The USA’s Thomas Jaeschke hits against Argentina as Max Holt decoys/Andy J. Gordon photo

The USA men, coming off a tough, five-set loss to Argentina on Friday — which included losing the fourth set 43-41 — resume Volleyball Nations League play in Anaheim on Saturday against France.

France beat Serbia 3-1 on Friday.

There was a surprise Saturday in the Philippines when previously unbeaten Japan lost in four to Italy.

With Saturday three matches set for Anaheim, including Bulgaria vs. Serbia and Argentina vs. Iran, here’s a look at the top of the standings.

Japan still leads at 10-1 and two other teams have two losses, Poland at 9-2 and the USA at 8-2. Italy is 9-3, Argentina is 8-3 and Brazil is 8-4, just ahead of 7-4 Slovenia.

All teams play 12 total matches, four in three rounds each, and the top eight move on to the quarterfinals July 19-20 in Gdansk, Poland.

Argentina tops USA

The Americans led 21-18 in the fourth set and had match point six times, but Argentina ralled for a 25-18, 23-25, 23-25, 43-41, 15-12 victory. 

“It’s certainly disappointing to have some of those swings and not finish it off,” USA coach John Speraw told USA Volleyball. “We’ll have to go back and figure out what we can learn from it.”

TJ DeFalco led the USA with 22 kills, a block, two aces and eight digs.

Matt Anderson had 17 kills, two aces and seven digs.

Thomas Jaeschke had 15 kills, a block and two aces to go with 10 digs. Setter Micah Christenson also had 10 digs to go with a kill. Max Holt had 11 kills and two blocks and David Smith, who subbed for Jaeschke, had five kills and three blocks.

“I was looking for a little more offense,” Speraw said. “I was looking for a little more of a serve and for a little more experience against a team that has a pretty unique offense and has a pretty unique setter.

“I think David did that. He stuffed a bunch of really nice out-of-system balls. He killed some really nice balls. Unfortunately, he had some errors I am sure he wishes he could get back.”

The Americans held a 13-7 blocks advantage and six aces to Argentina’s four.

Argentina had six players with nine or more kills. Bruno Lima had 13 and three players had 12 each, Pablo Koukartsev, Nicolas Zerba and Luiciana Palonsky. 

In the Philippines

The big result was Italy’s 29-27, 28-26, 23-25, 25-20 victory over Japan. Italy, which out-blocked Japan 13-4, got 16 kills, three blocks and three digs from Yuri Romano. Daniele Lavia added 15 kills, two blocks and an ace, and Alessandro Michieletto had 12 kills, a block and an ace. Gianluca Galassi had six kills and five blocks. Japan’s Yuki Ishikawa had 17 kills, three blocks and an ace. Yuji Nishida had 16 kills, a block and three aces, and Tatsunori Otsuka had 15 kills.

Earlier in Pasay City, Poland got a sweep over Canada, which dropped to 2-9 and is tied for last with Cuba and China, a game in the loss column behind 2-8 Iran and Bulgaria. Poland had six players with four or more kills in the 25-21, 25-23, 27-25 victory. Canada’s Samuel Cooper had 15 kills, a block and three aces, and Arthur Szwarc had 14 kills and two blocks.

Also, Brazil swept China.

In Anaheim

France (5-5) defeated Serbia (5-6) 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 28-26 behind 16 kills and two blocks from Jean Patry and 17 kills by Trevor Clevenot. 

“I think the team started to play better in the second set and am really happy because this victory is important for us,” France’s Daryl Bultor said. “Serbia were direct opponents for us and now we caught them. We still have two matches and will need to win to advance. We’ll keep playing together and enjoying it and we’ll see where it takes us.”

Germany (3-8) scored a sweep of Cuba (2-9) to stay ahead of the last-place pack.

Argentina Nicolas Zerba hits against the USA/Andy J. Gordon photo


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