Sports


U.S. men complete volleyball comeback to reach quarterfinals

 

The United States men's Olympic volleyball team beat North American rivals Mexico, 25-23, 25-11, 25-19, in Pool A, to qualify for the quarterfinals of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracanazinho on Monday.

The U.S. meets Poland in the quarterfinal round.

Depending on how other matches go, the Americans could finish anywhere from second to fourth in Pool A.

If they place fourth, they would meet Pool B winner Argentina. A second or third place finish would mean a drawing to determine if it would play the second- or third-place from Pool B.

Murphy Troy had a great offensive stint, as he recorded 10 kills and a pair of blocks. Taylor Sander also scored 12 points, including three blocks.

USA felt the pressure offensively and defensively in the first set, while the Mexican players got more involved and capitalised on the shaky start of their rivals, taking a 21-20 edge.

USA got the final break on two consecutive errors by their rivals to end the first set on top, 25-23.

It was all the Americans in the final two sets as Matt Anderson rested and Stanford grad Kawika Shoji played the third set.

"I am really happy to get this win and move on to the quarterfinals, when early on in this tournament it looked like it was going to be a difficult challenge," U.S. coach John Speraw said. "We survived and persevered when things weren't really looking good. We're proud of the team for the way they have grown in the course of this tournament."

David Lee added 11 points on seven kills, two blocks and a pair of aces.

"It was a huge win for our team because we needed to advance to the quarterfinals," Troy said. "In the first set we came a little bit tight. We were a little bit focused on not losing instead of playing to win, but we bounced back after the first set. It was good for us to feel a little pressure to play at a high level."

Cardinal grad Erik Shoji turned in another solid effort at libero and Maxwell Holt added five aces.

"We found our rhythm in the next two sets and we stayed aggressive," Holt said. "That helped us get the win."

— FIVB/USA volleyball

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