Brazil Wins USAV Cup Opener

By B.J. Evans | Aug. 23, 2015, 11:30 p.m. (ET)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 23, 2015) – If Sunday’s match is any indication, the USAV Cup is going to be an exciting ride.

The U.S. Men’s National Team had its chances, but fell to Brazil, 20-25, 25-23, 36-34, 20-25, 15-13 on Sunday in the opening match of the USAV Cup, a series of exhibition matches between the two teams.

The U.S. and Brazil, the No. 1 ranked team in the world, will play three more matches this week. Tuesday (Aug. 25) at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the campus of the University of San Diego, Wednesday (Aug. 26) at the Galen Center at USC and Saturday (Aug. 29) at the Bren Center at UC Irvine.USAV Cup

The U.S. Men are using the USAV Cup to prepare for the FIVB World Cup (Sept. 8-23 in Japan), which is their first chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. Their performance on Sunday left them feeling like they still have work to do.

DATA VOLLEY STATISTICS | LIVE STREAM | USAV CUP TICKETS

“We keep learning the same lessons the hard way,” U.S. setter Micah Christenson said. “We’re giving up too many (scoring) runs. That we can’t do against any team, let alone Brazil.

“We’re working on that. We’re working on our mental game as well as our physical game.”

The U.S. Men led in kills, 77-58 and had a .438 hitting efficiency. Brazil’s hitting efficiency was .366. The U.S. also led in blocks, 10-7. Brazil led in aces 9-6 and only had 15 service errors as opposed to 28 for the U.S. Three of Brazil’s aces came in the fifth set.

U.S. opposite Matt Anderson led all scorers with 32 points on a match-high 29 kills, one block and two aces. Outside hitter Aaron Russell added 19 points on 17 attacks and two blocks. Middle blocker Max Holt had 16 points on 13 kills, two blocks and one ace.

Outside hitter Ricardo Lucarrelli dos Santos led Brazil with 18 points on 15 kills, one block and two aces. Luiz Felipe Fonteles added 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace.

After winning the first set, the U.S. Men looked to have the second set in hand with an 18-11 lead.

But Brazil Head Coach Bernardo Rezende called timeout and middle blocker Lucas Saatkamp came through with a kill. Rezende then brought in setter Raphel de Oliveira for starter Bruno Rezende and also brought in Renan Buiatti at opposite for starter Evandro Guerra and Brazil went on a 5-1 run. With the U.S. leading 21-19, Rezende brought his starters back in and the U.S. would only score two more points as Brazil went on to win.

“I don’t care who you are playing, you should never lose a set when you’re ahead 18-11,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “We really need to take a look at that on video and try to understand the best we can.”

In the third set, Brazil took set point first at 24-22, but the U.S. tied it on a Max Holt kill and Brazil hitting error. Then the U.S. took match point on an Anderson strike. The U.S. would hold set point four more times. Brazil would take it another five times before winning on two straight U.S. errors.

Sunday’s starters
Outside hitter: Taylor Sander and Aaron Russell
Middle blocker: Max Holt and David Lee
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji

Sunday’s statistics
Kills: Anderson 29, Russell 17, Holt 13, Sander 12, Lee 4, Christenson 2
Blocks: Russell 2, Sander 2, Lee 2, Holt 2, Anderson 1, Christenson 1
Aces: Anderson 2, Lee 2, Christenson 1, Holt 1

USAV Cup Schedule and Results
Aug. 23: Brazil def USA, 20-25, 25-23, 36-34, 20-25, 15-13
Aug. 25: USA v Brazil at Jenny Craig Pavilion (University of San Diego)
Aug. 26: USA v Brazil at Galen Center (University of Southern California)
Aug. 29: USA v Brazil at Bren Center (UC Irvine)

U.S. USAV Cup Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College) 

1. Matt Anderson (OH/OPP, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State) 
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., 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) 
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California) 
10. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola) 
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California) 
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU) 
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State) 
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
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: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

Brazil's Roster for USAV Cup
1 Bruno Rezende (setter)
2 Isac Santos (middle blocker)
3 Eder Carbonera (middle blocker)
5 Otavio Pinto (middle blocker)
9 Raphael de Oliveira (setter)
10 Sergio Santos (libero)
12 Luis Felipe Fonteles (outside hitter)
16 Lucas Saatkamp (middle blocker)
17 Evandro Guerra (opposite)
18 Ricardo Lucarrelli dos Santos (outside hitter)
19 Mario Pedreira Jr (libero)
20 Renan Buiatti (opposite)
22 Mauricio Borges Silva (outside hitter)
25 Lucas Loh (outside hitter)

Head Coach: Bernardo Rezende