USA men fall to Russia in VNL as starters get a rest

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Russia's Dmitry Volkov hits into the USA triple block of Kawika Shoji, left, Jeff Jendryk and Aaron Russell/FIVB photo

The USA men had already clinched a semifinal berth in the Volleyball Nations League Final Six, so coach John Speraw took the opportunity in Lille, France, on Friday to rest his starters and the result was a 25-22, 25-21, 25-21 sweep by Russia.

Regardless, the USA will play France — which swept Serbia on Friday — at 8 a.m. Eastern Saturday in one semifinal, while Russia faces Brazil in the other at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. Both matches can be seen on FloVolleyball.tv.

Russia was led by Maxim Mikhaylov, who had 16 kills, a block and an ace. The USA got 14 kills from Aaron Russell and 10 more from Kyle Ensing, who added an ace. Jeff Jendryk had eight kills, a block an an ace.

“We have a schedule in the finals where we have to play four matches in a row, so if you’re fortunate enough to move on to the semis before you play your second match, then you have to make sure that you’re managing rest and recovery for your players,” Speraw said.

“It wasn’t a hard decision to put the guys that didn’t play for the first match on the court tonight.”

Click here for the complete FIVB schedule.

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