U.S. Men Improve to 3-1 with Sweep of Japan

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans | Oct. 05, 2019, 10:32 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 5, 2019) – Led by 12 points from middle blocker Max Holt, the U.S. Men swept host Japan, 25-19, 25-19, 25-20 on Saturday at the FIVB World Cup in Fukuoka.

Team USA (3-1) remained in second place in the overall standings behind Brazil (4-0). The United States will play Tunisia at 11 p.m. PT today (Saturday) before getting two days off to travel to Hiroshima for their final six World Cup matches.

All World Cup matches are being shown on FloVolleyball.tv.

The U.S. Men hosted Japan for a Volleyball Nations League weekend in June and knew they could not take the Asian power lightly.

“I feel like Japan is the most improved team, maybe in the world,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “They have great young players… We were ready for a team that plays very good defense and hits their serve very hard.

“They aren’t the biggest team in the world. They aren’t Russia or Poland. They do a really good job of understanding what they need to do to win.

“We knew we were in for a fight tonight.”

Speraw stuck with the same starting six he has used for the last three matches: Aaron Russell and Garrett Muagututia at outside hitter, Holt and David Smith at middle blocker, Matt Anderson at opposite, Micah Christenson at setter and Erik Shoji at libero.

Setter Josh Tuaniga took over for Christenson in the middle of the second set. At the same time, Ben Patch also took over for Anderson.

Holt had a great night with a match-high five blocks to go with three aces and four kills.

Muagututia scored 11 points on a match-high nine kills and two blocks. Russell finished with four kills, three blocks and three aces.

As a team, the U.S. topped Japan in kills (40-31), blocks (11-1) and aces (8-2). Japan scored 25 points on U.S. errors while committing 16.

JAESCHKE UPDATE: Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke suffered a dislocated right shoulder during the U.S. Men’s match against Poland on Friday. He will return early to the United States to be evaluated by doctors.

U.S. STARTERS VS JAPAN
Outside hitters: Aaron Russell and Garrett Muagututia
Middle blockers: Max Holt and David Smith
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero Erik Shoji
Substitutes: Josh Tuaniga (S), Ben Patch (Opp), T.J. DeFalco (OH)

U.S. STATISTICS VS JAPAN
Kills: Muagututia 9, Anderson 8, Smith 7, Patch 7, Holt 4, Russell 4, Tuaniga 1
Blocks: Holt 5, Russell 3, Muagututia 2, Christenson 1
Aces: Holt 3, Russell 3, Smith 1, Ma'a 1

U.S. ROSTER VS JAPAN

No. Name (Pos, Height, Hometown, College)
1  Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2  Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
4  Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA)
T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
Michael Saeta (SS, 6-5, South Pasadena, Calif., UC Irvine)
11 C  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)
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)
22  Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Consultant Coach: Mike Wall
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Doctor: Andrew Gregory
Sports Psychologist: Bernard Whitney
Trainer: Tim Pelot

U.S. Schedule for the 2019 World Cup
(All times PT)

Sept. 30: Argentina def USA vs Argentina, 25-21, 25-20, 19-25, 21-25, 15-12
Oct. 2: USA def Italy, 19-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-19
Oct. 3: USA def Poland, 25-19, 25-20, 24-26, 27-25
Oct. 5: USA def Japan, 25-19, 25-19, 25-20
Oct. 5 at 11 p.m. USA vs Tunisia
Oct. 9 at 2 a.m. USA vs Iran
Oct. 10 at 2 a.m. USA vs Brazil
Oct. 11 at 2 a.m. USA vs Canada
Oct. 12 at 10 p.m. USA vs Australia
Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. USA vs Russia
Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. USA vs Egypt