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U.S. Men Bring New Look to France for Final 6

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | July 04, 2018, 10:17 a.m. (ET)

The U.S. Men huddle near the VNL logo
The U.S. Men huddle during a match in Chicago. 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 4, 2018) – After five weekends of matches and roster moves and countless miles of travel, the U.S. Men’s National Team is in Lille, France for the FIVB Volleyball Nations League (VNL) Final Six.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. Men are in Lille with yet another different roster. Outside hitter Taylor Sander has returned to the team. Opposites Kyle Ensing and Ben Patch are both on the roster together for the first time.


The team will be missing outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke, who tore his ACL during a match in Chicago and recently had surgery.

The U.S. Men finished the VNL in third place after the Preliminary Round with a record of 11-4. Their losses came to Brazil, France, Russia and Germany.

Teams in the Final Six are distributed into two pools of three. The United States is in Pool B with Russia and Poland. Host France is in Pool A alongside Brazil and Serbia.

The top two teams of each pool will meet in crosswise semifinals on Saturday, followed by the bronze medal match and final on Sunday.

Final Six play opens on Wednesday with Russia playing Poland and France taking on Brazil. The U.S. will join the fray on Thursday against Poland (9 a.m. PT). The U.S. Men will play Russia on Friday (9 a.m. PT).

The FIVB has selected FloVolleyball.tv to show the matches online in the United States. It is a subscription service.

The U.S. Men are hoping they can match the achievement of the U.S. Women, who won their VNL Final Six on July 1.

U.S. Men’s 14-Man Travel Roster for Lille, France

1. Matt Anderson (Opp/OH, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3. 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)
8. T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
10. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Phoenix, Ariz., UC Irvine)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Hawaii, Southern California)
12. Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
13. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
20C. 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)
26. Kyle Ensing (Opp, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager: Nate Ngo
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Team Doctor: Eugene Yim
Consultant Coach: Mike Wall

Final Six Schedule/Results (All times PT)
July 4
10 a.m. Russia vs Poland
12:45 p.m. France vs Brazil

July 5
10 a.m. USA vs Poland
12:45 p.m. Serbia vs Brazil

July 6
10 a.m. Russia vs USA
12:45 p.m. France vs Serbia

Related Athletes

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Matt Anderson

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Micah Christenson

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TJ DeFalco

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Kyle Ensing

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Max Holt

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Jeff Jendryk

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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