The additional rest worked out alright for outside attacker TJ DeFalco.
DeFalco in his season debut at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League finished with a match-high 23 kills on a .625 attack percentage as the United States defeated Serbia 26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-20 on Wednesday in Bulgaria.
The former Long Beach State All-American and U.S. Olympic starter was not on the active roster for the first four matches earlier this month in Brazil. The United States, which remains undefeated at the tournament, has opted to use a variety of lineups featuring several younger players so far at the Volleyball Nations League.
DeFalco was one of three U.S. players with double-digit kills against Serbia. Opposite Kyle Ensing contributed 13 kills on a .391 attack percentage, while outside attacker Aaron Russell had 10 kills and hit .438.
All five U.S. starting pin-hitters and middle attackers had at least a .300 attack percentage as the United States out-hit Serbia .473 to .454.
The United States also out-blocked Serbia 7 to 3 with middle attacker David Smith having a match-high four aces. DeFalco added two blocks in the opening match of a team’s set of four matches in Bulgaria.
Opposite Atanasijevic Aleksandar in the loss led Serbia with both 17 kills and three aces.