International Volleyball

USA Volleyball announces veteran-laded 12-player Olympic roster

USA Volleyball announces veteran-laded 12-player Olympic roster

Max Holt tries to block Jeff Jendryk during practice this past Thursday in Anaheim/Andy J. Gordon photo

There were no surprises Friday when coach John Speraw and USA Volleyball announced their 12-player roster for the Paris Olympics.

The team consists of nine players who are Olympics veterans and three who will play in their first games. But each of them โ€” middle blockers ย Taylor Averillย andย Jeff Jendryk and setterย Micah Maโ€™a โ€” are all seasoned pros who have been mainstays with the USA on some level.

Oppositeย Matt Anderson and middleย David Smith will compete in their fourth Olympics. They started in London in 2012, won bronze in Rio in 2016, and were on the team in Tokyo three years ago that did not advance to the quarterfinals.

Four players are in their third Games, setter Micah Christenson, middle Max Holt, outside hitterย Thomas Jaeschkeย and liberoย Erik Shoji.

This will be the second Olympics for outsides TJ DeFalco, Aaron Russell and Garrett Muagututia. Russell plays in Rio but not Tokyo.

This year teams can also bring a designated official alternate and that will be opposite Kyle Ensing. Ensing made the 12-player roster in Tokyo.

The other two players who were on the Tokyo team were Taylor Sander, who went to beach volleyball, and setter Kawika Shoji, who retired.

The USA, currently ranked No. 2 in the world, has competed in 12 Olympics, including the last 10, and has won three gold medals (1984, 1988, 2008) and two bronze (1992, 2016).

USA Volleyball, which compiled the following roster, reported that the Olympics schedule and pools will be set after the upcoming Volleyball Nations League ends on June 30.

Speraw told us the 14-player USA first-leg VNL roster will be announced next week. This is Sperawโ€™s fifth Olympics. He was an assistant in 2008 and 2012 before taking over as head coach for the 2015 quadrennial.

The USA men open VNL play in Antalya, Tรผrkiye, on May 22, when they play Poland, followed by France, Bulgaria and the home team.

The second round is in Ottawa, Canada. The USA men play Argentina on June 4, followed by matches against Italy, Serbia and Canada.

The third leg is in Manila, Philippines, where the USA plays Iran on June 19, and then Brazil, Germany and Japan.ย 

The finals are in Lodz, Poland, June 27-30.

The team will return to Anaheim after that, but head back to Poland for a training session before heading to Paris.

USA menโ€™s volleyball Olympic roster

No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)

1. Matt Anderson (OPP,…

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