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U.S. Men Rally To Beat Australia

By Tyson Rodgers | July 17, 2014, 5:22 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO Springs, Colo. (July 17, 2014) – After dropping the first set to Australia at the FIVB World League Final Round, the U.S. Men’s National Team stormed back to take three-straight sets winning, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-19, on Thursday in Florence, Italy.

Matt Anderson
  Matt Anderson attacks against Australia.

The top two finishers in Pool H will advance to Saturday’s Final Round semifinals. Australia and Italy will meet on the court at 8:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. PT) Friday, with the Australians needing a clean sweep or 3-1 win over Italy to stay alive.

“After yesterday’s disappointment, we had a hard time getting into the match today,” U.S. captain Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) said. “Although we got back on track and played well, we can’t let things like today’s first set happen.”

Team USA started out against Australia much like it did against Italy on Wednesday, with the U.S. falling behind and losing 25-22 in the opening set. This time aroundr, Team USA received a jolt from outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) who poured in a match-high 21 points in the victory.

The 21 points for Sander came on 19 attacks, a block and an ace. The outside hitter had only four points against Italy on Wednesday.

It would seem the U.S. Men got their groove back on Thursday night, after dominating Australia in spikes 54-44, a stat the U.S. lost to Italy on Wednesday.

Team USA also led Australia in aces 10-6 and in digs 38-32, while getting edged 8-7 in blocks.

Putting together another productive match at the FIVB World League was Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.). The opposite finished with 15 points, after getting 14 attacks on 32 attempts against Australia, with a block to go along with his stats also.

Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) notched 13 points after racking up seven aces, three spikes and three blocks, while fellow middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) added 10 points on eight attacks, a block and an ace.

Rooney contributed seven points at the outside hitter spot, with six spikes and a block. The captain also added 16 excellent receptions on 28 attempts.

Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) had 17 digs on 19 attempts, while fellow Hawaiian and setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu) was credited with 12 running sets on 89 attempts.

Australia’s Edgar Thomas finished with 20 points to led his team, after picking up 16 of the Aussie’s attacks.

In the opening match of the night, Brazil knocked off defending-champion Russia, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22.

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 Results and Schedule
Pool H
July 16: Italy def USA, 25-22, 25-21, 26-24
July 17: USA def Australia, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23, 25-19
July 18: Australia vs Italy
Pool I
July 16: Russia def Iran, 18-25, 25-18, 25-21, 35-37, 15-8
July 17: Brazil def Russia, 26-24, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22
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
July 16: Italy def USA, 22-25, 21-25, 24-26

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