The USA men could not have had a better start to the Volleyball Nations League.
Thursday, the Americans were extremely efficient and improved to 2-0 as they swept the Netherlands 25-12, 25-18, 25-16 in Brasilia, Brazil.
“We’re pleased to be 2-0 and starting off this tournament playing as well as we’ve played,” said USA coach John Speraw, whose team opened the VNL with a sweep of Slovenia on Tuesday.
“I think both matches have been won with pretty strong passing and good blocking early on that set the defensive tone.”
The USA men are back in action Friday when they play Japan. Also in Brazil the Netherlands plays Iran and Australia plays Slovenia. In Ottawa, Serbia plays Argentina, Bulgaria plays Germany and France plays Canada. All the matches can be seen on vb.tv.
Also in Brazil on Thursday, Japan beat China in four sets and Brazil did the same to Slovenia.
In the three men’s VNL matches in Ottawa, Canada, all went four sets as Argentina beat Germany, France beat Serbia and Italy beat Poland.
Aaron Russell and Kyle Ensing had 11 kills each against the Dutch. Russell added a block, two aces and three digs, while Ensing had two blocks, an ace and six digs.
Thomas Jaeschke had seven kills, a block, an ace and five digs. Jeff Jendryk had three kills, a block, an ace and four digs. David Smith had three kills, a dig and two blocks and Jake Hanes had three kills.
Josh Tuaniga had 17 assists, three digs and two kills. Kyle Dagostino had nine digs. The USA hit .456, while the Dutch hit .183.
“Josh has done a great job as our primary setter for the first time in his career,” Speraw said, “and Ensing has also been very impressive.”
Ensing had 12 kills, two aces and two digs against Slovenia.
“His attacking has been outstanding.”
Speraw praised the leadership of veterans Smith and Jaeschke and the play of Dagostino.
“For us to be 2-0 is very exciting for all of us, but now it’s on to Japan, which we know will be a tough match,” Speraw said. “Hopefully we will continue to serve and pass as well as we have.”
Thijs Ter Horst led the Netherlands with nine kills and Stijn van Tilburg, who played at Hawai’i, had six. The Dutch had no aces.