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U.S. Men Lose Battle to Brazil

Nov. 20, 2013, 6:28 a.m. (ET)

KYOTO, Japan (Nov. 20, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Team gave itself chances to win but didn't convert on its opportunities and fell to Brazil, 31-29, 25-23, 25-23 on Wednesday at the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup at the Kyoto Prefectural Gymnasium.

Max Holt attacks against Brazil
   Max Holt hits the ball past Brazil's block on Wednesday in Kyoto.

The U.S. Men (1-1) and the other Grand Champions Cup teams will get Thursday off and resume competition on Friday when the United States will play Italy (1-1) at 12:10 p.m. local time (7:10 p.m. PT on Thursday in the United States).

The United States had many great moments, but they didn't add up to victory. The U.S. Men held two set points in the first set, but Brazil came back for the win. The U.S. Men also let go of a five-point lead in the second set. In both the second and third sets, the U.S. Men led 23-22, but allowed Brazil to score the final three points of the set and the match.

“It was one of those matches where you almost feel better when the other team just crushes you,” U.S. Team Captain Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) said. “Because we know right away the little things we could have done to make that a better game and turn things in our favor.

“It’s one of those matches where, if you could, if it wouldn't hurt you, you’d want to go start practicing right away.”

The teams tied in kills (43-43) and the U.S. led in aces (5-3). Brazil led in blocks (10-6) and scored 25 points on U.S. errors while committing 21. Sixteen of the U.S. errors came on serves.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) noted that both teams played with great emotion.

“I thought the whole match was fairly heated,” he said. “What it came down to is Brazil executed more from the service line and their transition swing opportunities.”

The teams tied in kills (43-43) and the U.S. led in aces (5-3). Brazil led in blocks (10-6) and scored 25 points on U.S. errors while committing 21.

Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.), who started at opposite, led all scorers with 17 points on a match-high 13 kills, a match-high three blocks and one ace. Rooney, at outside hitter, added 10 points on 10 kills and outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) had 10 points on nine attacks and one ace.

Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati) added eight points on five kills, two blocks and one ace. Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored four points on three kills and one block. Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu) totaled four points on three setter dumps and an ace. He was credited with 22 running sets and set the U.S. Men to a 43.4 kill percent.

Kawika Shoji (Honolulu), who played as a serving substitute, scored one point on an ace. Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) was credited with 10 excellent receptions and four digs. Christenson led the U.S. in digs with 10 and Anderson added six.

Brazil Head Coach Bernardo Rezende said the U.S. Men had improved since his team had played them in World League in July.

“Looking at the Olympic cycle, that’s always a great opponent,” Rezende said. “Speraw is doing a great job as we knew he would. It’s one of the teams we have to focus on.”

Brazil took a 6-3 lead to open the first set and led until 22-20, when Rooney scored with a kill and serving substitute Kawika Shoji followed with an ace to tie the score. Brazil took the first set point at 24-22, but an Anderson kill and ace tied the score again. Anderson fought off another set point with a kill before Priddy gave the U.S. its first set point at 26-25 with a kill off an overpass. The U.S. had its second set point at 29-28 on another Priddy kill. Two straight kill from De Souza gave Brazil set point at 30-29 and Brazil got the victory with a final attack.

The second set stayed close until it was 9-9. The U.S. scored on a Brazil error and Priddy kill to lead by two and built the lead up to five at 17-12. But with the U.S. leading 19-15, Brazil went on a 5-1 scoring run to tie the set at 20-20. With the score still tied 22-22, Rooney got a kill to give the U.S. the lead. But the United States’ next serve went out of bounds and Brazil used a block and kill to win the set.

Brazil held a 22-20 lead in the third set when Rooney and Anderson scored on two straight attacks to tie the score. After a Brazil timeout, Anderson got another kill to give the U.S. the lead. But Brazil came back with two straight kills and a block to win the match.

Fourteen-Player Roster for FIVB World Grand Champions Cup 
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)
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)
8. Reid Priddy (OH, 6-4, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
13. Futi Tavana (MB, 6-7, Kalaheo, Hawaii, BYU)
14. Jeff Menzel (OH, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
19. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)

Head Coach: John Speraw (Los Angeles)
Team Manager:  Andrea Becker (Martinez, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Anton Willert (Berlin, Germany)
Assistant Coach: Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) 
Assistant Coach: Mike Wall (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Gary Moy (San Francisco, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Tim Pelot (Florida)
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)
Doctor: Andrew Gregory (Nashville, Tenn.)

FIVB Men’s World Grand Champions Cup Schedule
(all times Pacific Standard)

Nov. 19
Italy def. Russia, 28-26 25-20 19-25 27-25
Brazil def. Iran, 25-16, 25-17, 25-27, 25-23
USA def. Japan, 25-17, 25-17, 21-25, 25-20

Nov. 20
Iran def. Italy, 26-24, 16-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-12  
Brazil def. USA, 31-29, 25-23, 25-23
Russia def. Japan, 25-16, 25-17, 25-18

Nov. 21-22 
7:10 p.m.: USA vs. Italy
11:10 p.m.: Iran vs. Russia
2:10 a.m.: Japan vs. Brazil

Nov. 22-23
7:10 p.m.: Iran vs. USA
11:10 p.m.: Russia vs. Brazil
2:10 a.m.: Italy vs. Japan

Nov. 23-24
7:10 p.m.: Brazil vs. Italy
10:10 p.m.: USA vs. Russia
1:10 a.m.: Japan vs. Iran