TEHRAN, Iran (June 19, 2015) – A deafening and enthusiastic crowd created a wave of sound that seemed to carry Iran to a 25-19, 29-27, 25-20 victory over the U.S. Men’s National Team on Friday in an FIVB World League match at the Azadi Sport Complex.
The U.S. Men, the defending champions and leaders of Pool B, suffered their first loss of the 2015 World League, falling to 6-1. Iran improved to 3-4. The teams will play again on Sunday.
“The intensity in this arena is like nothing I have ever experienced before,” U.S. Team Captain David Lee said. “The crowd is deafening. It’s a really hard place to play.”
No crowd total was available, but it was standing-room-only in the arena, which is said to have a capacity of 12,000. Not only would the crowd scream during U.S. serves, but it would go quiet during Iranian serves, and then turn up the volume once the ball was in play.
“I was forgiving of my team for not winning the first set because I think this environment in unique,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “The second set we played better, but we made a series of plays that I think we normally wouldn’t make… The way we played the third set was very disappointing.
“We didn’t serve very well tonight. Iran just sides out at such a high rate. They are such good attackers and setters. That second set we lost and we sided out at 76 percent, which is going to win just about every single set the rest of the summer.”
Iran scored 26 of its points on U.S. errors, including 21 service errors. The U.S. led in kills (47-42), but the U.S. hitting efficiency was .344 while Iran’s was .480.
Iran led in blocks (8-1). The teams tied in aces (3-3).
After losing the first set, the U.S. Men took an 8-5 lead in the second and led by four at 19-15, which quieted the crowd a little. But with the U.S. leading 23-21, Iran’s Shahram Mahmoudi, who led all players in scoring with 17 points, connected with two straight kills for the tie. The U.S. reached set point three times, but each time Iran came back to tie it. Iran got its first set point at 27-26, but the U.S. fought it off with a Murphy Troy kill. Iran took a second set point at 28-27 and the United States’ next attack went into the net.
Speraw made wholesale lineup changes for the third set, taking out middle blockers David Smith and Max Holt for Russell Holmes and David Lee. He moved Matt Anderson from outside hitter to opposite for Troy and put Taylor Sander in at outside. But the U.S. team still failed to develop a rhythm.
Friday's starting lineup:
Outside hitter: Matt Anderson and Aaron Russell
Middle blocker: Max Holt and David Smith
Opposite: Murphy Troy
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Points: Anderson 13, Russell 13, Troy 7, Holt 5, Sander 5, Holmes 4, Smith 2, Lee 1, Christenson 1
Kills: Anderson 12, Russell 12, Troy 7, Sander 5, Holt 4, Holmes 4, Smith 2, Lee 1
Blocks: Christenson 1
Aces: Anderson 1, Russell 1, Holt 1
Digs: E Shoji 5, Anderson 5, Russell 3, Sander 1, Christenson 1
U.S. Roster for FIVB World League
June 19 and 21
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)
8. Reid Priddy (OH, 6-4, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
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)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
2015 FIVB World League
Galen Center in Los Angeles
May 30: USA d Iran, 25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23
May 31: USA d Iran, 25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 25-20
Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
June 5: USA d Russia, 25-18, 24-26, 25-15, 28-26
June 6: USA d Russia, 25-23, 25-21, 25-16
Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
June 12: USA d Poland, 23-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 15-9
June 13: USA d Poland, 23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-17
June 19: Iran d USA, 25-19, 29-27, 25-20
June 21: USA at Iran
June 26: USA at Russia
June 28: USA at Russia
July 3: USA at Poland
July 4: USA at Poland
July 15-19: World League Final Round (Must Qualify)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil