Members of the U.S. men's volleyball team celebrate at the FIVB World Championship on Sept. 22, 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
As the field narrows to the final six at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, there's no hotter team in the tournament right now than the United States.
Through the first two rounds and eight matches, the U.S. men's volleyball team remains the only undefeated squad in the tournament following a 25-23, 26-24, 26-24 win over Iran to close out the second round on Sunday in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Switching things up with the starting lineup, the U.S. got a strong performance from Ben Patch with a team-leading 17 points and Jake Langlois just behind him with 10.
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Langlois set the pace in the first set, leading the U.S. with four kills, a block and an ace as Team USA took the lead. Langlois and Dan McDonnell each had seven points in the second set to give the U.S. the chance to close it out in three sets for the second match in a row and fourth time since the tournament began.
The U.S. got a strong blocking performance with a total of 12 to Iran’s four.
The U.S was already ensured a spot among the final six teams that will have the opportunity to play for the world championship before Sunday’s match even started. The top six teams from this second round will now be divided into two pools of three teams, with each playing two matches to determine who makes it to the semifinals. The third round begins on Wednesday.
The last time the U.S. played in the world championship in 2014 the team was eliminated in the second round. The Americans last medaled in 1994 when they took third place and won just one time, in 1986.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.