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USA Volleyball’s response to COVID-19 and guidelines toward Return to Play.

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 2, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team went back to the basics on Wednesday – serving and passing – and defeated Italy, 19-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-19 at the FIVB World Cup in Fukuoka, Japan.

The U.S. Men (1-1) will get a rest day before their next match against Poland (1-0) on Oct. 3 at 11 p.m. PT. All World Cup matches are being broadcast in the U.S. on FloVolleyball.tv.

Related: OFFICIAL STATISTICS

A day after a tough five-set loss to Argentina, U.S. Men’s Head Coach John Speraw stuck with his same starting lineup, with the exception of middle blocker David Smith in place of Jeff Jendryk.

Italy, meanwhile, brought a different team to Japan than the one it used to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games. The U.S. started slow, but gained momentum against the young Italian squad.

“I think we stayed cool and calm,” middle blocker Max Holt said. “They played really well that first set. It took time for us to get down our game plan and figure out what they were doing. Once we did that, I think we played really well and settled in.”

The U.S. led in kills (51-34) and aces (13-3). Italy led in blocks (9-6). Italy scored 31 points on U.S. errors and committed 24.

The U.S. kill percentage was 51.5 behind setter Micah Christenson while Italy’s was 37.8.

Five U.S. starters scored in double figures.

Opposite Matt Anderson and outside hitter Aaron Russell led the U.S. with 16 points apiece. Each player had 12 kills and four aces.

Holt scored 13 points on seven kills, three blocks and three aces. Outside hitter Garrett Muagututia finished with 12 points on 11 kills and one block. Middle blocker David Smith had 10 points on eight kills and two blocks.

Setter Micah Christenson scored three points on two aces and one kill.

Libero Erik Shoji recovered nicely from Monday’s loss to Argentina and made strong plays in the back row.

Italy closed out the first set with a 5-0 run.

The second-set score was tied 5-5 when Russell served two aces in a row and Muagututia added a kill to put the U.S. up 8-5. Italy never recovered.

Leading the third set 14-12, the U.S. finished with a 11-2 scoring run, including an ace from Anderson and an apparent ace from Saeta.

The fourth set was tied 16-16 when the U.S. scored four straight points and never looked back.

U.S. STARTERS VS ITALY
Outside hitters: Aaron Russell and Garrett Muagututia
Middle blockers: Max Holt and David Smith
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
Substitute: Michael Saeta (SS)

U.S. STATISTICS VS ITALY
Kills: Anderson 12, Russell 12, Muagututia 11, Smith 8, Holt 7, Christenson 1
Blocks: Holt 3, Smith 2, Muagututia 1
Aces: Anderson 4, Russell 4, Holt 3, Christenson 2