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U.S. Men Hold Off Russia at World League

By BJ Evans | June 27, 2014, 4:33 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 27, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team held off a surging comeback by Russia to defeat the Europeans, 25-18, 25-19, 25-27, 25-19, 21-19 in an FIVB World League match on Friday in Kaliningrad, Russia.

World League
  The U.S. Men listen to the National Anthem in Kaliningrad.

With the victory, the U.S. Men improve to 8-1 in World League and have a commanding lead in Pool B with three matches to go in pool play. Russia falls to 4-5. The two teams will play again on Saturday at 8 a.m. PT. Teams are playing to go to the Final Round on July 16-20 in Florence, Italy, and the chance to win a first-place prize of $1 million.

The U.S. Men led Russia in kills (74-58) and aces (7-4) while Russia led in blocks (17-10), led by the 7-foot-2 Dmitriy Muserskiy who had 10 scoring blocks by himself.

“It is always dangerous to give Russia any opportunity,” U.S. Team Captain Sean Rooney said “We did and we lost the third and fourth sets. Nevertheless we managed to keep the pace and we achieved an excellent result.”

After taking commanding leads to win the first two sets, the U.S. took match point at 24-23 in the third, but Russia fought it off and took its first set point at 25-24. The U.S. tied the score at 25-25, but Russia scored the final two points for the win. Russia led the fourth set from the beginning and never let the U.S. Men back in.

The teams battled back and forth in the fifth set. Russia reached match point first at 15-14, but the U.S. battle back with a Sander kill and Anderson ace to take its own match point. The U.S. took match point three more times until Russia tied the score at 19-19. Kills from Anderson and Sander gave Team USA the win.

U.S. opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all scorers with 36 points on a match-high 35 kills and one ace.  Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added 25 points on 21 kills, one block and a match-high three aces.

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored 11 points on five kills, a team-high four blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) totaled 10 points on eight kills and two blocks.

Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati) totaled seven points on four kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), who played as a substitute and started the fifth set for Rooney, score one point with a kill.

Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) scored one point with a block and was credited with 34 running sets and one fault on 134 attempts. Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) was credited with a match-high 16 digs and six excellent receptions.

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)
10. Tony Ciarelli (OH, 6-6, Huntington Beach, Calif., USC)
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)
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 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: 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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