International Volleyball

29 kills for Hanes as USA men get first Volleyball Nations League victory

29 kills for Hanes as USA men get first Volleyball Nations League victory

Jake Hanes watches, we presume, Arslan Eksi of Türkiye/Volleyball World photo

Jake Hanes went off for 29 kills as the USA men salvaged their four-match trip to Antalya, Türkiye, for the first round of Volleyball Nations League with a four-set victory Sunday over the home team. 

After the women play this week, the American men are back in action June 4 for four matches in Ottawa, Canada. And you can expect to see the Olympic roster on the court after all 12 of those players and the alternate stayed home in Anaheim this past week to practice.

The women, in turn, are in Arlington, Texas, for their second round of VNL. We’ll have more on them Tuesday and who coach Karch Kiraly has selected for the 14-player roster for matches against Canada, Bulgaria, Poland and Türkiye.

Only two teams made it through the first round of the men’s VNL 4-0, Italy and Slovenia. Four more teams finished 3-1, Cuba, France, Poland and Japan.

The USA went 1-3 after getting swept by Poland and France before losing to Bulgaria.

Against Türkiye, Hanes, the 6-foot-10 opposite from Orland Park, Illinois, who played at Ohio State, got his 29 kills in 45 attacks with just two errors. He also had two aces.

Patrick Gasman had nine kills and hit .500 to go with an ace and three solo blocks. The rest of the team combined for 12 kills, four by Ethan Champlin, who recently won the NCAA title with UCLA. He also had two aces and seven digs. Kyle Dagostino had nine digs.

The team, coached by Andy Read as USA head coach John Speraw stayed behind, lost to Bulgaria on Saturday. Hanes led with 20 kills, adding an ace and three solo blocks. 

He finished the first round with 52 kills, hitting .410, and had three aces and four solo blocks. Hanes, who left Ohio State in 2020 before his senior season, has played for three pro teams, Arago de Sete in France, TS BBTS Bielsko-Biała in Poland and, for the past two years, KGHM Cuprum Lubin in Poland.

Jordan Ewert (we featured him and his volleyball family last year)  totaled 39 kills, two aces and two solo blocks for the first round.  Matthew Knigge (featured here last week) had five kills and finished with 20 in his VNL debut to go with six aces and three solo blocks. Gabi Garcia, The Puerto Rican who switched federations two years ago and was making his USA VNL debut, had 16 kills, two aces and two solo blocks.

This is the USA Olympic roster and the team we would expect to see, plus one more player, when the team goes to Ottawa:

USA men’s volleyball…

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