U.S. Men Sweep Iran to Conclude USAV Cup

By BJ Evans | Aug. 16, 2014, 9:30 p.m. (ET)

IRVINE, Calif. (Aug. 16, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team finished its four-match, USAV Cup series with a 25-18, 25-22, 25-19 victory over Iran on Saturday before a crowd of 3,610 at the Bren Center at UC Irvine.

Team USA and Iran
  The U.S. Men shake hands with Iran after the match.

The United States completed the series with three victories while Iran took one. The two teams will meet again during pool play for the FIVB World Championship on Aug. 30-Sept. 21 in Poland. The U.S. Men and Iran will also share a pool during the 2015 FIVB World League, meaning the U.S. team will travel to Iran to play two matches.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said he hoped the many fans who attended the matches, both U.S. and Iranian, would continue to support volleyball in Southern California.

“I hope they enjoyed the volleyball,” said Speraw, who is also the men’s volleyball head coach at UCLA. “I hope they learned to love the game because there is great volleyball in the United States and here in Southern California.”

The U.S. led in kills (46-30), blocks (7-3) and aces (8-1).

Opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all scorers on Saturday with 20 points on a match-high 20 kills. Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added 15 points on 13 kills, one block and one ace. Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) totaled eight points on six kills and two aces.

“I think we grew a lot as a team,” Holt said of the week. “It was a quality opponent and we had a great time hosting them. A lot of them speak really good English. It’s fun to play a team like that here because they have such great support.”

Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) scored seven points on a match-high five aces, one block and one kill.

“I thought it was a great week of volleyball,” Christenson said. “Iran’s a very good, well-coached team with a lot of very skilled players. They were a great opponent and we were really happy to have them.”

Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.), who played college volleyball at UC Irvine, scored five points on two attacks and three blocks in his former gym. Outside hitter Tony Ciarelli (Huntington Beach, Calif.), who started the third set, scored four points on two kills and two blocks. Outside hitter Brad Lawson (Honolulu, Hawaii), who started the first two sets, scored two points on two attacks.

Libero Erik Shoji was credited with nine receptions, 89 percent positive. Sander had 17 receptions, 76 percent positive.

U.S. Roster for USAV Cup Match on Aug. 16, 2014
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State) 
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU
5. Ryan Ammerman (S, 6-9, Denver, Colo., UC Irvine)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford
8. Brad Lawson (OH, 6-7, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
10. Tony Ciarelli (OH, 6-6, Huntington Beach, Calif., USC)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-9, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
19. Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawaii)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

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