France had no answer.

The USA men crushed their Pool B opponents 25-18, 25-18, 25-22 to open indoor volleyball play Saturday at the Tokyo Olympics.

The only other American volleyball team in action Saturday, Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena, were swept by the defending men’s beach volleyball Olympic bronze-medalists.


The Americans overpowered France from the get-go, taking a 5-0 lead in the first and basically never looked back.

Micah Christenson, who had 43 sets, masterfully ran an offense that saw Matt Anderson get 13 kills and hit .650, while Taylor Sander had 12 kills and hit .562 to go with two blocks and the team’s only ace. TJ DeFalco had nine kills, Max Holt eight, and David Smith seven.

DeFalco, Holt, and Smith had a block apiece. Erik Shoji had six digs and Sander, DeFalco, and Christenson had five each.

Seven players for France had kills, eight by Earvin Ngapeth and seven by Jean Party.

The USA women open play on Sunday in Ariake Arena. The USA plays the second match of the day, a Pool B contest against Argentina. Also in Pool B, ROC opens against Italy and later China plays Turkey.

In women’s Pool A, Serbia plays the Dominican Republic, Japan plays Kenya, and Brazil plays Korea.

Click here for the complete Sunday volleyball schedule.

The American men are off Sunday and on Monday play the Russian team, ROC, which beat Argentina in four.

There were five other men’s volleyball matches Saturday and none were as exciting as the opener when top-seeded Italy rallied from 0-2 to beat Canada 26-28, 18-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-11 in a match that took 2 hours, 17 minutes.

Osmany Juantorena led Italy with 20 kills as he hit .368. Alessando Michielletto had 18 kills while hitting .593 and he had three blocks, Gianluca Galassi had five kills and four blocks. Nicolas Hoag led Canada with 17 kills and John Gordon Perrin had 15.

Also in Pool A, Japan swept Venezuela and then Iran beat Poland 25-18, 22-25, 22-25, 25-22, 23-21 with a fifth set that was exciting as the score would indicate. Amir Ghafour led Iran with 17 kills, Meisam Salehi had 15, and Milad Ebadipour Ghara had 13. Wilfredo Leon Venero had 20 kills for Poland.

In the other two Pool B matches, Brazil swept Tunisia and ROC (Russia) beat Argentina in four.

Click here for the complete list of Saturday men’s volleyball results.


Dalhausser, who won the Olympic gold in 2008 with Todd Rogers, and Lucena, were swept 21-17, 21-18 by ninth-seeded Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of the Netherlands. They won bronze in Rio in 2016.

Dalhausser and Lucena, seeded No. 16, are off until Tuesday when they play Alison Cerutti and Alvaro Filho of Brazil, the No. 4 seed who swept Argentina’s Julian Azaad and Nicolas Capogrosso on Saturday.

There were nine other beach volleyball matches Saturday at Shiokaze Park with no upsets but one worth getting upset about. 

The first match never occured because Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, so she and partner Barbara Hermannova, lost by forfeit to sixth-seeded Japan’s Miki Ishii and Megumi Murakami.

The top-seeded women, Canadians Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes, swept Katja Stam and Raisa Schoon of the Netherlands. The 18th-seeded German team of Margareta Kozuch and Laura Ludwig, who won gold in Rio in 2016 with Kira Walkenhorst, lost in three to Tanja Huberli and Nina Betschart of Switzerland, the No. 7 seed.

In the last match of the day, top-seeded Anders Mol and Christian Sorum of Norway had to go three to beat 24th-seeded Australians Christopher McHugh and Damien Schumann 21-18, 18-21, 15-13.

Click here for all of Saturday’s beach volleyball results.

Switzerland’s Anouk Verge-Depre is blocked by Germany’s Julia Sude. Verge-Depre and Joanna Heidrich won in three./FIVB photo

Sunday’s 10-match beach volleyball schedule opens with April Ross and Alix Klineman, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, playing Chen Xue and Wang Xinxin in Pool B. 

In the last match of the day, in men’s Pool  C, ninth-seeded Americans Jake Gibb and Tri Bourne play Italy’s Adrian Ignacio Carambula and Enrico Rossi. 

Click here for Sunday’s complete beach schedule.

Americans Kelly Claes and Sarah Sponcil don’t play until Monday.


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Argentina’s Ezequiel Palacios hits into the ROC block/FIVB photo

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