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U.S. Men Hand Defending Champ 4th Loss

By BJ Evans | June 07, 2014, 11 p.m. (ET)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (June 7, 2014) – A packed house of 5,000 fans cheered on the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team to a 25-19, 25-23, 25-17 win over Russia on Saturday at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach.

  Matt Anderson goes for the kill against Russia in Long Beach.

Russia (0-4), the defending World League champion, is still looking for its first victory in 2014. The U.S. Men will move on to the University of Illinois – Chicago where they will play undefeated Serbia (4-0) on June 13-14.

One night after holding off a Russian comeback to win 3-2, the United States made it look much easier in front of a crowd of 5,000, leading in kills 41-38, in blocks 6-4 and in aces 4-1.

The United States also cleaned up its errors, committing 16 while scoring on 24 Russian miscues.

“I cannot say anything about the match without first talking about the fans,” U.S. Team Captain Sean Rooney said. “They were here before the game when the bus arrived. It was so outrageous. All the players loved it. Everybody felt so excited about the match at that moment.

“The match was not perfect. We definitely could have done a couple things better. But we put a lot pressure on ourselves on the second night of World League to do things better and to compete harder.”


  • June 13-14 USA vs Serbia at Chicago: ticketmaster.com, Phone: 800-745-3000
  • June 20-21 USA vs Bulgaria at Hoffman Estates, Ill.: searscentre.com, Phone: 888-SEARS-TIX
  • Group Ticket Discounts for Serbia and Bulgaria matches: Call 847-649-2368

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) added, “I know as we go through World League, we will continue to be challenged. As the weeks progress, the teams get better as we all have not had much time to prepare. Next time we play Russia, they will be better and on their home court. We are going to have to continue to work hard and improve.”

The United States’ opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all scorers with 15 points on 14 kills and one ace. Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Honolulu, Hawaii) added 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace.

Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) totaled nine points on five kills, a match-high three blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) added eight points on six attack and two aces.

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored four points on four kills and setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) had four points on three attacks and one ace.

Christenson was credited with eight running sets. Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) was credited with four digs and 10 excellent receptions. Sander led in digs with seven and in excellent receptions with 11.

Denis Biriukov paced Russia with 14 points on 13 attacks and one ace.

The U.S. jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first set and kept the lead at four or five until Russia used a 4-0 run to pull within one at 14-13. Russia’s next attack went long and Christenson followed with an ace to put Team USA back in control at 17-13. Russia never threatened again.

Russia led 13-11 in the second set when Team USA scored on a kill and block to tie it. The teams battled back and forth until the score was tied 21-21. Anderson connected on a kill and Holt followed with two straight blocks to give the United States set point. Russia’s attack and a U.S. error pulled the European side to within one, but Anderson ended the set with a kill.

The third-set score was tied 13-13 when the United States scored on Russia’s hitting error followed by a David Lee block that sparked a 4-0 run. Russia’s mistakes started to catch up to them and they could not catch the Americans.

U.S. Men’s Roster for World League Matches in Long Beach, Calif.
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College) 
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State) 
2. Sean Rooney (OH, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
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)
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)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
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: Anton Willert
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Doctor: William Stetson

U.S. Men's Schedule for the 2014 FIVB World League
May 24: USA def Bulgaria, 19-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 15-12
May 25: USA def Bulgaria, 19-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-17

June 6: USA def Russia, 25-17, 27-25, 20-25, 25-27, 15-12
June 7: USA def Russia, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17

June 13-14: Serbia at U.S. Men in Chicago (UIC Pavilion)
Tickets: ticketmaster.com, Phone: 800-745-3000

June 20-21: Bulgaria at U.S. Men in Hoffman Estates (Sears Centre Arena)
Tickets: searscentre.com, Phone: 888-SEARS-TIX

June 27-28: U.S. Men at Kaliningrad, Russia (Yantarny)

July 4: U.S. Men at Novi Sad, Serbia (SPC Vojvodina)
July 6: U.S. Men at Beograd, Serbia (Hala Pionir)

Final Round (must qualify): July 16-20 in Florence, Italy

Related Athletes

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Matt Anderson

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Micah Christenson

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Carson Clark

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Max Holt

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David Lee

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Paul Lotman

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Garrett Muagututia

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Sean Rooney

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Taylor Sander

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Erik Shoji

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Kawika Shoji

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David Smith