U.S. Men Go 2-0 against Iran in World League

By B.J. Evans | May 31, 2015, 10 p.m. (ET)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (May 31, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National Team swept its opening FIVB World League series against Iran on Sunday, winning 25-16, 25-16, 20-25, 25-20 at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California (USC).

The U.S. Men will continue World League play in Southern California on June 5-6 when they will play defending Olympic champion Russia (7 p.m. each night) at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. Russia is 0-2 after its first weekend of World League with two losses to host Poland.

The United States is the defending champion of World League, which is the premier international men’s volleyball tournament. Teams play six weekends of pool play in hopes of qualifying for the Final Round and a check for $1 million.

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USC alumnus Murphy Troy returned to the starting lineup at opposite on Sunday, allowing Matt Anderson to move back to outside hitter. Both players took advantage with Anderson leading all scorers with 19 points on 15 kills, two block and two aces. Troy added 16 points on 12 kills, three blocks and one ace.

 David Smith and Matt Anderson
   Max Holt and Matt Anderson block against Iran.

Setter Micah Christenson, another USC Trojan alum, had a big impact for a second night, leading in aces with three along with three kills and one block. He was also credited with 23 running sets.

“He continues to improve,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said of Christenson. “He’s served very well the last couple nights. He’s a setter who can block. If he continues to improve he has an opportunity to be one of the best setters in the world.”

Iran was led by Amir Ghafour, who had 13 points on 12 kills and one ace.

The U.S. led all aspects of the match: holding the advantage in kills (54-37), blocks (12-4) and aces (9-4).

Troy, who missed Saturday’s match for a wedding, said he learned something about Iran while watching video.

“What jumped out to me about watching last night’s match on video today, I thought their opposite, No. 1 (Shahram Mahmoudi), played really well,” Troy said. “That was my first impression and we had to find a way to stop that guy.”

Mahmoudi started Saturday’s match, but was replaced by Ghafour in the first set.

Sunday'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

Sunday's stats:
Points: Anderson 19, Troy 16, Russell 13, Holt 10, Smith 10, Christenson 7
Kills: Anderson 15, Murphy 12, Troy 12, Holt 7, Smith 5, Christenson 3
Blocks: Troy 3, Smith 3, Holt 3, Anderson 2, Christenson 1
Aces: Christenson 3, Anderson 2, Smith 2, Russell 1, Troy 1
Digs: Shoji 9, Russell 7, Christenson 7, Troy 6, Holt 3, Smith 3, Anderson 3

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)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
19. Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawaii)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
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