Two rounds down, a 7-1 USA start, and another round begins Tuesday.

The previously unbeaten USA men finished their first leg of Volleyball Nations League on Sunday with a 3-1 loss to Brazil in Ottawa, Canada. They are now off until June 20 when they play Serbia in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Another USA men’s team took the silver medal in the NORCECA U21 Pan Am Cup. Details follow.

The USA women (4-0) have had a week off and they open their second VNL round Tuesday in Brasilia, Brazil, when they play Croatia. They’ll also play Thailand, Japan and Brazil on this leg. 

The men opened the first round with a sweep of the Netherlands, swept Italy and then did the same to Canada. 

But Sunday, Brazil came away with 25-19, 21-25, 25-15, 25-21 victory.

It left the Americans atop a five-way tie for second at 3-1 in a group that includes — listed in order of points ratio — Argentina, Slovenia, Brazil, and Poland. 

The USA’s Cody Kessel hits past the Brazil block/Volleyball World photo

Against the USA, Brazil had three players dominate on offense. Ricardo Lucarelli had 14 kills, four blocks and an ace, Alan de Souza had 15 kills, a block and an ace, and VNL first-timer Judson Nunes had 12 kills and a block. Thales Hoss had 13 digs.

No USA player reached double figures in kills. Cody Kessel had nine and two blocks. Jake Hanes had eight kills and three aces. TJ DeFalco had seven kills and his team’s only other ace. Aaron Russell had seven kills, Taylor Averill had six and Max Holt five. Setter Micah Ma’a had three kills, a block and a team-high six digs.

The USA put up strong numbers in its first four matches, hitting 52 percent while averaging 1.92 aces per set and two blocks per set.

Also Sunday in Ottawa, Pablo Koukartsev had 24 kills and an ace as Argentina got past the Netherlands in five and Germany beat Canada in four. 

In earlier matches in Nagoya, Japan, Slovenia swept Iran, Serbia did the same to Poland, and Japan came up with a big victory when it beat France in four.

Brazil opened play in Ottawa with a 3-1 win over Germany, beat Argentina in five, but then lost lost in five to Cuba.

“We wanted to win very badly today,” Lucarelli said. “We always want to win and to improve our level of play and we can only do that by playing. Every day this week, we came here determined to do better than we did the day before. 

“The Americans are very disciplined and it’s always very hard to play against them. I think we had a very solid match, especially with our side out, and that gave us the stability we needed. We didn’t get a lot of time to practice together before coming here to Ottawa and I think we got a lot of confidence with the results we achieved here and also the progress we made in terms of getting to know each other on and off the court. There’s still a lot more to improve, but it was a very good first step.”

USA GETS PAN AM SILVER: Cuba, beating the USA in five for the second time in the tournament, won the NORCECA U21 Pan American Cup championship match in Havana 21-25, 21-25, 30-28, 25-15, 15-11.

The USA roster included NCAA players Trent Moser of BYU — who led with 18 kills and three blocks in the title match — Shane Wetzel of Ohio State and Alex Rottman of Stanford. The team was coached by Long Beach State assistant Andy Read.

Click here for the USA Volleyball recap.

Check out VNL match times and TV listingsAll VNL matches can be watched on VB.TV.  Use the promo code VOLLEYBALLMAG for a discount on monthly or annual subscriptions. 


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