago, the team can use the preliminary rounds to give some younger players more international experience.

Making their VNL travel roster debuts in Poland are setters Micah Ma’a and Josh Tuaniga, middle blocker Mitch Stahl and opposite Kyle Russell.

The U.S. Men will also play a domestic weekend in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on June 21-23.

“For us to be able to host (preliminary and final round matches) and play in front of a home crowd is a big advantage,” Sander said. “I know the energy that the guys get from the crowd (in Chicago) is really good.”

U.S. Men’s Preliminary Roster

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
May 31 at 8:30 a.m.: USA v Brazil
June 1 at 8 a.m.: USA v Poland
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