CHICAGO, Ill. (June 13, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team won the battle of unbeaten teams in the 2014 FIVB World League on Friday with a sweep of Serbia, 30-28, 25-20, 25-16 at the Pavilion at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
|The U.S. Men celebrate during a match against Serbia.|
Team USA improved to 5-0, its best World League record since 2000. Serbia fell to 4-1. The teams will play again on Saturday at 7 p.m. CT at the Pavilion.
After a first-set battle that saw Team USA hold off five Serbia set points and come back to win, Serbia seemed to lose its fire. Its second-set comeback fell short and it never threatened the U.S. lead in the third set.
“I felt that we were lucky in some ways to win that first set,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said. “From then on, I thought that the offense of Taylor Sander and Matt Anderson was so efficient and we passed the ball so well that we were playing at a very high level offensively. I expect a better match tomorrow.”
The U.S. Men led in kills (51-37), in blocks (8-6), in aces (6-4) and in digs (22-16).
U.S. opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all scorers with 25 points on a match-high 22 kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) added 15 points on 14 attacks and one ace.
- 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
Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati) totaled eight points on four attacks, a match-high three blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) added six points on five kills and one block. Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored six points on four attacks, one block and one ace.
Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) totaled five points on two kills, one block and a match-high two aces. He was credited with 19 running sets and one fault and set the U.S. Men to a .460 hitting efficiency.
Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) was credited with a match-high eight digs and 12 excellent receptions. Rooney led the team in receptions with 13.
“We had the opportunity the close the first set, but we didn’t,” Serbian Captain Dragan Stankovic said. “Then after that everything fell apart.”
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Aleksandar Atanasijevic led Serbia with 13 points on 13 attacks. Nikola Kovacevic added 11 points on eight attacks, two blocks and one ace.
Speraw started Sander and Rooney at outside hitter, Holt and Lee at middle blocker, Anderson at opposite, Christenson at setter and Shoji at libero. Kawika Shoji (Honolulu) played as a serving substitute.
Serbia looked to have won the first set when they reached 24-22, but the U.S. called timeout and tied the score. Team USA fought off set point three more times and took their first lead at 28-27. Serbia tied the score with a kill, but Sander gave the U.S. another lead with a kill and Holt ended things with an ace. Anderson led all scorers with eight points on eight attacks.
The United States seemed to have the second set well in hand with an 18-13 lead. Serbia used a 6-2 run to pull to within one at 20-19. Team USA called timeout and came back with a 5-1 run, including two kills from Anderson, and won the set. Anderson scored 10 points in the set and Sanders added five. Kovacevic led Serbia with five points.
The United States took an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout of the third set and improved to 16-8 at the second break. Serbia never threatened.
U.S. Men’s Roster for World League Matches in Chicago, Ill.
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)
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: USA def Serbia, 30-28, 25-20, 25-16
June 14: 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