USA men open Chicago VNL play with 4-set win over France

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France's Thibault Rossard hits into the USA triple blocks of Ben Patch, left, Max Holt, and Aaron Russell/FIVB photo

Middle blocker Max Holt had 17 points on eight blocks, seven kills and two aces as the USA men’s national team beat France 25-16, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21 in Volleyball Nations League play in Chicago on Wednesday.

On Thursday in Chicago, Iran faces Poland and Russia plays France. The USA resumes play at 9 p.m. Eastern Friday against Russia.

Aaron Russell added 13 kills, two blocks and an ace and American teammate Taylor Sander had 12 kills and an ace. David Smith had five kills, four blocks and an ace and Matt Anderson had five kills and two aces.

The USA, which hadn’t played since June 30, improved to 10-6 in the VNL as coach John Speraw continued to adjust his roster and lineup.

“It wasn’t a very pretty match on either side,” Speraw said. “We just put this team together on Monday for the first time this summer. There’s definitely part of that where it wasn’t sharp. You could see that with some of the connections, like Micah Christenson and Matt Anderson.”

Earlier in Chicago Wednesday, Poland beat Brazil 25-23, 23-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-9 behind 18 points by Bartosz Bednorz.

“Amazing performance by my players,” Poland coach Vital Heynen said.

 

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