U.S. Men’s National Team head coach John Speraw has finalized his 25-player roster for the fast-approaching 2019 Volleyball Nations League tournament.
Featured in the group is a returning core of veteran players who made major contributions to 2018’s bronze-medal performances at VNL and World Championships, but there are also some notable young players making their first senior team roster for a major tournament.
Kyle Dagostino, who just finished up his eligibility at Stanford this spring, and Larry Tuileta, a 2018 University of Hawaii grad, will provide depth in the libero position, joining established starter Erik Shoji and national team vet Dustin Watten.
Speraw also brings in some new blood in the setting position with Josh Tuaniga, fresh off winning his second consecutive NCAA title with Long Beach State, and Michael Saeta. Saeta, a 25-year-old UC Irvine alum, played for Chaumont in the French league this pro season, helping his team, which Team USA middle Taylor Averill, reach the league championship series.
Kyle Russell, a two-time NCAA national champion at UC Irvine, played on the 2018 Pan Am Cup team, but has been included on the 2019 VNL roster following a great professional season with Berlin Recycling Volleys. The 6-9 opposite, along with fellow Team USA players Watten, Ben Patch, and Jeff Jendryk, helped Berlin win the 2019 Bundesliga title.
The 2019 VNL roster marks the official return of Thomas Jaeschke to the national team ranks after he tore his ACL during VNL last summer. Thirty-one-year-old outside hitter Garrett Muagututia also rejoins the senior squad after not being included on a Team USA roster since the 2017 World League.
VNL kicks off on May 31 for the men, with Team USA traveling to Katowice, Poland, where it will face archrivals Brazil, reigning World Champ Poland, and spunky upstart Australia. Each week, Speraw will chose a group of 14 players from this 25-man roster to travel to each pool location.
U.S. Men’s National Team 25-Player Roster for FIVB Nations League
# - Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 - Matt Anderson (OPP/OH, 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)
5 - Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)
6 - Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA)
7 - Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
8 - Torey (TJ) DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
9 - Jake Langlois (OH, 6-10, San Jose, Calif., BYU)
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)
14 - Micah Ma’a (S, 6-3, Kaneohe, Hawaii, UCLA)
16 - Joshua Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
17 - Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola)
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)
23 - Larry Tuileta Jr. (L, 6-2, Honolulu, Hawaii, Hawaii)
24 - Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Fla., Stanford)
25 - Kyle Russell (OH, 6-9, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine)
26 - Michael Saeta (S, 6-5, Pasadena, Calif., UC Irvine)