By Paul D. Bowker | Sept. 28, 2018, 12:01 a.m. (ET)
Aaron Russel spikes the ball at FIVB Volleyball World Championships on Sept. 23, 2018 in Turin, Bulgaria.


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The U.S. Men’s Volleyball National Team is hoping to party like it’s 1986.

Team USA goes after its first world championship in 32 years this weekend in Torino, Italy, after blasting through the first two rounds of the FIVB Men’s World Championship with eight straight victories.

After a ninth straight win against Russia to open the final six portion of the worlds on Thursday, the U.S. faces high-powered Brazil on Friday. It’s their first meeting of the world championships this year, and both teams have already secured spots in Saturday’s semifinals. The medal round is Sunday.

Also in the final six are Italy, Serbia and Poland.

“Our group is challenging, but that challenge can make us better,” said U.S. coach John Speraw.

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Matt Anderson, a two-time Olympian who won a bronze medal in the Olympic Games Rio 2016, was the top-rated spiker in group play with 90 kills and 30 faults. Among other 2016 Olympic bronze medalists on the team are Micah Christenson, Aaron Russell, Taylor Sander, Kawika Shoji, Erik Shoji, Max Holt and David Smith.

Team USA is in the final six for the fourth time and semifinals for only the third.

While the men finish up their championship run this week, the U.S. women are just starting.

The U.S. Women’s National Team opens defense of its world title on Saturday against Azerbaijan in Kobe, Japan. The U.S. plays five matches in the first round, including Sunday against Trinidad & Tobago.

The second round begins Oct. 7 in Osaka, Japan, followed by the third round Oct. 14-16 in Nagoya, Japan. The medal round is set to begin Oct. 20.

The 14-member roster includes eight players with Olympic experience. Two-time Olympic medalists Jordan Larson and Foluke Akinradewo also were on the team that won a gold medal in the 2014 world championship. Other 2016 Olympians include outside hitter Kim Hill, middle Rachael Adams, setter Carli Lloyd, opposites Kelly Murphy and Karsta Lowe and libero Kelsey Robinson.

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc