The USA men were off Wednesday after their Volleyball Nations League-opening sweep of Slovenia. They play again Thursday in Brasila, Brazil, against the Netherlands.

In action Wednesday in Ottawa, Canada, Poland swept Argentina and Olympic-champion France did the same to Italy. In Brazil, Japan topped the Netherlands in four and then Brazil swept Australia.

The USA, in action for the first time since the Olympics and after a short training period, swept Slovenia 25-19, 25-19, 25-14.

“For the first match, we served and passed and played as good in-system volleyball as we possible could, considering the amount of training time,” USA coach John Speraw said. “Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke, in particular, and Dave Smith have not had a lot of time since they returned from Europe and all those guys played really well.”

Russell had eight kills, four blocks, six digs and two aces. Jaeschke had six kills, a block and two aces and Smith had three kills, an assist and five blocks. 

Josh Tuaniga had 29 assists.

“It was good to see Josh out there playing and being the setter in charge and I thought he did a great job,” Speraw said.

eff Jendryk looks on as Josh Tuaniga sets against Slovenia/Volleyball World photo

Kyle Ensing led with 12 kills, two aces and two digs.

“Kyle Ensing had a great volleyball match,” Speraw said.

James Shaw had a kill, two assists and the block that ended the match. Kyle Dagostino had five digs and three assists.

“Early on in set one we set the tone by blocking and with D. We stuffed a bunch of balls that probably really affected the initial performance of Slovenia and carried through the rest of the match,” Speraw said. “So a really good start.

Speraw noted that in this tournament there’s only one time out per set.

“And that becomes real strategic and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more significant serving runs occurring throughout this tournament. I think it will be a little bit of a sprint to see who has to call the first timeout and we did a good job of that against Slovenia.”

In Ottawa on Thursday, Germany plays Argentina, Serbia plays France and Poland plays Italy.

Also in Brasilia, Japan plays China and Brazil plays Slovenia.

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John Speraw and the USA men after beating Slovenia/Volleyball World photo

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