United States fell to Bulgaria

May 25, 2024. – The U.S. Men’s National Team fell to Bulgaria 3-1 (25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21) in Volleyball Nations League preliminary play on Friday in Antalya, Türkiye.

The U.S. Men (0-3) will play the host country Türkiye (0-3) on Sunday at 7 a.m. PT.

Volleyball Nations League 2024: schedule and results

With the loss, the Americans gave up their second position in FIVB World Ranking to Italy and dropped to number three.

The squad showed improvement, taking one set from Bulgaria. Opposite Jake Hanes provided the spark that allowed the U.S. to get its first set win of the 2024 VNL. Hanes led all scorers with 24 points on 20 kills, three blocks and one ace.

The U.S. Men will look to build on that as they prepare for their final match of week one.

“We got to hold it down later in the sets,” setter Josh Tuaniga told Volleyball World. “Right now, we’re playing really well in the beginning and toward the end, that’s where we start to let go of some opportunities. So, I think that comes with experience and some chemistry. We’re a new group, we just started playing together not too long ago. Hopefully going into the next match, we can speed that process up and really handle those late points.”

Outside hitter Jordan Ewert scored 13 points on 11 kills and two blocks. Middle blocker Matthew Knigge added 11 points on eight kills and three aces.

Middle blocker Patrick Gasman had six points on five kills and one block. Outside hitter Ethan Champlin, who started the second set and on, also had six points on five kills and one ace.

Setter Quinn Isaacson started the third and fourth sets for Tuaniga and had two kills.

Libero Kyle Dagostino was credited with 12 digs and five successful receptions.

Opposite Gabi Garcia Fernandez and outside hitter Brett Wildman saw action as substitutes.