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U.S. Men Sending Veteran Group to Worlds

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | Sept. 04, 2018, 11:50 a.m. (ET)

The U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 4, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will send eight Olympic medalists and six other players with significant international experience to compete at the 2018 FIVB World Championships in Italy and Bulgaria.

The U.S. Men will begin World Championship pool play on Sept. 12 against Serbia in Bari, Italy. All matches will be show live on FloVolleyball.tv, a subscription service selected by the FIVB.

The eight 2016 Olympic bronze medalists on the roster opposite/outside hitter Matt Anderson, outside hitters Aaron Russell and Taylor Sander, middle blockers David Smith and Max Holt, setters Micah Christenson and Kawika Shoji and libero Erik Shoji.

Anderson and Smith are both two-time Olympians. Sander will serve as team captain.

Other veteran players on the roster are outside hitter Jake Langlois, middle blockers Jeff Jendryk, Dan McDonnell and Taylor Averill, opposite Ben Patch and libero Dustin Watten. All except Jendryk have played at least one professional season overseas.

“We are very excited by the roster we are sending to the World Championships,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “We believe that, considering all factors, this team will provide us the best opportunity to bring home the gold.”

The team left Anaheim, Calif., on Monday (Sept. 3) for a pre-Worlds warmup tournament on Sept. 6-8 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Canada, Iran and Slovenia will also compete.

Speraw said the team has had a strong monthlong training block at the American Sports Centers to lead into the tournament.

“We’re in a position where we have some players who have played together for quite some time,” Speraw said. “We are strong from a leadership and team-dynamic perspective. We just need to go out and execute.”

The U.S. Men will go into the World Championship with a 13-6 record this season after they finished third in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League earlier this year.

The U.S. Men won the World Championship in 1986 and finished third in 1994. In 2014, they finished tied for seventh.

2018 FIVB World Championship

U.S. Men’s Roster
1. Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3C. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Phoenix, Ariz., UC Irvine)
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)
18. Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
19. Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Hawaii)
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)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Team Manager: Nate Ngo
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Team Doctors: Andrew Gregory and David Dyck
Scout Coach: Jon Parry
Consultant Coach: Mike Wall
Strength Coach: Tim Pelot

U.S. Men’s World Championship Pool Play Schedule
Bari, Italy
All matches will be shown on Flovolleyball.tv
(All times PT)

Sept. 12 at 11:30 a.m.: Serbia
Sept. 13 at 8 a.m.: Australia
Sept. 15 at 11:30 a.m.: Russia
Sept. 16 at 8 a.m.: Cameroon
Sept. 18 at 8 a.m.: Tunisia


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Matt Anderson

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Taylor Averill

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Micah Christenson

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Max Holt

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Jeff Jendryk

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Jake Langlois

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Dan McDonnell

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Ben Patch

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Aaron Russell

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Taylor Sander

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Erik Shoji

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Kawika Shoji

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David Smith

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Dustin Watten