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

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

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Aug. 7, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team didn’t start the 2016 Olympic Games the way it wanted as it fell, 25-23, 25-17, 25-23 to Canada on Sunday at the Maracanazinho arena.

The U.S. will try to rebound on Tuesday when it plays Italy (1-0) at 2 p.m. ET.

First-set errors set the stage for a difficult match for the U.S. The U.S. gave up 15 points on errors in the first set while Canada only gave up six. The second set saw the scored tied at 15-15 when Canada went on a 10-2 run to finish the set.

Passing proved problematic in the third set. In the end, Canada scored 28 points on U.S. errors while committing 16.

“I knew we were in for a battle,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “I didn’t think we’d come out and perform like that, particularly from the service line in the first set. Actually, going in, I felt like we were in a pretty good place mentally.”

Five out of the seven U.S. starters had no Olympic experience. But they have performed well in major competitions, including winning the 2014 FIVB World League and the 2015 FIVB World Cup.

“These guys have proven themselves on the biggest stages,” Team Captain David Lee said. “You hope it’s just nerves. That’s very uncharacteristic of these young players to make some of the errors they did in some of the moments they did. I expect them to be extremely motivated in the matches to come.”

U.S. outside hitter Taylor Sander admitted the Olympic Games are bigger than he expected.

“There are so many more athletes than I thought there were,” he said. “It’s a cool experience.”

Opposite Matt Anderson led all scorers with 15 points on 13 kills and two blocks. Outside hitter Aaron Russell added 12 points on 12 kills.

The U.S. and Canada tied in kills, 36-36. The U.S. led in aces 4-2 while Canada led in blocks, 9-7.

U.S. Starters vs Canada
Outside Hitters: Taylor Sander and Aaron Russell
Middle Blockers: Max Holt and David Lee
Setter: Micah Christenson
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Libero: Erik Shoji

U.S. Statistics vs Canada
Kills: Anderson 13, Russell 12, Holt 4, Sander 4, David Lee 2, Reid Priddy 1
Blocks: Holt 3, Anderson 2, Lee 2
Aces: Lee 1, Holt 1, Christenson 1, Sander 1
Digs: Erik Shoji 4, Anderson 3, Russell 3, Christenson 2, Holt 1