COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 3, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team started from the bottom, now they’re here.
“Here” is Curitiba, Brazil for the Final Round of the FIVB World League.
“Here” is where few thought the U.S. Men would end up after they lost the first three matches of World League pool play.
“Here” is the Arena da Baixada, a soccer stadium with a retractable roof that holds more than 42,000.
Final Round pool play will begin for the U.S. Men on Tuesday, July 4, when the United States (4-5) will take on France (8-1) at 2 p.m. ET (live on Universal HD). They will play Serbia (6-3) on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET (live on Universal HD).
Despite his team’s slow start, U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw does not think it should be counted out of the competition.
“I think for us to have gotten this far, especially starting off World League 0-3. I wouldn’t discount this team,” he said. “We are certainly underdogs going in. We’re playing two teams that beat us pretty easily during pool play. I think it’s a great challenge for us to reach semifinals.”
One thing that could work in the U.S. Men’s favor is the return of outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke to the roster. Jaeschke, a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, didn’t play at all in pool play due to an injury. But Speraw said he is doing well now.
The first match against France is a matchup of two of the top scorers of pool play. French opposite Stephen Boyer led all scorers with 165 points (135 kills, 13 stuffs and 17 aces). U.S. outside hitter was third with 146 points (118 kills, 15 stuffs, 13 aces).
Other standouts for the U.S. during pool play were opposite Ben Patch, middle blocker David Smith, setter Micah Christenson and libero Erik Shoji.
“To be able to play in this stadium is an incredible experience,” Shoji said. “It’s a different environment with the size, but our team is embracing the challenges that come with that.”
2017 FIVB World League Final Round
July 4-8 in Curitiba, Brazil
U.S. Men’s Roster
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
7C. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
13. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
14. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. TJ DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
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)
|Date and Opponent||Result||Location||TV (all times EDT)|
|June 2||Serbia||L (25-18, 23-25, 25-20, 25-21)||Novi Sad, Serbia||June 2: 9:30-11:30 p.m. NBCSN|
|June 3||Canada||L (23-25, 25-19,18-25, 25-23, 15-11)||Novi Sad, Serbia||June 3: 3-5 p.m. NBCSN|
|June 4||Belgium||L (25-23, 25-16, 22-25, 28-26)||Novi Sad, Serbia||June 4: 6-8 p.m. UniHD|
|June 9||Italy||W (25-22, 25-23, 25-23)||Pau, France||June 9: 6-8 p.m. NBCSN|
|June 10||Russia||W (25-20, 25-22, 25-22)||Pau, France||June 10: 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. UniHD
|June 11||France||L (25-20, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21)||Pau, France||June 11: 3-4:30 p.m. NBCSN|
|June 15||Iran||W (25-17, 25-22, 30-28)||Katowice, Poland||June 15: 12-2 p.m.. NBCSN|
|June 17||Russia||L (31-29, 17-25, 25-19, 27-29, 15-13)||Lodz, Poland||June 17: 6:30-8:30 p.m. NBCSN
|June 18||Poland||W (26-31, 25-17, 27-25, 25-20)||Lodz, Poland||June 18: 6-8 p.m. NBCSN|
|July 4||Final Round pool play||Brazil vs Canada||Curitiba, Brazil||July 4, 2 p.m. on Universal HD|
|July 4||Final Round pool play||France vs USA||Curitiba, Brazil||July 4, 4:40 p.m. on UniHD|
|July 5||Final Round pool play||Russia vs Canada||Curitiba, Brazil||July 5, 2 p.m. on UniHD|
|July 5||Final Round pool play||Serbia vs USA||Curitiba, Brazil||July 5, 4:30 p.m. on UniHD|
|July 6||Final Round pool play||Brazil vs Russia||Curitiba, Brazil||July 6, 2 p.m. on UniHD|
|July 6||Final Round pool play||France vs Serbia||Curitiba, Brazil||July 6, 4;30 on UniHD|
|July 7||Final Round semifinals||Curitiba, Brazil||TBD: UniHD|
|July 8||Final Round finals|