USA Volleyball Features U.S. Men Extend Win ...

U.S. Men Extend Win Streak to Three

By BJ Evans | June 06, 2014, 11 p.m. (ET)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (June 6, 2014) – The United States held off Russia’s comeback and extended their 2014 World League winning streak to three with a 3-2 (25-17, 27-25, 20-25, 27-25, 15-12) victory over Russia on Friday at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach.

  From left, Matt Anderson, and David Lee block against Russia.

Russia (0-3) will look for its first 2014 World League win when the two teams play again at 7 p.m. PT on Saturday at the Pyramid.

With the U.S. leading in sets 2-0, Russia changed out its setter and turned up the blocking, tallying five in the third set. In the fourth set it came back from a 21-17 deficit to win 27-25. But the U.S. won the fifth set to take the victory.

“Russia played better as the match went on,” U.S. Team Captain Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) said. “We are a little bit disappointed that we let down a little bit. But the important thing, in the end, was that we prefer to win the fifth set.

“We know Russia will play better tomorrow, and we for sure have to play better tomorrow.”

The U.S. attack was in high gear as it led in kills, 76-46 and its serving was also tough with six aces to Russia’s one. Team USA led in blocks 6-1. But Russia also converted 36 U.S. errors to points while committing 18.

“Our team has the ability to be a good ball control team,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said. “There were some moments in the match in which we did not control the ball as well as we could.”

U.S. opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all scorers on Friday with 34 points on 31 kills, one block and two aces. Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added 22 points on 18 attacks, two blocks and two kills.

Denis Biriukov led Russia with 22 points on 20 attacks, one block and one kill.


  • June 7 USA vs Russia at Long Beach, Calif.:, Phone: 562-985-4949
  • June 13-14 USA vs Serbia at Chicago:, Phone: 800-745-3000
  • June 20-21 USA vs Bulgaria at Hoffman Estates, Ill.:, Phone: 888-SEARS-TIX
  • Group Ticket Discounts for Serbia and Bulgaria matches: Call 847-649-2368

Among other U.S. scorers, middle blocker Max Holt scored 13 points on nine attacks, three blocks and one ace. David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) totaled 12 points on nine kills and three blocks.

Outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), who started the first three sets finished with six points on six attacks. Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Colo.), who took over for Rooney in the third and finished the match, had six points on four attacks, one block and one ace.

Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) had one point on a block. He was credited with 41 runnings sets and one fault. The U.S. Men finished with a hitting efficiency of .385.

Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) was credited with 31 excellent receptions and eight digs.

The first-set score was tied 15-15 when Team USA scored on Russia’s passing error and followed with two straight kills behind the serving of Sander. By the end of the run, the United States led 20-15 and Russia did not respond. Sander led the U.S. with five points on three kills, one block and one ace.

Russia led 17-15 in the second set, but the U.S. came back with three straight points to lead 18-17. Russia brought Dmitry Kovalev in to set and the teams battled back and forth. Team USA reached set point at 24-22, but Russia fought it off with a block and kill to tie at 24-24. Sander scored with a back-row kill for a third set point, but the next U.S. serve went out of bounds. Finally, Anderson finished the set with two straight kills.

Russia jumped out to a 9-5 lead in the third set as they turned up the heat with their blocking. The U.S. pulled back to within one at 15-14, but its next serve went out and Russia scored two more points to return the lead to four and held the lead to the end. Russia had five blocks in the set.

The U.S. looked to have the fourth set in hand with a 21-17 lead. But Russia stormed back and took set point at 24-23. The U.S. tied the score, but Russia took the lead again at 25-24 and then 26-25. An ace from Savin gave Russia the victory.

The score was tied 3-3 in the fifth set when the U.S. used a 3-0 run, including two big blocks, to take the lead. Russia never threatened.

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: Russia at U.S. Men at Long Beach, Calif. (Walter Pryamid)
Tickets:, Phone: 562-985-4949

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

June 20-21: Bulgaria at U.S. Men in Hoffman Estates (Sears Centre Arena)
Tickets:, 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

head shot

Matt Anderson

head shot

Micah Christenson

head shot

Carson Clark

head shot

Max Holt

head shot

David Lee

head shot

Paul Lotman

head shot

Garrett Muagututia

head shot

Sean Rooney

head shot

Taylor Sander

head shot

Erik Shoji

head shot

Kawika Shoji

head shot

David Smith