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U.S. Men Hold Off Serbia to Go 6-0

By BJ Evans | June 14, 2014, 11 p.m. (ET)

CHICAGO, Ill. (June 14, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team held off Serbia’s challenge and improved to 6-0 with a 3-2 (25-22, 25-12, 26-28, 23-25, 15-13) FIVB World League win on Saturday at the Pavilion at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team
  Max Holt goes in for the kill against Serbia.

The U.S. Men will move on to host Bulgaria (0-5) on June 20-21 at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Serbia (4-2) will travel to Russia (1-4) for its next matches.

After losing 3-0 on Friday and falling in the first two sets on Saturday, Serbia rode the energy of  a vocal group of fans to win sets 3 and 4 on Saturday.

“I knew that Serbia was going to come back and play much better volleyball,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “This is exactly what happened. So it didn’t surprise me at all we ended up playing in five sets. I’m very grateful that we’ve come away with a win.”

The teams were tied 11-11 in the fifth set when the U.S. went ahead by two on Serbia's serving error followed by a block by Max Holt. A Paul Lotman kill gave the U.S. match point at 14-12. A serving error pulled Serbia to within one, but Holt ended the match with a quick attack.

The U.S. Men dominated the match statistics on Saturday, leading in attacks (71-63), in blocks (18-7) and in aces (8-3). However Serbia took advantage of 27 U.S. errors while committing 17.

TICKETS

  • June 13-14 USA vs Serbia at Chicago: ticketmaster.com, Phone: 800-745-3000
  • June 20-21 USA vs Bulgaria at Hoffman Estates, Ill.: searscentre.com, Phone: 888-SEARS-TIX
  • Group Ticket Discounts for Serbia and Bulgaria matches: Call 847-649-2368

Opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all scorers with 32 points on a match-high 29 attacks and three blocks. Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added 26 points on 21 attacks and five blocks. Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati) contributed 18 points on 11 kills, three blocks and a match-high four aces.

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) totaled 12 points on five kills, five blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), who substituted for Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) in the third set and started the fourth and fifth, scored seven points on three kills, two blocks and two aces. Rooney had two points with two kills.

Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) was credited with 32 running sets and two faults on 110 attempts. He set the United States to a .417 hitting efficiency.  Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) was credited with 13 digs and 13 excellent receptions. Sander led the U.S. in receptions with 27.  

Aleksandar Atanasijevic led Serbia with 18 points on 18 attacks. Marko Podrascanin added 15 points on 10 attacks, four blocks and one ace.

The teams traded leads in the first set. Serbia led 16-14 at the second technical timeout (TTO). The U.S. came back to lead 22-20. With the scored tied 22-22, Anderson hit a strike from the left and Sander followed with a block to give the U.S. set point. Serbia called a timeout, but Lee ended the set with a block. Anderson scored eight points on eight kills in the set. Podrascanin led Serbia with six points.

The teams were tied 6-6 in the second set when Holt scored with three aces in a row.  Team USA led 16-9 at the second TTO and never looked back. Anderson had six points in the set for the United States. Atanasijevic led Serbia with four.

Serbia led the third set 18-13 when the U.S. mounted a comeback and pulled back to within one at 20-19. Serbia reached set point first at 24-22 on a kill by Atanasijevic, but the U.S. tied it with two straight Anderson kills. Serbia reached set point two more times, but could not end the set. With the scored tied 26-26, Lisinac scored on a quick kill and Podrascanin added a block to give the Europeans the victory.

The fourth set stayed close throughout as the teams battled back and forth. Serbia led 23-21, but its next serve sent out of bounds and Lotman followed with an ace to tie it. Serbia called timeout and came back with a block by Nemanja. Team USA called timeout. But Serbia won the set with a Lisinac strike.

The United States reached match point in the fifth set at 14-12, but its next serve flew long. Holt ended things with a quick kill.

U.S. Men’s Roster for World League Matches in Chicago, Ill.
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)
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)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
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

U.S. Men's Schedule 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 20-21: Bulgaria at U.S. Men in Hoffman Estates (Sears Centre Arena)
Tickets: searscentre.com, Phone: 888-SEARS-TIX

June 27-28: U.S. Men at Kaliningrad, Russia (Yantarny)

July 4: U.S. Men at Novi Sad, Serbia (SPC Vojvodina)
July 6: U.S. Men at Beograd, Serbia (Hala Pionir)

Final Round (must qualify): July 16-20 in Florence, Italy


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