LOS ANGELES (Aug. 26, 2015) – Trojans Murphy Troy and Micah Christenson returned to the Galen Center and led the U.S. Men’s National Team to its first 2015 USA Volleyball Cup win over Brazil, 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11 on Wednesday at the University of Southern California (USC).
There is one more match in the series, on Saturday (Aug. 29) at the Bren Center in Irvine, Calif. The U.S. Men are using the USAV Cup to prepare for the FIVB World Cup (Sept. 8-23 in Japan), which is their first chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.
At setter, Christenson, who finished his career at USC in May, helped the U.S. Men lead in kills (69-68) and a .500 hitting efficiency as compared to Brazil’s .430. Troy, who was the 2011 AVCA Player of the Year while playing for USC, led all scorers with 23 points on a match-high 22 kills and one block.
“The last two games against these guys, we had a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances, and we just couldn’t stay consistent through the end of the set,” Troy said. “I thought tonight we competed really hard. (Brazil) made a lot of great plays. I think we picked it up a little bit in the fifth. Our transition game was really good in the fifth.”
The U.S. dominated the blocking (10-4), led by middle blocker Russell Holmes who finished with a match-high of four. Christenson served three of the United States’ six aces. Brazil led in aces with seven.
Outside hitter Taylor Sander added 21 points on 18 kills, one block and two aces. Outside hitter Aaron Russell added 19 points on 18 kills and one block.
Russell credited some of his team’s success to some soul searching.
“We’ve been having a lot of long talks in the locker room after the past few matches,” he said, “I think we stayed positive and fought together as a team and didn’t get caught up in the lulls that are a natural part of volleyball.”
Outside hitter Luis Felipe Fonteles and opposite Renan Buiatti each scored 17 points for Brazil.
“When you’re playing friendly matches like this, teams don’t always play peak-performance volleyball for stretches,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “But I think both teams are learning. I expect a really well-played match on Saturday night.”
Things didn’t look great in the first set when the U.S. held a 17-12 lead, but let Brazil come back and tie it at 20-20 and eventually take the 26-24 victory. The score was tied 19-19 in the second set when the U.S. used a 3-0 run, including kills by Sander and Russell, to take the lead for good.
The U.S. jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the third set and led by five at 22-17 as it coasted to the win. Brazil, however, wasn’t giving up and led 20-16 in the fourth set. The U.S. came back to tie it at 21-21, but the effort stalled as Brazil scored the final four points.
The tie-breaker was tied 6-6 when the U.S. scored twice on Brazil’s service error and a Sander kill. Brazil came back and scored with an attack, but the U.S. added three straight points on a Holmes kill, Russell block and Sander kill and the U.S. went on to secure the win.
Outside hitter: Taylor Sander and Aaron Russell
Middle blocker: Russell Holmes and David Smith
Opposite: Murphy Troy
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Kills: Troy 22, Russell 18, Sander 18, Holmes 7, Smith 3, Christenson 1
Blocks: Holmes 4, Smith 2, Russell 1, Sander 1, Troy 1, Christenson 1
Ace: Christenson 3, Taylor 2, Holmes 1
USAV Cup Schedule and Results
Aug. 23: Brazil def USA, 20-25, 25-23, 36-34, 20-25, 15-13
Aug. 25: Brazil def USA, 25-17, 25-22, 25-22
Aug. 26: USA def Brazil, 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11
Aug. 29: USA v Brazil at Bren Center (UC Irvine)
U.S. USAV Cup Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
5. Ryan Ammerman (S, 6-9, Denver, Colo., UC Irvine)
6. Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
13. Kris Johnson (MB, 6-11, Long Beach, Calif., California Baptist University)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
16. Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
Brazil's Roster for USAV Cup
1 Bruno Rezende (setter)
2 Isac Santos (middle blocker)
3 Eder Carbonera (middle blocker)
5 Otavio Pinto (middle blocker)
9 Raphael de Oliveira (setter)
10 Sergio Santos (libero)
12 Luis Felipe Fonteles (outside hitter)
16 Lucas Saatkamp (middle blocker)
17 Evandro Guerra (opposite)
18 Ricardo Lucarrelli dos Santos (outside hitter)
19 Mario Pedreira Jr (libero)
20 Renan Buiatti (opposite)
22 Mauricio Borges Silva (outside hitter)
25 Lucas Loh (outside hitter)
Head Coach: Bernardo Rezende