Despite a valiant comeback effort, the U.S. Men’s Volleyball fell to Brazil on July 13, 25-22, 25-18, 20-25, 28-26 in an FIVB World League match at the Maracanazinho arena.
The loss meant the U.S. Men’s team was mathematically eliminated from the FIVB World League Final Round and, following Sunday’s 3-0 defeat, finished with a record of 4-6. Brazil, which won Pool A, improved to 9-1 following its series with the Americans.
On July 13, Brazil led the U.S. in kills (59-48), in aces (5-3) and in digs (68-52). The U.S. led in blocks, 13-8. A sellout crowd of 11,600 cheered the South American side.
“I think that overall, the match was pretty close, numbers-wise,” U.S. Team Captain Matt Anderson said. “But the energy for most of the match was on the Brazilian side. They had a lot of momentum going into most of the sets.”
U.S. Head Coach John Speraw added: “I was disappointed that we couldn’t finish off that fourth set. Overall, I think it was about our ability to pass the ball and set the ball in the first couple sets that really hurt us, particularly in Rotation 1 in the first set.”
After dropping the first two sets, the U.S. Men rallied to win the third. In the fourth set, the U.S. fought off Brazil’s match point at 24-23 with a quick kill from David Lee. Paul Lotman’s ace gave it set point at 25-24, but his next serve went into the net. The U.S. reached set point again at 26-25 on Brazil’s service error, but two straight attacks by Wallace de Souza gave Brazil its second match point and Lucas Saatkamp sealed it with a kill.
When asked what would motivate the U.S. team in Sunday’s match, Anderson said, “When we play for the USA, we play with a lot of pride.”
Speraw praised the performance of the players he brought off the bench. “I was happy with the contributions of Kawika Shoji and Murphy Troy coming off the bench,” Speraw said. “I thought we played a little better. I was hopeful that we could push it to five, but Brazil played great. They are a better volleyball team than us.”
Shoji substituted for UCLA alumnus Kyle Caldwell in the second set and started the second and third sets. He was credited with 17 running sets and one fault on 70 attempts. The U.S. finished with a 36.6 kill percent and a .237 hitting efficiency. Brazil had a 43.1 kill percent and a .263 hitting efficiency.
Troy took over for Carson in the second set and started the third and fourth. He finished with nine points on eight attacks and one block.
Anderson led the U.S. with 17 points on 13 kills and a match-high four blocks. Middle blockers Lee and Max Holt each added 10 points. Lee scored on eight attacks and two blocks. Holt added eight kills, one block and one ace.
Outside hitter Lotman, who started the third and fourth sets for Tony Ciarelli totaled seven points on three attacks, three blocks and one ace. Clark finished with five points on two kills, two blocks and one ace. Ciarelli scored three points on three kills. Caldwell had two points on two kills and Shoji score one point with an attack.
Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) who leads all World League players in digs, led the U.S. on Saturday with 15. He was also credited with five excellent receptions while Anderson led the team with 11.
Ricardo Lucarelli Santos de Souza paced Brazil with 17 points on 16 attacks and one block. Wallace de Souza and Louis Saatkamp each added 16 points. Brazil did not put several of its usual starters on its 12-man roster, presumably saving them for the Final Round.
Brazil came out struggling in the first set and used its first timeout as the U.S. took a 4-0 lead. The U.S. led 8-3 at the first technical timeout (TTO), scoring on five Brazil errors. With the U.S. leading 13-7, Brazil went on a 4-0 scoring run behind the serving of Ricardo Lucarelli Santos de Souza to pull to within two at 13-11. The run ended on Brazil’s service error and the U.S. led 16-13 at the second TTO. With the U.S. leading 20-17, Eder Cabonera scored with a kill, giving the serve to Ricardo Lucarelli who served for four more points, giving Brazil the 22-20 lead. Brazil reached set point at 24-21. Holt responded with a kill, but Mauricio Borges Almeida Silva ended it for Brazil with a spike.
The two teams kept the score close to open the second set. With the scored tied 5-5, Brazil scored on a U.S. violation and kill from Mauriciao Borges to lead 7-5 and it led 8-6 at the first TTO. Coming out of the break, Lucas Saatkamp took the serve for Brazil and came through with four straight aces, followed by a Brazil kill to give the South Americans a 13-6 lead. With Brazil leading 18-9, the U.S. Men made a run sparked by Troy’s kill off the block followed by two straight Anderson attacks and an Anderson block to pull the U.S. within five at 18-13, but Brazil called timeout and the next U.S. serve ended up in the net. Brazil reached set point at 24-17, and after it served out of bounds, it won the set with a kill.
In the third set, the U.S. Men took a 5-1 lead Brazil came back with two straight kills, but the U.S. held the 8-4 advantage at the first TTO. The U.S. led by two at the second TTO, 16-14, but scored out of the break on an Anderson block and Brazil error to lead 18-14 and Brazil called timeout. Saatkamp ended the run with a kill, but nevertheless, the U.S. held the lead and reached set point at 24-20. Anderson’s kill off the block gave the U.S. its first set victory in Brazil.
The teams kept things close in the fourth set with Brazil holding the 8-7 lead at the first TTO. With Brazil leading 10-8, Lotman scored with a kill, giving Murphy the serve. The U.S. scored four more points – including attacks by Lee, Anderson and Murphy – to lead 13-10. With the U.S. leading 15-13, Brazil scored on two kills, a block of Anderson by Maricio Borges and a Borges kill to lead 17-15 and the U.S. called timeout, coming back with two straight points to tie the score at 17-17. Brazil reached match point at 24-23, but the U.S. fought it off with a quick kill from Lee. Lotman’s ace gave it set point at 25-24, but his next serve went into the net. The U.S. reached set point again at 26-25 on Brazil’s service error, but two straight attacks by Wallace de Souza gave Brazil its second match point and Lucas Saatkamp ended it with a kill.
Written by B.J. Hoeptner-Evans, USA Volleyball