USA top world champions Italy as veterans return in top form

OTTAWA, Canada, June 8, 2023.- The United States claimed their second victory in the Volleyball Nations League 2023 on Thursday, in Ottawa, Canada, when the Americans had no trouble overcoming reigning world champions Italy in Pool 1.

With Olympic medalists Matt Anderson and Max Holt both making their first appearances in the VNL 2023, the Americans secured a 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-19) win over the Italians and continue with a perfect campaign of two wins and no sets dropped.

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Outside hitter Torey Defalco, who had scored 13 points in the team’s opening match against the Netherlands, on Wednesday, was again the American leading scorer, leaving the court with 15 points (nine kills, four aces, two blocks).

United States vs Italy at VNL 2023

Head coach John Speraw also got excellent production from veterans Holt and Anderson as the 36-year-old middle blocker tallied ten points (seven kills, one ace, two blocks) and the 36-year-old opposite produced another seven (six kills, one ace). Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia, with nine points, and middle blocker Taylor Averill, with eight, also had strong performances.

“Our passing has been very good and I think that has helped us play that well in these first two matches,” setter and team captain Micah Christenson said. “It’s made my job a lot easier than it has to be, so all the credit to those guys. Having good depth and experience are two of our main strengths right now. We can insert guys here and there and we don’t really lose a step. We can still improve technically and in terms of connections and I’m sure it will clean up as we continue.”

The Americans were dominant in every aspect of the game, outscoring the Europeans in kills (33 to 30), aces (ten to four) and blocks (seven to one), besides also benefiting from more opponent errors (22 to 17) to build their victory.

The United States will get back on court on Saturday to face host Canada.

Volleyball Nations League 2023: full schedule and results