Sports

USA men get back on winning track in volleyball

Walsh and May-Treanor play for beach volleyball gold in Finland

Stanford junior Erik Shoji recorded seven digs and seven receptions and helped the United States men's volleyball team keep its mistakes to a minimum in a 25-21, 24-26, 25-10, 27-25 victory over Sweden at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China on Saturday.

Stanford grad Brad Lawson added four kills as the Americans (4-3) advanced to the 13th-place match against Norway/Mexico on Sunday.

The U.S. dropped into the consolation tournament after losing a tough five-setter to Thailand on Wednesday. The Americans also lost in five sets to Japan on Friday. In both matches, the U.S. committed a high volume of unforced errors.

The Americans limited their own team errors to 18 and scored 39 points as a result of Swedish errors.

UC Irvine's Carson Clark led all scorers with 16 kills and two aces. USC's Tri Bourne added 11 kills, five blocks, 10 receptions, and an ace.

Beach volleyball

The U.S. women's beach volleyball team of Misty May-Treanor and Stanford grad Kerri Walsh will play for the gold medal while Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers have advanced to the semifinals at the 2011 FIVB Beach Volleyball Swatch World Tour Paf Open in Aland, Finland.

The fourth-ranked May-Treanor and Walsh faced China's Chen Xue and Xi Zhang in Saturday's gold medal match.

"Somewhere deep in my heart, I really wanted us to play Juliana and Larissa because they kicked our butts last night and I wanted to show them what we can really do," Walsh told the FIVB. "But the Chinese are a very good team. I know they've played a lot of three-set games, but they are still dangerous."

The U.S. pair opened Friday by defeating Germany's 26th-seeded Jana Köhler and Julia Sude in the consolation bracket, 21-8, 21-9 in 24 minutes. They advanced to the semifinals where the U.S. team beat Brazil's third-ranked Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli, 22-20, 21-14 in 34 minutes.

The 11th-ranked U.S. team of Stanford grad Matt Fuerbringer and Nick Lucena finished the tournament on Friday tied for 13th. They opened with a consolation bracket victory over Switzerland's 21st-ranked Martin Laciga and Jonas Weingart, 21-19, 21-10 in 34 minutes.

But in the next round, Fuerbringer and Lucena fell to Poland's third-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel, 24-22, 22-20 in 49 minutes.

Men's youth volleyball

James Shaw used to watch former Stanford All-Americans Kevin Hansen, now with the men's national team, and Kawika Shoji, currently at the Word University Games in China, set the tone of matches as setters. Now the Menlo Park native and high school senior (St. Francis) is doing his own setting with the United States men's national youth team.

Shaw, a backup who saw action in three sets, was part of the U.S. team's 25-16, 25-21, 27-29, 34-36, 17-15 victory over Egypt on Friday in its first match of Pool A at the FIVB Volleyball Boys' Youth World Championship in Argentina.

Shaw grew up around volleyball as father Don Shaw coached the Stanford women's volleyball team to several national titles before moving over to the men's program.

Team USA plays Bulgaria on Saturday.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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