Aaron Russell recorded a match-high 18 points and the United States men's national volleyball team pounded Iran 25-18, 22-25, 25-18, 25-12 in Wednesday's FIVB World Cup competition in Hiroshima.
Matt Anderson added 15 points for the Americans (5-1), who face Brazil (6-0) on Thursday morning, a key match as the U.S. seeks to defend its World Cup title.
"We always have great games against them," Stanford alum and American Libero Erik Sjhoji said. "It always seems to be a big moment. e played in the VNL semifinals against them this year and won in five. They're tough. They're at full strength almost and so are we."
U.S. setter Micah Christenson helped the Americans to a .559 kill percentage against the Iranians. Christenson also led the team with three blocks.
The U.S. dominated the match in kills (52-37), blocks (9-2) and aces (9-4). But Iran scored 30 points off errors while committing 27. Errors contributed to the second-set loss.
"Iran always gives us some kind of problem," said Shoji. "They're a very good team. They play all the way through and don't give up. They played better in the second set. Our level didn't stay up."
Stanford alum James Shaw is on the roster and saw his first action of the Cup in the Americans three-set sweep of Tunisia on Sunday. Shaw scored three points on two kills and an ace.
The U.S. is in second place with 16 points, two behind Brazil. Each match is worth three points, which includes a point for losing in five sets. Poland (5-1) is in third with 15 points.