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U.S. Men Fall To Italy In Final Round Opener

By Tyson Rodgers | July 16, 2014, 6:50 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.(July 16, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team’s quest for the FIVB World League championship took a hit on Wednesday, as Team USA fell to Italy, 22-25, 21-25, 24-26, in Florence, Italy to open the Final Round pool play.

The Italians did not disappoint their fans, as they controlled Wednesday’s match from the onset, to the delight of the home crowd. The top two finishers in Pool H will advance to Saturday’s Final Round semifinals.

“It was tough out there and we were playing catch up,” U.S. captain Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) said in a FIVB interview. “We didn’t know how to act when we finally got ahead in the third set. We need to communicate better on the court.”

Team USA, now 9-4 in World League, fell to Italy in spikes 40-36 and blocks 7-4, while tying in aces at six apiece.  

Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led the U.S. with 17 points on the night, with 15 coming off attacks, one block and an ace. The outside hitter’s 15 attacks came on 33 attempts.

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) contributed eight points for the U.S., with five attacks, two blocks and an ace.

Rooney notched six points, while Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added four apiece.

Italy’s Ivan Zaytsev led the match with 21 points, on 15 attacks, two blocks and four aces. Jiri Kovar contributed 10 points to the Italian cause, eight from attacks, with a block and an ace to add to his total.

On Thursday, the U.S. Men will face Australia, which finished fourth in Pool C, but by advanced to the Group 2 finals by virtue of hosting. Australia defeated Netherlands and France in pool play. 

Rooney said that his team has to get over the loss quick with Australia coming up at 8:30 p.m. local time on Thursday (11:30 a.m. PT).

“This is the World League and we play again tomorrow, so we need to eat, get a little bit mad, then get over it and prepare for Australia,” Rooney said in a FIVB interview.

In the opening match of the night in Pool I, Russia defeated Iran 3-2 (18-25, 25-18, 25-21, 35-37, 15-8) to continue their title defense.

U.S. Men’s Roster for World League Matches in Italy
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College) 
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State) 
2. Sean Rooney (OH, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
6. Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager: Andrea Becker 
Assistant Coaches: Matt Fuerbringer and Mike Wall
Technical Coordinator: Anton Willert
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Doctor: Andrew Gregory
Consultant Coach: Al Scates

Final Round Schedule and Results
Pool H
July 17: USA vs Australia
July 18: Australia vs Italy
Pool I
July 16: Iran vs Russia
July 17: Russia vs Brazil
July 18: Brazil vs Iran

U.S. Men's Pool Play Results for the 2014 FIVB World League
May 24: USA def Bulgaria, 19-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 15-12
May 25: USA def Bulgaria, 19-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-17
June 6: USA def Russia, 25-17, 27-25, 20-25, 25-27, 15-12
June 7: USA def Russia, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17
June 13: USA def Serbia, 30-28, 25-20, 25-16
June 14: USA def Serbia, 25-22, 25-12, 26-28, 23-25, 15-13
June 20: USA def Bulgaria, 20-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-16
June 21: Bulgaria def USA, 24-26, 17-25, 25-14, 25-13, 15-12
June 27: USA def Russia, 25-18, 25-19, 25-27, 25-19, 21-19
June 28: Russia def USA, 25-21, 25-19, 25-21
July 4: Serbia def U.S. Men, 25-21, 25-20, 25-17
July 6: USA def Serbia, 25-21, 20-25, 27-25, 25-20

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