After beginning the weekend with a loss, being swept by Germany, the U.S. men’s volleyball team won its next two matches in Ottawa, Ontario, to stay in the chase for a playoff spot in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
The U.S. closed its three-game series by defeating host Canada on Sunday 23-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-20.
Sunday’s victory moved the U.S. into fourth place in the league standings – it entered Ontario in third – with a 7-2 record and 20 points, just three behind the leaders. The top five teams will join host France in the final round in July.
The U.S. dropped the first set of Sunday’s match, but then rebounded to win the next three sets and the match. Two-time Olympian Matt Anderson helped get the U.S. rolling with a dominating 25-13 win in the second set. T.J. DeFalco ended the third set with a kill.
And despite falling behind 7-3 in the fourth set, the U.S. came back for the win.
Ben Patch led the U.S. with 18 points, including 14 kills. Anderson had 10 kills and three blocks. Max Holt also had 10 kills and a match-best five blocks.
Team USA began this weekend with a stunning 3-0 loss to Germany, which was only its second loss in Volleyball Nations League play and the first time it had been swept. U.S. coach John Speraw called it the worst U.S. match in five years.
The Americans responded with a four-set win Saturday against Australia. The U.S. dropped the first set of the match, which was the seventh consecutive match the U.S. had lost including losses to Germany and Brazil. But they stormed back to defeat Australia, 20-25, 25-20, 25-15, 25-17. Matt Anderson led the U.S. with 15 kills, four aces and one block.
“It took us awhile to get into rhythm this weekend,” Speraw said.
Germany defeated the U.S. and Canada, but lost to Australia in five sets Sunday.
The U.S. now returns home to host three matches next weekend at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The U.S. faces sixth-ranked Serbia on Friday at 8:30 p.m. ET, Nations League No. 1 Poland on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and 11th-ranked Iran on Sunday at 5:30 p.m.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.