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France Hands U.S. Men 2nd Worlds Loss

By BJ Evans | Sept. 06, 2014, 2:04 p.m. (ET)

KRAKOW, Poland (Sept. 6, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team’s hopes for the FIVB World Championship were dealt a blow on Saturday when it fell to France, 19-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-21 in front of a crowd of 15,000 at Krakow Arena.

David Lee
  David Lee hits against France's Nicolas Le Goff on Saturday.

The U.S. Men are 2-2 in Pool D with six points. France improved to 3-1 with 10 points. The U.S. Men will face Italy in the Pool D finale on Sunday at 2:15 p.m. ET. The top four teams of the six-team pool advance to the second round.

“I think we’re in a really difficult spot,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said. “I’m not sure we can advance to the third round even if we move on to the second at this point with our points.

“What I’m most grateful for is I think we’re in a position now where we have a real opportunity to learn. I think that’s really important. The World Championships are important, but they’re not the most important.”

On Saturday, Speraw started the lineup that had won against Puerto Rico on Thursday: Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) at opposite, Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) at the outsides, Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) at middle blocker, Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) at setter and Erik Shoji (Honolulu) at libero.

The lineup played a strong first set. But in the second, France seemed to flip a switch and put the U.S. Men on their heels right away, jumping out to a 3-1 lead that it never surrendered, and carrying that momentum into the third set.

In the fourth set, Speraw brought in Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) at opposite and moved Anderson to the outside. He brought David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) in at middle for Lee. Speraw had subbed Kawika Shoji (Honolulu) in to set for Christenson in the third set and left him in to start the fourth, although he later brought Christenson back.

Although the new lineup helped the U.S. keep the fourth set close, it couldn’t hold up under the pressure from France.

France led in kills (55-42) and aces (5-4) while the U.S. Men led in blocks (11-5). France was also credited with 75 digs as opposed to 52 for the United States. France’s opposite Antonin Rouzier led all scorers with 23 points, all on kills. Outside hitter Earvin Ngapeth added 15 points, all on attacks.

Service errors were also costly for the U.S. Men, who were charged with 16 service errors on 79 attempts. The U.S. also struggled with its service reception after the first set.

“The French team played a fantastic match in almost every aspect of the game,” Team Captain David Lee said. “There weren’t many positive aspects to our game today.

“Now we’re in a pretty difficult situation as far as moving on with enough points to the second round. Tomorrow, we have the Italians and that’s a must-win situation for us.”

Anderson led the U.S. Men with 21 points on 16 kills, three blocks and two aces. Sander added 14 points on 10 kills, three blocks and one ace. Holt finished with eight points on four kills, three blocks and one ace.

Erik Shoji was credited with 14 digs and nine excellent receptions.

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 (3-1; 10 points)
Iran (3-1; 8 points)
USA (2-2; 6 points)
Italy (2-1; 5 points)
Belgium (1-3; 4 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
Italy def Belgium, 26-28, 25-15, 25-16, 28-26

Sept. 6
France def USA, 19-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-21
Iran def Belgium, 25-23, 25-15, 21-25, 25-20
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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