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Sander Leads U.S. to 7th Straight WL Win

By BJ Evans | June 20, 2014, 11:34 p.m. (ET)

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., June 20, 2014 – Outside hitter Taylor Sander, in his first season on the U.S. Men’s National Team, played like a veteran on Friday, leading Team USA to its seventh straight victory, 20-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-16

Taylor Sander attacks
  Taylor Sander attacks against Bulgaria's block.

The U.S. Men (7-0) will play Bulgaria (0-7) again on Saturday at 7 p.m. local time at the Sears Centre Arena with Bulgaria still looking for its first World League victory. The U.S. Men are playing to secure a spot in the Final Round (July 16-20 in Florence, Italy).

The U.S. Men led in spikes (47-43) in blocks (11-5) and in aces (11-8). The U.S. also scored 26 points on Bulgaria errors while committing 23.

Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) led all scorers with 20 points on a match-high 14 kills, three blocks and three aces. He also led the U.S. in excellent receptions with 17 and added five digs.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) praised Sander’s high-level of performance.

“Taylor has been just phenomenal all through World League,” Speraw said. “He continues to improve, particularly in passing. His attacking and serving have been great.”

TICKETS

  • June 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.) added 14 points on 12 attacks, one block and one ace. Local favorite Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) at outside hitter totaled 13 points on 10 attacks, two blocks and one ace.

Team Captain Rooney remembered Team USA’s first 2014 World League match against Bulgaria when the U.S. had to come back from an 0-2 deficit.

“We shouldn’t be surprised that Bulgaria came out hot and beat us in first set,” Rooney said. “I hope we will have a better start tomorrow.”

Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored 12 points on five kills, three blocks, and a match-high four aces.

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) totaled seven points on five attacks and two blocks.

Setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) scored three points on one kill and two aces. Shoji entered the match to open the second set for Micah Christenson (Honolulu), whose back had tightened up. Shoji was credited with nine running sets and no faults on 53 attempts. Christenson had five running sets and one fault on 18 attempts.

U.S. libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) was credited with four digs and 11 excellent receptions. Kawika Shoji led the U.S. in digs with nine.

Venelin Kadankov led Bulgaria with 15 points on 12 attacks, one block and two aces. Todor Skrimov added 14 points on 11 attacks and three aces.

The score was tied 6-6 in the first set when Bulgaria scored twice on a U.S. serving error and a block to lead 8-6 at the first technical timeout (TTO). The European side used a block and an ace to increase the lead to four at 11-7 and the USA never recovered. Todor Skrimov and Venelin Kadankov each scored five points for Bulgaria. Taylor Sander led Team USA with six points, including two aces.

The U.S. traded setters, putting Kawika Shoji in for Micah Christenson. The second-set score was close until it was tied 19-19. Anderson scored on a spike and Bulgaria’s next hit went out of bounds. Bulgaria pulled to within one at 21-20, but their next serve went long and Holt blocked their next spike.  The U.S. reached set point at 24-22 and Bulgaria’s next attack went out of bounds to give the win to the United States. Holt led the U.S. in the set with five points while Sander had four. Skrimov scored six points for Bulgaria.

Team USA jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the third set, getting two points from Holt and one each from Rooney, Anderson and Sander in the run. Later, with the U.S. leading 15-11, Kawika Shoji scored on a dump. Shoji took the serve and the U.S. went on a 4-0 run to lead 20-11. Bulgaria never threatened. Sander scored six points in the set for the USA.

The U.S. led 8-6 at the first TTO of the fourth set and increased it to 16-9 at the second TTO. Bulgaria never threatened.

U.S. Men’s Roster for World League Matches in Hoffman Estates, 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: USA def Bulgaria, 20-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-16
June 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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