(L-R) Micah Christenson sets the ball for Matt Anderson at the FIVB World Championship on Sept. 29, 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The U.S. men’s volleyball team will go after its first medal at the FIVB Men’s World Championship in 24 years on Sunday.
Poland rallied after being down one set to two to defeat the U.S. in the semifinals on Saturday, 25-22, 20-25, 23-25, 25-20, 15-11. The loss sends the U.S. to the third-place match against Serbia in Torino, Italy and gives Team USA a chance to at the bronze medal, as Poland moves onto the gold medal match.
The U.S. came into this match with a 9-1 record at this year’s tournament. This includes Team USA winning its first nine matches before falling to Brazil on Friday.
The U.S. dropped its opening set to Poland on Saturday, and then won the second set, 25-20. Two-time Olympian Matt Anderson had six kills in the third set that was won by the U.S., 25-23.
Poland answered in the fourth and fifth sets for the win, going up by six points early in the deciding fifth set.
Anderson and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Taylor Sander led the U.S. with 19 points each. Sander had 17 kills, and 2016 Olympian Aaron Russell had 16 kills among his 18 points.
The U.S. defeated Serbia in five sets in their tournament-opening meeting on Sept. 12. Serbia was swept by Brazil in Saturday’s other semifinal.
Other 2016 Olympic bronze medalists on the U.S. team that will play for another bronze Sunday include: Micah Christenson, Kawika Shoji, Erik Shoji, Max Holt and David Smith.
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.