U.S. Men Sweep Germany in Volleyball Prelims
Donald Suxho, Richard Lambourne and Russell Holmes celebrate the win over Germany
LONDON -- Clay Stanley scored 16 points and the U.S. men's volleyball team improved to 2-0 in preliminary pool play at the London Olympics with a three-set victory over Germany on Tuesday.
Matt Anderson added 15 points in the 25-23, 25-16, 25-20 win for the defending Olympic champions. The Germans were led by Georg Grozer with 12.
The U.S. held Germany at bay for most over the first half, but the Germans went ahead 22-21 when Donald Suxho's return caromed out. The Americans quickly regained the lead and scored the final three points, capped by Matt Anderson's kill.
Germany kept up in the second set until Reid Priddy's ace put the U.S. up 14-10. Anderson stretched the lead to 20-14 with another ace, clocked at more than 117 kph, and Priddy's kill finished it.
The U.S. rode the momentum through the third set, taking the match on Grozer's serve into the net.
"Luckily all of us are playing really well right now," Anderson said. "We're playing pretty sound volleyball."
The U.S, ranked No. 5 by volleyball's governing body, is in a difficult pool in London, joining top-ranked Brazil, perennial powerhouse Russia, Serbia, Germany and Tunisia. In the other pool are Italy, Poland, Argentina, Bulgaria, Australia and host Britain.
The top four teams from each group in the preliminary round will advance to the quarterfinals, and the gold medal match in London is set for Aug. 12.
Brazil has struggled of late, and the team failed to make the semifinals in the recent FIVB World League for the first time since 1998. The Brazilians, who swept Tunisia in the Olympic tournament's opening match, face No. 2 Russia in a late match Tuesday at Earls Court.
Germany, ranked 13th in the world, fell to 0-2 with an opening loss to Russia. Up next is Serbia on Thursday.
"It's absolutely a final for us and we must win this match to have any chance of going forward," said German wing spiker Sebastian Schwarz.
The last time Germany and the U.S. played, the Germans came out on top.
Earlier in the day, Bulgaria surprised Poland 3-1. Tsvetan Sokolov had 28 points, including four aces, in ninth-ranked Bulgaria's 25-22, 29-27, 13-25, 25-23 win to go to 2-0 in pool play.
In other matches Tuesday, Serbia defeated Tunisia 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 20-25, 25-18), and Italy downed Argentina 3-1 (25-17-21-25 25-17 25-21).