USA men travel to France for Volleyball Nations League trip


The U.S. men's national volleyball team is in Cannes, France for the third weekend of FIVB Volleyball Nations League action beginning Friday. The U.S. (2-4) will play Argentina (2-4), Germany (2-4) and France (5-1).

The team made two roster changes for Cannes, bringing middle blocker Taylor Averill, a San Jose resident, in for Jeff Jendryk and adding libero Larry Tuileta for Stanford senior Kyle Dagostino.

U.S. coach John Speraw says getting a chance to see younger players in action and giving veterans a rest without worrying about qualifying for the VNL Finals is a good thing.

"Our record isn't where we want it, but it's been a very productive two weeks," Speraw said after the team went 1-2 last weekend. "Looking forward to Cannes and continuing to improve and grow as a team."

The U.S. hosts the finals on July 10-14 in Chicago.

Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco and opposite Ben Patch lead the U.S. in scoring with 57 points each. Patch is third among all VNL attackers with a 55.21 success percentage.

Middle blocker Mitch Stahl is sixth among all blockers with an average of .52 per set. DeFalco is 10th in aces with an average of .3 per set.

Stanford products Erik Shoji and Kawika Shoji are also on the travel roster.

Women's volleyball

Stanford junior Kathryn Plummer and the U.S. women's Pan American Cup Training Team will host Canada in a pair of friendly exhibition matches this weekend as both teams prepare for the upcoming Pan American Cup.

The opening exhibition match is scheduled for Friday at Tustin High School. The series concludes on Saturday at Murrieta Mesa High. Both matches are scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Pan American Cup will take place July 4-15 in Lima, Peru. Team USA has won the annual event the past two years.

The U.S. women's national team stunned host China with a convincing 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 victory on Thursday to conclude its fourth week of FIVB Volleyball Nations League preliminary round action in Jiangmen, China.

The Americans, ranked third in the world, are 9-3 overall with 27 points in the VNL, while second-ranked China falls to 9-3 with 26 points.

The U.S. plays its fifth and final preliminary round week in Ekaterinburg, Russia, where it will challenge host Russia on June 18, Netherlands on June 19 and Thailand on June 20.

The top five teams, plus China, advance to the VNL finals.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA Volleyball

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