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U.S. Men Win First USAV Cup Battle with Iran

By BJ Evans | Aug. 09, 2014, 10 p.m. (ET)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (Aug. 9, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team quieted a largely pro-Iranian crowd with a 27-25, 25-21, 27-29, 25-17 victory in the first of four USA Volleyball Cup matches on Saturday at the Galen Center at the University of Southern California.

The crowd was estimated at 5,230, many of whom cheered passionately for Iran.

The teams will play three more friendly USAV Cup matches in preparation for the upcoming 2014 FIVB World Championship:

“I thought it was a tremendous environment for our guys,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said. “I think it was nice for some of the guys who didn’t get an opportunity in World League to play in this kind of environment.”

The U.S. Men led in kills (59-56) and aces (10-4) while the teams tied in blocks (8-8).

U.S. outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all scorers with 23 points on 15 kills, a match-high five aces and a match-high three blocks. Opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.), who was a collegiate star at USC, added 16 points on 16 kills.

Another former USC collegiate star, outside hitter Tony Ciarelli (Huntington Beach, Calif.), totaled 14 points on 12 kills and two aces.

“The last match I played here was the (NCAA) National Championship game in 2012 and the atmosphere today was pretty similar to that,” Ciarelli said. “The two most unbelievable matches I’ve played in the United States.”

Middle blocker Nick Vogel (San Diego, Calif.), who played at crosstown rival UCLA, scored 10 points on seven attacks, two blocks and one ace. Middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) totaled 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and one ace.

Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii), who will be back at USC to play his senior season in the spring, scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace. Opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) totaled three points on three kills and middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) had one point with an ace.

Libero Alfee Reft (Oxnard, Calif.) was credited with 23 receptions, 57 percent positive. Anderson was credited with 40 receptions, 62 percent positive.

Speraw started Anderson and Ciarelli at outside hitter, Troy at opposite, Vogel and Holmes at middle blocker, Christenson at setter and Reft at libero.

Amir Ghafour led Iran with 21 points on 19 attacks, one block and one ace.

U.S. Roster for USAV Cup Match on Aug. 9, 2014
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State) 
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
4. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
6. Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
10. Tony Ciarelli (OH, 6-6, Huntington Beach, Calif., USC)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California) 
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-9, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
14. Jeff Menzel (OH, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UCSB)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
16. Riley McKibbin (S, 6-2, Honolulu, Hawaii, USC)
19. Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawaii)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Nick Vogel (MB, 6-9, San Diego, Calif., UCLA)

Related Athletes

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Matt Anderson

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Micah Christenson

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Carson Clark

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Russell Holmes

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Paul Lotman

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Aaron Russell

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David Smith

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Murphy Troy