The USA men’s roster for Volleyball Nations League is set and includes eight players from the team that competed in last summer’s Tokyo Olympics and quite a few who are coming off their recent NCAA seasons.

The 25-player USA roster includes four setters, starting wih returning Olympian and USC product Micah Christenson. Former Stanford star James Shaw returns to the national team and is joined by Josh Tuaniga, who played at Long Beach State and was an Olympic alternate last summer, and Quinn Isaacson, who just completed his season at Ball State.

Most interesting is the outside hitter group that includes a handful of players fresh off their college seasons, including Penn State’s Brett Wildman, Stanford’s Will Rottman, Ohio State’s Jacob Pasteur and Long Beach State’s Spencer Olivier. 

TJ DeFalco
TJ DeFalco dives for a ball during the Tokyo Olympics/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

There are three returning Olympians in the group, TJ DeFalco (Long Beach), Thomas Jaeschke (Loyola) and Garrett Muagututia (UCLA). Olympic alternate Aaron Russell (Penn State) and international veteran and fomer Princeton standout Cody Kessell are also on the roster. 

The group of middles also includes recent NCAA players in UCLA’s Merrick McHenry and Tyler Mitchem of Lewis, but also returning 2021 Olympians Mitch Stahl (UCLA) and David Smith (UC Irvine). The middles also have Jeff Jendryk (Loyola), who was an alternate last summer, and recent Hawai’i standout Patrick Gasman.

The liberos are returning USA veteran Erik Shoji, who played at Stanford, and newcomers Mason Briggs, who just finished his season at Long Beach, and Kyle Dagostino (Stanford). 

The opposites consist of returning Olympian Kyle Ensing, who played at Long Beach; Jake Hanes, the former Ohio State player who has been with the national team for two years; and Kyle Russell, who played at UC Irvine and was an alternate last summer.

The head coach is John Speraw, who confirmed the list that was posted by Volleyball World, which runs VNL.

“There is good young talent on this roster, especially at outside hitter, that we are excited to evaluate early in VNL,” Speraw said to USA Volleyball. “This is an opportunity for them to show if they can help us win VNL matches and if they can make a World Championship roster down the summer.”

The tournament begins in Brasilia, Brazil, for the Americans on June 8 when they play Slovenia in the first round. Also in Brazil they’ll play the Netherlands, Japan and Brazil before moving on to Bulgaria for matches with Serbia, Iran, Bulgaria and Poland. The next leg is in Japan where the USA plays France, Canada and Argentina with an eye on advancing to the final phase in Bologna, Italy, starting July 20.

The USA women’s VNL roster was announced earlier this week.

The team, list courtesy of USA Volleyball:

No. — Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2 — Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3 — James Shaw (S, 6-8, Woodside, Calif. Stanford)
4 — Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Chicago)
5 — Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach St.)
6 — Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA)
7 — Jacob Pasteur (OH, 6-4, Westminster, Md., Ohio St.)
8 — T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach St.)
9 — Jake Hanes (OPP, 6-10, Orland Park, Ill., Ohio St.)
10 — Kyle Dagostino (L, 5-9, Tampa, Florida, Stanford)
11 — Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, USC)
13 — Patrick Gasman (MB, 6-10, Clovis, Calif., Hawaii)
14 — Quinn Isaacson (S, 6-2, Plainfield, Ill., Ball St.)
15 — Kyle Russell (OPP, 6-9, Loomis, Calif., UC Irvine)
16 — Josh Tuaniga (S, 6-3, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach St.)
17 — Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola  Chicago)
18 — Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
20 — David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif.,  of California Irvine)
21 — Mason Briggs (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach St.)
22 — Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanfordi)
23 — Cody Kessel (OH, 6-5, Colorado Springs, Colo., Princeton)
24 — Brett Wildman (OH, 6-5, Virginia Beach, Va., Penn St.)
25 — Will Rottman (OH, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., Stanford)
26 — Merrick McHenry (MB, 6-7, Bedford, Texas, UCLA)
27 — Tyler Mitchem (MB, 6-11, Bolingbrook, Ill., Lewis)
31 – Spencer Olivier (OH, 6-6, Tustin, Calif., Long Beach St.)
Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matthew Fuerbringer, Mike Wall
Performance Analyst and Team Manager: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Consultant Coach: Mike Sealy
Sports Psychologist: Andrea Becker
Sports Psychologist: Bernard Whitney
Team Doctor: James Suchy
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