TJ DeFalco hits against the France triple block in their last meeting, July 9 in Anaheim/Volleyball World photo

The women’s tournament is in the rear-view mirror.

Now the men play the last rounds of Volleyball Nations League.

Action begins Wednesday in Gdansk, Poland, when the USA plays France at 11 a.m. Eastern, followed by Italy vs. Argentina at 2 p.m.

Thursday, Japan plays Slovenia at 11 and then Poland plays Brazil at 2.

The semifinals are Saturday and the medal matches Sunday.

The USA, which got the No. 1 seed and tied with Japan atop the standings at 10-2, continued to put forth a 14-player roster of what is basically the veteran A Team:

Setters — Micah Christenson, Micah Ma’a
Outside hitters — TJ DeFalco, Thomas Jaeschke, Garrett Muagututia, Aaron Russell
Middle blockers — Taylor Averill, Max Holt, Jeff Jendryk, David Smith
Opposites — Matt Anderson, Jake Hanes
Liberos — Kyle Dagostino, Erik Shoji

The USA swept eighth-seeded France (6-6), the defending Tokyo Olympics and 2022 VNL champion, on July 9 in Anaheim in the third round. In that 25-23, 27-25, 27-25 hard-fought victory, the Americans were coming off a long, hard five-set loss the night before to Argentina. Aaron Russell led a balanced attack with 11 kills, two blocks and an ace. France superstar Earvin Ngapeth did not play in that match.

Against France, DeFalco had nine kills and two blocks, while Taylor had seven kills, a block and an ace. Anderson had seven kills, four digs and an ace and Holt had four kills an ace. 

Each team had eight blocks and France had more kills, 41-38. The USA hit .316.

As USA Volleyball noted, DeFalco was the team’s leading scorer through the preliminary rounds and finished with 135 points on 112 kills, eight blocks and 15 aces. Anderson scored 112 points on 90 kills, eight blocks and 14 aces.

Fifth-seeded Argentina (9-3) swept fourth-seeded Italy (9-3) in the first match of VNL, a 25-22, 25-23, 25-18 outcome in which Bruno Lima had 17 kills.

Second-seeded Japan (10-2) and seventh-seeded Slovenia (8-4) did not play in this VNL.

Third-seeded Poland (10-2) beat sixth-seeded Brazil (8-4) in four on July 7 in Pasay City, Philippines. Wilfredo Leon had 20 kills, a block and an ace in the 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 25-21 victory.

USA vs France
The USA’s Aaron Russell attacks against France in their July 9 matchup/Volleyball World photo


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