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USA men crush Tunisia, biggest challenges ahead in qualifying tourney

The USA puts up a triple block, from left, of Micah Christenson, Jeff Jendryck and Thomas Jaeschke against Tunisia’s Mohamed Ben Youssef/Volleyball World

The USA men improved to 4-0 in the Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifier with a 25-11, 25-12, 25-14 rout of winless Tunisia on Wednesday in Tokyo.

The Americans get Thursday off and then it’s on in their quest to clinch a berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics: They play, in order in three days, Slovenia (also 4-0) on Friday, Serbia (3-1) on Saturday and host Japan (3-1) on Sunday.

A victory over Slovenia will put the USA in a commanding position, since the top teams in each pool get bids. Also Friday, Japan plays Serbia, which will all but eliminate the loser, and Saturday, Japan plays Slovenia.

Garrett Muagututia gets the dig against Tunisia/Volleyball World photo

Against 0-4 Tunisia, the USA had massive advantages in kills (40-22), blocks (13-3) and aces (6-0). Kyle Ensing led with nine kills and four blocks; Thomas Jaeschke had eight kills, a block and an ace; Averill Taylor had five kills, two blocks and two aces; Jeff Jendryk had five kills and three blocks; and Garrett Muagututia had five kills, 11 digs, a block and an ace. Mica Ma’a had two kills and a block and the other setter, Micah Christenton had two aces.

Also Wedneday, Japan swept Turkiye.

In Pool A in Rio, Italy and Germany are on top at 3-0 with Cuba and Brazil at 2-1. In Pool C in China, Poland leads at 4-0, followed by Argentina (3-1), Belgium (2-2) and Canada (2-1). Canada was playing China as we posted this.

All matches can be seen on Volleyball World TV. Use “VOLLEYBALLMAG” for a discount.