Wednesday, 22 May 2024

U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team Faces Tough Loss to Poland in VNL

The U.S. Men’s Volleyball team, after a hard-fought victory against Bulgaria, fell short against the top-ranked team in the world, Poland. Despite their efforts, they lost 3-1 in a closely contested match (21-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-22) on Sunday in Sofia, Bulgaria.

The Road Ahead for the U.S. Men’s Team

The U.S. Men’s team, with a record of 6-2, now has a well-deserved week of rest before the final round of the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) preliminary matches in Osaka, Japan. In this round, they will face tough opponents, including Germany, France, Canada, and Argentina. The team will be looking to secure their spot in the final round.

Performance Analysis and Lineup

Head Coach John Speraw maintained the same starting lineup for Sunday’s match as he did on Saturday. Aaron Russell and T.J. DeFalco played as outside hitters, David Smith and Jeff Jendryk as middle blockers, Kyle Ensing as the opposite, Josh Tuaniga as the setter, and Erik Shoji as the libero. It is worth noting that four of the starters, Smith, Shoji, DeFalco, and Tuaniga, played in Poland professionally during the winter.

Poland’s Strong Performance

While the U.S. Men’s team had a strong start, they struggled in the fourth set and couldn’t maintain the momentum. Speraw made substitutions, but Poland ultimately pulled ahead with a 5-1 scoring run to secure the victory.

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Poland displayed their dominance in kills (57-49) and blocks (7-5), while the U.S. led in aces (8-4). Aaron Russell played a key role with three aces in the first set, helping the U.S. take the lead and win the set. Poland had more scoring errors (32) compared to the U.S. Men’s team (29), though most of these errors occurred early in the match.

Standout Performances

Aaron Russell led the U.S. team in scoring with 16 points, including 13 kills and three aces. T.J. DeFalco also made a significant contribution with 14 points from 11 kills, one block, and two aces. David Smith finished with nine points, while Kyle Ensing and Mitch Stahl each scored eight points.

On the defensive end, Erik Shoji recorded seven digs and four successful receptions, with DeFalco leading the team in receptions with nine. Josh Tuaniga, alongside backup setter James Shaw, showcased their skills with a .327 hitting efficiency.

Poland’s Bartosz Kurek Leads the Way

Poland’s veteran player, Bartosz Kurek, was instrumental in his team’s victory, scoring 23 points. Kurek raised the level of the match in the second set, leading Poland’s comeback after a controversial challenge call favored the United States.

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster

Here is the roster for the U.S. Men’s National Team for the second round of the 2022 Volleyball Nations League:

  • Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
  • James Shaw (S, 6-8, Woodside, Calif., Stanford, Northern California)
  • Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
  • Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
  • Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA, Keystone)
  • T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
  • Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Florida, Stanford Univ., Florida)
  • Kyle Russell (OPP, 6-9, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine, Northern California)
  • Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
  • Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
  • Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
  • David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine, Southern California)
  • Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ., Aloha)
  • Tyler Mitchem (MB, 6-11, Bolingbrook, Ill., Lewis Univ., Great Lakes)
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Upcoming Matches and Schedule

The U.S. Men’s team will compete in the following matches during the 2022 VNL (All times PDT). Fans can watch all matches on

Preliminary Round 3 – Osaka, Japan

  • July 4 at 11 p.m. USA vs Germany
  • July 6 at 8 p.m. USA vs France
  • July 8 at 11:40 p.m. USA vs Canada
  • July 9 at 8:40 p.m. USA vs Argentina

Final Round – Bologna, Italy

  • July 20-24


Q: What is the Volleyball Nations League (VNL)?
A: The Volleyball Nations League is an annual international men’s volleyball tournament. It features the top national volleyball teams from around the world, competing to become the champion.

Q: How many teams participate in the Volleyball Nations League?
A: The VNL includes 16 teams from various countries, striving to showcase their skills and claim the title.

Q: Where can I watch the U.S. Men’s team in action?
A: All matches of the Volleyball Nations League, including those featuring the U.S. Men’s team, can be streamed on

Q: What is the format of the Volleyball Nations League?
A: The VNL consists of a preliminary round, followed by a final round. During the preliminary round, teams compete in multiple matches to secure their spot in the final round. The top teams from each round advance to the final round, where they battle for the championship.


Despite their loss to Poland, the U.S. Men’s Volleyball team continues to showcase their talent and determination. With upcoming matches in the VNL, they have the opportunity to bounce back and secure their place in the final round. Stay tuned and support our team as they strive for greatness in the Volleyball Nations League!

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For more information about the U.S. Men’s Volleyball team, visit Alpinetgheep.