U.S. Men Vanquish Venezuela

By B.J. Evans | Sept. 16, 2015, 1 a.m. (ET)

OSAKA, Japan (Sept. 16, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National Team continued its tough serving on Wednesday as it defeated Venezuela, 25-18, 25-16, 25-20 in an FIVB World Cup match at Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium.

The U.S. Men improved to 6-0 and will face Iran (2-4) on Thursday. Venezuela fell to 1-6.

The U.S. Men served for 12 aces against 15 serving errors on 74 attempts against Venezuela. Matt Anderson, who won the Most Impressive Player award, and Taylor Sander each had four aces. Aaron Russell and Max Holt each added two.

DATA VOLLEY STATISTICS | OFFICIAL STATISTICS | FIVB WORLD CUP PAGE

“Our service game was very good and continues to improve,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “I still think it can get better. If we can continue to make small improvements (in serving) and improve in other aspects of the game, I think we can continue to have a nice tournament.FIVB World Cup

The U.S. attack, led by setter Micah Christenson, was also on point as it finished with 33 kills and a .542 hitting efficiency. Anderson led is attacks with nine. Russell had eight and Sander finished with six.

The U.S. blocking was also tough as David Lee had three while Holt and Sander each finished with two. 

Toward the end of the third set, Murphy Troy was brought in for Anderson and David Smith subbed for Holt.

Now the U.S. Men must refocus and prepare for Iran. The two teams went 2-2 against each other during FIVB World League pool play over the summer, with each winning both matches at its home venues.

“Iran is a team that has many facets of the game unlocked and their playing really well,” Anderson said. “We have to pay attention to almost everything.

“The difficult thing about this tournament is how quickly you have to turn over and play your next opponent… Our focus is already shifting to Iran and finding out what they’re doing in this tournament that’s different from World League.”

Speraw said Iran’s offense is particularly tough.

“When Shahram Mahmoudi is healthy, and I’m not sure he will be, they can play very fast to area 2. That stresses your defense in a unique way in this tournament,” Speraw said. “Nobody else in this tournament plays as fast as Iran does.

“They also play with multiple middle blocker routes, so they run different routes, which is also unique for our opponents in this tournament.”

Mahmoudi, an outside hitter, has not played for Iran since he was apparently injured during the team’s first World Cup match against Argentina.

Wednesday's statistics
Kills: Anderson 9, Russell 8, Sander 6, Holt 4, Lee 4, Troy 2
Blocks: Lee 3, Holt 2, Sander 2, Anderson 1, Russell 1
Aces: Anderson 4, Sander 4, Russell 2, Holt 2
Digs: Russell 1, Christenson 1, Anderson 1, Sander 1, Shoji 1, Holt 1

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

U.S. Roster for the FIVB World Cup
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 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)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
16. Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
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

U.S. Schedule for the 2015 FIVB World Cup (All times PT)

Round 1 in Hiroshima
Sept. 8: USA def Australia, 25-23, 25-12, 25-15
Sept. 9: USA def Japan, 25-23, 21-25, 25-11, 25-14
Sept. 10: USA def Canada, 25-21, 25-20, 25-17
Sept. 11: USA def Italy, 25-18, 25-23, 29-27
Sept. 12: USA def Egypt, 25-20, 25-13, 25-21

Round 2 in Osaka
Sept. 15: USA def Venezuela, 25-16, 25-18, 25-20
Sept. 16 at 8:10 p.m. USA v Iran
Sept. 17 at 8:10 p.m. USA v Tunisia

Round 3 in Tokyo
Sept. 21 at 1:10 a.m. USA v Poland | TV Universal Sports, 6 p.m. ET
Sept. 22 at 1:10 a.m. USA v Russia | TV Universal Sports, 6 p.m. ET
Sept. 23 at 2:40 a.m. USA v Argentina | TV Universal Sports, 6 p.m. ET