ŁODZ, Poland (Sept. 10, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team traveled from Krakow to Łódź (pronounced like Wudge) on Monday for the second round of the FIVB World Championship.
After a 3.5-hour bus ride, the team arrived at the hotel where the teams from Poland, Serbia and Italy are also staying. The U.S. Men will play Poland on Wednesday at 8:25 p.m. (2:30 p.m. ET) and will play Serbia on Thursday at 4:25 p.m. (10:25 a.m. ET). (U.S. World Championship matches will be shown LIVE on BeIN Sports TV and online. Check your local listings for more information.)
At a press conference on Tuesday, U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said, “We’re very excited to be here and move on in this tournament. The volleyball has been very challenging for us. I don’t think we have played our best volleyball. But we’re excited to play better this week.”
Reporters in Poland have been very inquisitive about why the 2014 World League champion U.S. Men did not play better volleyball in the first round of the World Championship.
“There are probably a number of factors, as there usually are,” Speraw said. “The most important thing is that we just have to keep getting better. I think playing in a challenging pool could be beneficial for our team and our growth and development. I was actually OK with some challenge. I was glad that it wasn’t easy. I think we need that in the long run to become a better volleyball team.
“We just have to make sure we learn our lesson so we don’t necessarily do this again next year going into the World Cup.”
At the final practice before the U.S. Men played Poland, Speraw told the team to compete with a sense of "playoff urgency."
Heading into the second round, U.S. outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) is fourth among all players in scoring with 87 points on 73 kills, 10 blocks and four aces. Opposite and outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) is eighth in scoring with 82 points on 71 kills, five block and six aces.
Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) is second among blockers with 19 blocks on 115 attempts and an average of .9 per set.
Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) is fourth among all setters. He is credited with 184 excellent sets and two faults on 401 attempts for an average of 8.78 excellent sets per set.
Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) is ninth in digs with 79 and 14 faults on 88 attempts.
How great are Polish volleyball fans?
During the U.S. Men’s match against Italy on Sunday, the 14,100 in attendance…
- Counted 1-2-3 in English when the U.S. was on offense and in Italian when Italy had the ball. The announcer also had the male fans counting in Italian and the female fans counting in English and vice versa.
- Mimicked the hand and arm motions of the referees as they did them.
- Waved their arms in unison as they sang “Volare” and “Que Sera Sera” in unison.