Three Nittany Lions Make Team USA Olympic Volleyball Roster

Three volleyball alumni are headed to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Matt Anderson, Aaron Russell, and Max Holt were among the 12 players selected to Team USA on Tuesday, making the Nittany Lions the most-represented program on the roster (Stanford and USC both have two).

Anderson and USC’s Murphy Troy are the lone opposites for head coach John Speraw, who pilots his alma mater UCLA when he isn’t working with the national team. Anderson, a 6-foot-9 West Seneca, N.Y., native, spent three seasons (2006-2008) in Happy Valley, but elected to turn pro before his senior year. He’s played in Korea, Italy, and most recently, Russia. Anderson was a member of the 2012 team in London that Italy ousted in straight sets in the quarterfinals.

Russell was a two-time AVCA All-American his junior and senior seasons at Penn State, leading Mark Pavlik’s squad as a captain at outside hitter. The 6-foot-9 Ellicott City, Md., standout led the national team in scoring during the final three matches of the 2015 FIVB World Cup, helping the U.S. qualify for the 2016 Olympics. Russell is joined by Taylor Sander (BYU), Reid Priddy (Loyola Marymount), and Thomas Jaeschke (Loyola of Chicago) on the outside.

Holt, a 6-foot-9 Cincinnati native, was named the Best Middle Blocker of the 2015 FIVB World League. A two-time AVCA All-American, Holt helped the Nittany Lions capture the 2008 NCAA National Championship alongside Anderson. Fellow middle blockers on the roster include David Lee out of Long Beach State and UC Irvine alum David Smith.

Hawaii coach Dave Shoji, who trails only Russ Rose for the most Division I women’s volleyball wins of all time, has two sons on Team USA. Kawika and Erik Shoji (both Stanford grads) round out the roster with USC’s Micah Christenson.

Congratulations to Matt, Aaron, and Max! We’ll be rooting for you this August in Rio.

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About the Author

Ethan Kasales

Ethan’s a senior journalism major who grew up in Lemont, a few minutes from campus. When he’s not covering Penn State sports, you can usually find him golfing or teaching snowboarding at Tussey Mountain. Feel free to email him at [email protected]

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