ROME, Italy (June 25, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team tightened up its middle attack and beat the team from Down Under, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 on Saturday at the Pala Lottomatica in Rome.
The victory improves the U.S. record to 4-1 while Australia falls to 0-5. The U.S. Men will finish their three-match series in Rome against host Italy (4-1) on Sunday.
Opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led the U.S. with 18 points on 11 kills, a match-high three blocks and a team-high four aces.
“We’re passing really well, we’re serving strong and our blocking defense is doing good things for us,” Anderson said. “I think our transition needs to be a little bit better. But it comes down to our offense.”
The U.S. Men got good offensive production from its back-row attacks and quick sets to the middle blockers. As a team, the U.S. hit .584 behind setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii).
“We were really good from the middle of the court,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “For both your middles to hit over .900 is a really good night.
“I like the fact that the middle of the court was better tonight. That’s been a strength of ours. For us to get our BIQ and our quick hitting at a high level I think will be important for us down the stretch.”
Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) was credited with 13 digs.
Paul Carroll led Australia with 20 points on 19 kills and one ace.
Australia benefitted from a strong first-set serving run by Jordan Richards that took it from a 19-17 lead to a 22-17 advantage. Strong serving from Richards and teammate Nathan Roberts helped Australia to a 9-3 lead in the third set. But with Australia leading 11-5, McDonnell got the serve and held it until the U.S. led 12-11. The U.S. Men went on to win the set and the fourth.
Starters vs. Australia
Outside Hitters: Reid Priddy and Thomas Jaeschke
Middle Blockers: David Smith and Dan McDonnell
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Statistics vs. Australia
Kills: Reid Priddy 14, Matt Anderson 11, Dan McDonnell 11, David Smith 11, Thomas Jaeschke 9, Micah Christenson 1
Blocks: Anderson 3, Christenson 1, Jaeschke 1, Smith 1, Priddy 1
Aces: Anderson 4, Smith 2, Jaeschke 1
Digs: Erik Shoji 13, Christenson 5, Anderson 5, Priddy 5, Jaeschke 2, McDonnell 1
U.S. Roster for FIVB World League in Rio de Janeiro
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1. Matt Anderson (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)
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, 6-7, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
13. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
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
Assistant Coaches: Matt Fuerbringer and Mike Wall
Team Manager: Erik Sullivan
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Medical Support: Andrea Becker
Consultant Coach: Anton Brams
2016 U.S. Schedule for the FIVB World League
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
June 16: USA def Argentina, 26-24, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22
June 17: USA def Iran, 23-25, 25-13, 27-25, 26-24
June 18: Brazil USA, 25-15, 25-13, 22-25, 25-22
June 24: USA def Belgium, 17-25, 25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 15-10
June 25: USA def Australia, 20-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20
June 26: USA v Italy
July 1: USA v Bulgaria
July 2: USA v Australia
July 3: USA v Russia
Final Round: July 13-17 in Krakow, Poland