COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 18, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team finished the first round of pool play undefeated as it beat Tunisia on Tuesday, 25-12, 25-18, 25-13 at the FIVB World Championship in Bari, Italy.
As the winner of Pool C, the U.S. Men (5-0) will travel to Sofia, Bulgaria for the second round of competition, which begins Sept. 21. They will share the second-round pool with Iran (4-1), Bulgaria (3-2) and Canada (3-2). All matches will be shown LIVE on Flovolleyball.tv, a subscription service chosen by the FIVB. FloVolleyball is offering a 20 percent discount this month only.
Serbia, Russia and Australia will also advance from Pool C while Cameroon (1-4) and Tunisia (0-5) have finished the tournament.
U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said the U.S. Men discussed staying focused before the match against winless Tunisia.
“I think you always have to respect the game and respect the process of these tournaments,” he said. “I think it’s not unusual for a team with nothing to lose to come out and play great volleyball.
“Even in between sets, even though we won pretty handily, we would talk about, ‘We could be a little bit better in transition. We could be a little bit better about how we are communicating some of those sets.’”
The U.S. Men’s serving was on fire as they led in aces, 17-2. Middle blocker Max Holt had a match-high six aces, including four in a row at the beginning of the third set. Outside hitter Taylor Sander had four aces and setter Micah Christenson scored on three.
“We talked about individual goals that we would have during this match,” Speraw said. “One of them was service runs. We wanted to see if a few of our guys could go on some good service runs. We obviously saw that.”
Holt used the match to perfect some new serves.
“I’m trying a few new serves, but the first couple matches didn’t go well,” Holt said. “I’m trying to groove one of them in. I felt in a groove tonight.”
The U.S. Men also led in kills (38-20) and blocks (7-2).
Sander led all scorers with 13 points, including a match-high nine kills, and Holt added 12. Outside hitter Aaron Russell scored 10 points. Christenson and middle blocker David Smith, who returned to the starting lineup, each finished with seven points.
Opposite Matt Anderson had six points. Opposite Ben Patch, who substituted for Anderson in the third sets score five points on three kills, one block and one ace.
Dan McDonnell, who played primarily as a serving substitute, score with an ace and outside hitter Jake Langlois, who also subbed, had a kill.
U.S. STARTERS V TUNISIA
Outside hitters: Taylor Sander and Aaron Russell
Middle blockers: Max Holt and David Smith
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Substitutes: Dan McDonnell (MB), Jake Langlois (OH), Ben Patch (MB)
U.S. STATISTICS V TUNISIA
Kills: Sander 9, Russell 8, Holt 5, Smith 5, Anderson 5, Patch 3, Langlois 1
Blocks: Christenson 2, Holt 1, Russell 1, Smith 1, Anderson 1, Patch 1
Aces: Holt 6, Sander 4, Chistenson 3, Russell 1, Smith 1, Patch 1, McDonnell 1
Digs: Sander 9, Christenson 8, E Shoji 6, Anderson 6, Russell 4, McDonnell 1
(All times PT)
Sept. 12: USA def Serbia, 15-25, 25-14, 21-25, 25-20, 15-20
Sept. 13: USA def Australia, 25-21, 25-20, 22-25, 23-25, 15-10
Sept. 15: USA def Russia, 25-23, 20-25, 25-23, 25-20
Sept. 16: USA def Cameroon, 25-18, 25-20, 25-14
Sept. 18: USA def Tunisia, 25-12, 25-18, 25-13