American men look like a million dollars in FIVB volleyball


The United States men's Olympic volleyball team completed a weekend sweep on its home turf, beating Russia, 35-33, 25-17, 25-21, in Dallas on Sunday in FIVB World League action.

The Americans (8-1) clinched their spot in the Super Final, which begins July 13 in Krakow, with a 25-14, 26-24, 25-15 victory over Australia on Saturday. They topped Bulgaria, 23-25, 25-21, 27-25, 25-21, on Friday.

The U.S. finished pool play in second place, behind Brazil. The Super Final is worth $1 million to the winning team.

Russia (5-4) is the defending Olympic champion, though it did not qualify for the final weekend.

The first set proved to be an exciting opening act, with Russia taking four set points and the U.S. reaching five. With the score tied at 33, U.S. middle blocker David Lee scored with a spike and outside hitter Taylor Sander followed with one of his own to give Team USA the win.

U.S. middle blocker Max Holt led all scorers with 14 points on a match-high five aces, a match-high three blocks and six spikes. Outside hitter Aaron Russell finished with 13 points on 12 attacks and one ace.

The U.S. offense was on-point, leading in spikes 47-31. The U.S. also led 7-2 in aces while Russia finished with nine blocks as compared to the United States' six.

Against Australia, The United States led in blocking (11-1), aces (10-4) and spikes (38-30).

Holt, playing in his first match since being injured during the first round of pool play in Rio de Janeiro, finished with 14 points, including a match-high four blocks and a match-high three aces.

"It felt great," Holt said. "I missed competing so much and it's just great to be out there with the team.

Warm-up hitting was interesting, but Micah did a really good job of finding me and then Kawika (Shoji) when he came in late in the third set."

Opposite Murphy Troy, who started in place of Matt Anderson, scored 14 points, including a match-high 13 kills. Russell finished with 13 points.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA volleyball


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