The USA men were stunned by Iran in Bulgaria on Thursday, getting swept as they took their first loss in Volleyball Nations League. 

The Americans have Friday off after their 25-18, 29-27, 27-25 defeat that left them 5-1 in VNL play. They are back at it Saturday against Bulgaria.

“Six matches in, this is the first time we’ve seen a sense of fatigue,” USA coach John Speraw told USA Volleyball. 

“We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be offensively or defensively. We look forward to getting a day off tomorrow and being better against Bulgaria.”

TJ DeFalco led with 13 kills, Kyle Ensing had 11 and Jeff Jendryk had five kills and two blocks. Kyle Dagostino and Thomas Jaeschke had three digs each.

Jeff Jendryk and TJ DeFalco can only watch as the ball hits the tape against Iran/Volleyball World photo

Iran’s Amin Esmaeilnezhad had 19 kills.

After playing Bulgaria, the USA wraps up the second leg of VNL against Poland before taking a break.

Also Thursday Poland swept China and Brazil did the same to Serbia. 

There was some controversy in Quezon City, Philippines, where Slovenia beat Argentina in four.

China was awarded a sweep of Germany after the Germans refused to play. Germany wanted the China team, many of which had tested positive for COVID, to be tested again.

From The Associated Press:

The German volleyball federation said 21 members of the Chinese delegation had tested positive on Saturday. It requested follow-up PCR tests on the Chinese players before agreeing to play but organizers deferred to local health regulations, the federation said.

On Wednesday, China forfeited its game against France because of the virus cases.

China is scheduled to play Argentina on Friday as games continue in the Philippines through Sunday.

The VNL statement: 

The Volleyball Nations League (VNL) men’s match between China and Germany on 23 June has been cancelled after Germany refused to play against China even though the Chinese athletes were cleared to leave isolation by local authorities after testing positive for COVID-19.

The FIVB and Volleyball World have therefore confirmed that, in accordance with the VNL 2022 Competition Regulations, Germany automatically forfeits the match, giving China a 3-0 win.

The FIVB and Volleyball World apologise to the athletes, officials, spectators and fans around the world for any inconvenience caused by the cancellation.

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