Brazil Cuts U.S. Men's Comeback Short

By B.J. Evans | July 16, 2015, 6:17 p.m. (ET)

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (July 16, 2015) – A valiant comeback by the U.S. Men’s National Team came up short on Thursday, and the United States fell to Brazil, 28-26, 22-25, 25-22, 27-25 at the Maracanazinho stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. must beat France (1-0) on Friday if it hopes to advance from the pool to the semifinals and defend its title. It will not be easy as France is on a 15-match World League winning streak.

If the U.S. beats France 3-0, then the U.S. and Brazil will advance to the quarterfinals. If the U.S. beats France, 3-1, then all three teams in the pool will be tied and the tie-breaker will be the points ratio. If the U.S. defeats France 3-2, France and Brazil will advance.

DATAVOLLEY STATISTICS | OFFICIAL STATISTICS | U.S. WORLD LEAGUE PAGE

In the fourth set on Thursday, the U.S. Men fought back from a 15-8 deficit to tie the score at 19-19. However Brazil reached match point first at 24-23 on a U.S. serving error. Opposite Matt Anderson responded with his 30th point of the match. But Brazil came back with two straight kills to get the win before an elated crowd of more than 7,000.

“Mostly I am proud of the fact we were able to fight and come back even though we weren’t playing our best volleyball of the summer,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “I thought we demonstrated really nice fight at certain times.”

Had the host team lost the match, it would have been eliminated from the final round.

“I thought it was a well-fought match by both teams,” U.S. Captain David Lee said. “Our biggest problem tonight was inconsistent play, primarily in the service and reception games. If we can be more consistent in these areas, our team has great chance of passing on to the next phase.”

Anderson led all scorers with his 30 points. He also led the match in kills (23) and aces (4) and tied setter Micah Christenson for the most blocks with three.

Christenson played a gutsy match, at one point hurdling the barrier around the court to go after a ball. He blocked Brazil opposite Ricardo Lucarelli one-on-one to win the second set.

Outside hitter Aaron Russell was the United States’ second-leading scorer with 12 points. But he suffered an ankle injury in the fourth set and was replaced by Paul Lotman. His status for Friday is unknown.

The U.S. led the match in blocks (11-5) and aces (7-3). But Brazil led in kills 60-50. The U.S hitting efficiency was .380 while Brazil’s was .381. Brazil led in digs, 40-31.

Lucarelli led Brazil with 21 points, and was especially integral to helping Brazil come back to win the third set after the U.S. led 16-13 and 19-17.

Thursday’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

Thursday’s Statistics
Kills: Anderson 23, Russell 10, Lee 6, Holt 5, Sander 3, Lotman 2, Jaeschke 1
Blocks: Anderson 3, Christenson 3, Lee 2, Sander 1, Smith 1, Holt 1
Aces: Anderson 4, Russell 2, Lee 1
Digs: E Shoji 9, Christenson 6, Russell 4, Holt 3, Sander 3, Jaeschke 2, Lee 2, Anderson 2

U.S. Roster for FIVB World League Final Round
July 15-19, 2015
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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
Team Doctor: Keith Feder


    Result     
May 30      USA def Iran     25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23   Los Angeles, Calif. | USC Galen Center
May 31      USA def Iran     25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 25-20   Los Angeles, Calif. | USC Galen Center
                 
June 5     USA def Russia     25-18, 24-26, 25-15, 28-26   Long Beach, Calif. | the Walter Pyramid
June 6     USA def Russia     25-23, 25-21, 25-16    Long Beach, Calif. | the Walter Pyramid
                 
June 12     USA def Poland     23-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 15-9   Hoffman Estates, Ill. | Sears Centre Arena
June 13     USA def Poland     23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-17   Hoffman Estates, Ill. | Sears Centre Arena
                 
June 19
  Iran def USA     25-19, 29-27, 25-20
  Tehran, Iran | Azadi Stadium
June 21     Iran def USA     25-20, 25-21, 25-19
                 
June 26     USA def Russia     25-21, 25-20, 25-19
  Kaliningrad
June 28     USA def Russia     25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18
  Kaliningrad
                 
July 3     Poland def USA     19-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-20, 15-12
  Krakow
July 4     USA def Poland     25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 25-23
  Krakow
                 
July 16     Brazil def USA     28-26, 22-25, 25-22, 27-25
  Rio de Janeiro 
July 17     USA vs France    
  Rio de Janeiro