A Pair of Bruins Named to U.S. MVB Olympic Team
USA Volleyball announced Monday that two Bruins – Garrett Muagututia (UCLA 2007-10) and Mitch Stahl (2014-17) -- have been selected to the 12-player men's team that will compete for the U.S. at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 under the direction of head coach John Speraw (UCLA's current men's volleyball coach), pending approval from the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee. This will be the first Olympics for both players who are currently in action for the U.S. in the FIVB Volleyball Nation's League (VNL) being held in Italy. Muagututia was an alternate for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.
A 6-5 outside hitter from Oceanside, Calif. (Francis Parker HS), Muagututia made his debut with the U.S. Men's National Team in 2011 at the Pan American Cup. He has played professionally in Spain, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Poland, China, Portugal and Greece. In 2019, Muagututia was a member of the U.S. team which captured the bronze medal at the FIVB World Cup, brought home the silver medal at the FIVB Nation's League and helped the U.S. earn a trip to Tokyo at the FIVB Men's Volleyball Qualification Tournament.
At UCLA, Muagututia earned second-team All-America honors in multiple seasons (2010, 2008). He led the Bruins in kills as a senior (446) and finished his career with 71 double-digit kill matches, 19 double-doubles and 99 aces. Muagututia ended his Bruin playing days as the rally scoring era school leader in block solos (44) for a career and in second-place on the all-time kills list (1,473).
Stahl is a 6-8 middle blocker from Chambersburg, Pa. (Chambersburg, Pa. HS) who has been with the U.S. Men's National Team since 2015. He has played professionally in France and Belgium. Stahl saw his first action for the U.S. team in the 2015 Pan American Games. In 2019, he was a member of the 2019 FIVB World Cup squad which won the bronze medal and the U.S. team which earned a trip to Tokyo at the FIVB Tokyo Men's Volleyball Qualification Tournament.
Stahl was a four-year starter at UCLA who finished his career No. 2 all-time on the service ace list (129) and No. 3 on both the block assists (322) and career total blocks (345) lists. In his senior season, he ranked seventh in the nation in aces and 10th in blocks. Stahl was a second-team All-America selection in 2016 and 2017.
"We had some really difficult decisions to make," said U.S. Men's Head Coach Speraw. "Team USA over the last four or five years has become deeper. The discussions about whom to take on this team involved the performances during VNL as well as what these players bring as teammates and competitors."
Speraw took over as U.S. Men's head coach in 2013 and will be working his second Olympic Games in that role. He was an assistant coach at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and has been UCLA's men's volleyball head coach since 2013.
"The past year has been challenging for all of us," Speraw said. "We are grateful we have the opportunity to compete at an Olympic Games. There have been a lot of people who have dealt with significant stress and loss. No matter what this tourney throws our way, we will continue to be resilient and adapt and be grateful to represent the United States."
The U.S. Men are ranked No. 3 in the world and currently competing at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy. Since 2016, the Men's Team has finished third at the FIVB World Championship and at the World Cup.
The team will briefly return to its Anaheim, Calif. training center before heading to Japan. Prior to its arrival in Tokyo, the team will train in the Japanese city of Mishima and play two matches against Japan's men's team.
The 2020 Olympic Games, which were postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, are scheduled to begin on July 23 with the Opening Ceremony. The men's volleyball tournament will commence on July 24.
U.S. Men's Roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OPP, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
3 Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., Brigham Young)
5 Kyle Ensing (OPP, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)
6 Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA)
7 Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, USC)
12 Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola-Chicago)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)