Chicago turns out to be USA men's volleyball kind of town

Stanford grad Erik Shoji poses for a selfie with a fan after USA's five-set victory over Brazil on Saturday. Photo courtesy of FIVB.

Matt Anderson recorded 22 points, including 20 kills, and the U.S. men’s senior national volleyball team dropped Brazil 25-21, 17-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-9 in the semifinals of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League Final on Saturday in Chicago.

Taylor Sander added 17 points, including 15 kills, for the Americans (12-6, 3-0), who will meet Russia for the overall title on Sunday afternoon.

“They are reigning champions. We know how physical they are and how good they can be,” said USA’s Micah Christenson. “We will need to do our homework and get physically prepared to play another beast of a match. I wouldn’t be surprised it goes five again. We will need all the help we can get (from the crowd).”

“They are big boys. They jump high and hit hard and serve tough,” Anderson said. “But I think as long as we stay in our own heads and stay together as a team, we have a great chance.”

The U.S. is looking for its first major world level trophy since winning the 2015 World Cup. The last time they won a world level tournament on home soil was the gold medal at the Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games.

The Americans snapped a losing streak in the semifinals, having lost each of their last five semifinal matches in world level major tournaments dating to 2014.

— Palo Alto Sports Online/FIVB

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