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U.S. Men Sweep Puerto Rico at Worlds

By BJ Evans | Sept. 04, 2014, 12:47 p.m. (ET)

KRAKOW, Poland (Sept. 4, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team bounced back from its first loss to sweep Puerto Rico on Thursday, 25-15, 25-8, 25-20 and pick up three important points toward their ranking in Pool D at the FIVB World Championship.

Paul Lotman
  Paul Lotman attacks against Puerto Rico on Thursday.

The U.S. Men improved to 2-1 in Pool D. Puerto Rico fell to 0-3. The U.S. gets Friday off before playing two matches in a row against France (Sept. 4 at 7 a.m. ET) and Italy (Sept. 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET). The top four teams in the six-team pool advance to the second round.

“We played great today, especially from the service line,” U.S. Team Captain David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) said. “That was the biggest difference in the game. Also, we scout a lot. We watched a lot of video and we came prepared.”

The U.S. finished with four aces and nine service faults on 73 attempts. Puerto Rico had three aces and six faults on 45 attempts.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw went with another new starting lineup, putting Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) at the second outside hitter position with Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) at the first outside hitter slot and Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) at opposite. David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) played middle blocker. Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) started at setter and Erik Shoji (Honolulu) at libero. Speraw did not make any substitutions.

“I wanted to take a look at Paul,” Speraw said. “He is a great passer so he can really help us in reception. We need to be able to attack the middle of the court. We have some very good offensive middles. I think that helps our team quite a bit.

“That’s why I went that direction today. But tomorrow, who knows? It worked very well for us today.”

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico Head Coach David Aleman substituted four players to start the third set, including taking out outside hitter Hector Soto and opposite Maurice Torres, which improved Puerto Rico’s passing and reception, but took away some of its hitting accuracy.

“They put some guys in who passed and received better and they side out pretty well when they have good reception,” Lee said. “They have good middles that are quick that put some pressure on our block.”

Puerto Rico led 17-15 before the U.S. came back and tied it at 17-17 on Anderson’s kill and Christenson’s block. At 19-19, the U.S. used a 6-1 scoring run, including kills by Sander and Lotman and two Puerto Rico hitting errors, to win the set and the match.

The U.S. Men led in blocks (11-4). Puerto Rico finished with 21 kills and 25 hitting errors on 86 attempts while the United States had 33 kills and five errors on 74 attempts.

Sander led all players in scoring with 11 points on six kills, a match-high four blocks and one ace. Anderson added 10 points on 10 attacks. Holt totaled nine points on five kills, two blocks and a match-high two aces. Lotman scored nine points on eight kills and one ace. Christenson was credited with three points on three blocks.

Shoji was credited with 12 dig and three faults. Sander was credited with 12 digs and one fault. Lotman was credited with seven excellent receptions and one fault.

U.S. Roster for the FIVB World Championship
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College) 
1. Matt Anderson (OH/Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State) 
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
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)
10. Tony Ciarelli (OH, 6-6, Huntington Beach, Calif., USC)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California) 
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
19. Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawaii)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Nick Vogel (MB, 6-9, San Diego, Calif., UCLA)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager: Andrea Becker 
Assistant Coaches: Matt Fuerbringer and Mike Wall
Technical Coordinator: Anton Willert
Consultant Coaches: Tyler Hildebrand, Kathy DeBoer, Tim Pelot 
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock 
Doctors: David Dyck and Christopher Lee

2014 FIVB World Championship Pool D
France (2-1; 7 points)
USA (2-1; 6 points)
Iran (2-1; 5 points)
Belgium (1-1; 4 points)
Italy (1-1; 2 points)
Puerto Rico (0-3; 0 points)

2014 FIVB World Championship Schedule – Pool D
Kraków, Poland (all times ET)
View the entire World Championship schedule

Aug. 31
Iran def Italy, 25-16, 23-25, 25-21, 25-22
USA def Belgium, 25-21, 17-25, 25-16, 21-25
France def Puerto Rico, 25-23, 25-22, 26-24

Sept. 2
Iran def USA, 25-23, 25-19, 19-25, 18-25, 17-15
Belgium def Puerto Rico, 25-19, 25-17, 25-20
Italy def France, 20-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-13, 15-12                     

Sept. 4
USA def Puerto Rico, 25-15, 25-8, 25-20
France def Iran, 25-18, 14-25, 25-19, 29-27
2:15 p.m. Italy vs Belgium

Sept. 6
7 a.m. USA vs France
10:30 a.m. Belgium vs Iran
2:15 p.m. Puerto Rico vs Italy

Sept. 7
7 a.m. France vs Belgium
10:30 a.m. Iran vs Puerto Rico
2:15 p.m. Italy vs USA

Second Round: Sept. 10-15 in Łódź or Bydgoszcz
Third Round: Sept. 16-19 in Łódź or Katowice
Final Round: Sept. 20-21 in Łódź or Katowice

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