Team USA Makes Big Lineup Changes for Sunday at VNL

  0 Braden Keith | May 27th, 2018 | International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, U.S. Men's National Team


  • May 25-27, 2018
  • Beilun Gymnasium; Ningbo, China
  • Time Zone: UTC +  (US Eastern Time +12)
  • World Rankings: #2 United States, #7 Argentina, #14 Bulgaria, #20 China
  • Preview
  • Schedule/Results

The United States made sweeping changes for their 3rd match of the 2018 Volleyball Nations League against China, and for the third-straight match were stingy with their rotation: each of the 3 matches saw only 9 players see court time, with the starters responsible for all by 2 attacks throughout the entire weekend.

The big changes for Sunday’s week 1 finale were that Taylor Averill got the start at middle blocker over Jeff Jendryk (who had started the previous two matches) and David Smith who started the first. Long Beach State junior TJ DeFalco also got the start, recording 9 kills and 4 blocks on 16 attacks. That relegated Olympian Thomas Jaechke to the bench.

The early starting patterns for U.S. head coach John Speraw mirrors that which we saw in last year’s World League – players who were offensive focal points in one match wouldn’t get off the bench in the next. Last year, though, Speraw was more willing early on to use his bench. For example, last year, at least 8 players (not including the libero) started at least one match in the United States’ 3-1 semi-final loss to Brazil, while an additional 2, plus the libero, saw court time. That makes 11 out of 14 players participating in the match. Most of the team’s pool play matches also swam 10 or 11 participants, and at that more than the token appearances for 1 or 2 serves that came this week in Ningbo – even in the preliminary stages of last year’s World League.

Each player that started each game this weekend also started in every set of that match, which is rare at the international level.

In total, substitutes (excluding libero) played maybe 25 points across the 3 matches. A breakdown of the Americans’ lineups across the 3 weeks of play is below.

Game 1 – Argentina Game 2 – Bulgaria Game 3 – China
Score 3-2 win 3-1 win 3-0 win
S K. Shoji – 3pts K. Shoji – 4 pts K. Shoji – 1 pts
OH Sander – 19 pts Sander – 18 pts Sander – 17 pts
OH Jaechke – 10 pts Jaechke – 14 pts Defalco – 13 pts
MB Smith – 10 pts/3 blocks Holt – 9 pts/0 blocks – 8 pts/2 blocks
MB Jendryk – 7 pts/4 blocks Jendryk – 8 pts/4 blocks Averill – 8 pts/2 blocks
OPP Patch – 23 pts Patch – 10 pts Patch – 14 pts
L E. Shoji E. Shoji E. Shoji
Sub Defalco (1 serve att, 0 points) Averill (1 serve att, 0 points) Smith (2 serve att, 0 points)
Sub Seif (0 points) Seif (2 attacks, 0 points) Seif (0 points)

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Braden's first foray into sports journalism came in 2010, when he launched a swimming website called The Swimmers' Circle. Two years later, he joined as a co-founder. Long huge fans of volleyball, when Braden and the SwimSwam partners sought an opportunity to …

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