An appearance by Canadian DJ twins Nervo halfway through Team USA's 23-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-20 victory over host Canada in Ottawa on Sunday seemed to pump up the Americans in the finale of the third weekend of play of the FIVB Volleyball National League.
Team USA (7-2) plays its next round near Chicago beginning Friday. The Americans host Iran, Poland and Serbia for three days of FIVB Volleyball Nations League matches at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. The U.S. opens with Serbia on Friday, plays Poland on Saturday and meets Iran on Sunday.
With six matches remaining, the Americans are in fourth place and need to finish among the top six to advance to the Final Round, July 1-4, in France.
Benjamin Patch got into the groove, recording 18 points on 14 kills, three aces and a block. He credited the atmosphere for inspiration.
“It was a team effort, it wasn’t just about one person, “ said Patch. “I enjoyed some sick music. There was a great vibe and we as a team are feeling good.”
The Americans outblocked Canada, 14-3, and Matthew Anderson and Maxwell Holt each scored 15 points.
“We lost the first set, but I thought we played really good volleyball,” USA captain David Smith said. “Canada was playing great as well. We were serving well and they were passing well and that happens sometimes. I think we were able to stay calm and stay focused and believe in ourselves and eventually things started working our way.”
Losing their first match was tough to take for the Americans but they played with the kind of intensity against the Canadians, which proved difficult to handle.
“I think our plan was to try and start off the match a bit better than we have been doing so far in VNL,” U.S. coach John Speraw said. “I’m not so sure that actually happened, maybe we were a little bit better, but we didn’t capitalize on a lot of opportunities we had to score real points. We dropped that first set, and came back pretty well the next couple sets.”
Nervo gave the players a bit of extra rest by entertaining the crowd with their new song 'Worlds Collide,' after the U.S. tied the match at 1-1.
The U.S. also led in kills (53-43) and aces (6-3). The United States scored 25 points on Canada’s errors while committing 28.
A dramatic fourth set saw the U.S. pull away from a 17-17 tie behind Anderson's serving to lead 21-17. Speraw received a yellow card for disputing a call with the referee, but the U.S. stayed calm and went on to the victory.
Stanford grad Erik Shoji served as the libero and Cardinal grad Kawika Shoji got into the match as a sub.