Search American men settle FIVB volleyball debate with Iran

American men settle FIVB volleyball debate with Iran ... 16/06/2017 Sports

Keywords:#American, #Brazil, #Cardinal, #FIVB, #France, #Iran,, #Poland, #Russia, #Saturday, #Stanford, #USA, #United_States, #World_League

The U.S. men's national volleyball team held off five set points in the third set to defeat Iran, 25-17, 25-22, 30-28, on Thursday in an FIVB World League match in Katowice, Poland.
Benjamin Patch, Micah Christenson and Stanford grad Erik Shoji from Team USA celebrate winning a point. Photo courtesy of FIVB.

* * * The U.S. improved to 3-4 in World League play while Iran falls to 3-4. The U.S. is fighting to finish pool play among the top five teams as the top five advance to the Final Round (July 5-9) in Curitiba, Brazil. Brazil qualifies automatically as the host country.
After a travel day on Friday, the U.S. faces Russia (3-4) for a second time on Saturday.
“It was a difficult match, because Iran is such a good team," U.S. coach John Speraw said. "We got a very nice score and I am proud with the way we responded came come back in the third set. I don’t feel any stress. We still have an opportunity to make it to the Finals, but the most important thing to this group is to learn and keep getting better with every match. Russia is very big and physical. We played together in France but of course we have a lot of motivation and it will be a very different match.”
Outside hitter Taylor Sander was named match MVP after finishing with 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. He was also strong on defense with four digs and 10 excellent receptions.
“That’s a big win for us,” Sander told the FIVB. “We’re still getting better. I think Ben Patch did an amazing job tonight for us.”
Opposite Patch led all scorers with 24 points on a match-high 21 kills and a match-high three blocks. Middle blocker David Smith totaled 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and one ace.
The U.S. cut their team errors in half from their previous match against France, finishing with 15 while Iran struggled with 25. The United States led in kills (50-34) and blocks (12-5) and the teams were tied in aces (3-3).
U.S. setter Micah Christenson helped his team to a .448 hitting efficiency while Iran finished at .188.
Libero Erik Shoji, a Stanford grad, was credited with eight digs, one of which landed for a point after outside hitter T.J. DeFalco made a tremendous save out of bounds, Shoji passed it over and Iran let it drop.
"I am very happy about our performance. It is not easy to play against Iran. They have a very good team with a different style of volleyball. I think we played really, really well through two and half sets," U.S. captain and Cardinal grad Kawika Shoji said. "We didn’t play so well in the third set, but we finished very strong. It’s important to get three points. I just can say that everyone played well in team USA. For this season we really want to get together some young players with some experienced to grow as a team. We want to play good in the World League and we want to keep improving and hopefully we will find our true team in the end of the World League."
In the third set, the United States led 11-6. Iran came back to tie it at 16-16 and went on to lead 22-18. Iran took set point at 24-20 on a kill. Smith responded with a kill and Iran sent its next hit out of bounds. Patch scored off the block to make it 24-23 and Smith served an ace to tie the score.
Smith’s next serve hit the net to give Iran another set point at 25-24, but Sander held it off with a kill. A kill from Jeff Jendryk gave the U.S. its first match point, but Iran blocked Patch. The U.S. took match points at 27-26 and 28-27. At 28-28, Patch scored off the block and Smith finished off the match with a kill.
— USA volleyball
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