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WOW! USA Men World League Champions!

The USA Men upset #1 ranked Brazil to win the FIVB World League Championships. As Cody Kessel called it, the Volleyball Superbowl! Unfortunately, my wedding was a week too early and we missed the opportunity to watch professional volleyball in Italy on our honeymoon in Florence.  I’ll have to be sure to let me new wife know that she should better plan things in the future 😉

USA Men FIVB World League Champions

I don’t think you’ll get a better recap of the Final Match and the World League Championships than from USA Volleyball CEO Doug Beal:

WELL…….here we go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Pretty hard to script things much better than the way they played out.  The USA men just got better and better with each match here in the finals (and not be small amounts) to win our 2nd GOLD MEDAL in World League history with a 3-1 win over BRA.  The scores were 29,-21,20 and 23.  The 1st set was one of the best I’ve seen in a very long time as both teams played exceptional VB.  For the USA to win showed poise and a terrific level of sustained VB against an opponent that was near the top of their game; 2 of USA’s last 3 points came of one handed stuffs by Max Holt and David Lee, and were just great individual efforts.  With USA down in the 2nd set, 15-20 Coach Speraw put Garrett Muagututia in for Captain Sean Rooney and Garrett finished the match.  Several things of note; Sean had a very strong tourney and does a nice job as team captain, he had been particularly effective in the semi win over IRI; Garrett had not been on the court till he came in tonight against BRA, he got only 2 sets the rest of the match, but served, passed, blocked and defended like a vet; oh… and he killed both sets he got!!  Great sub at the right time by Coach Speraw and great performance from Garrett!!  You can read on the FIVB web site that our 1st year OH Taylor Sander got MVP and was more than deserving (as well as the rest of the individual awards)—-but it could have gone to our even younger setter Micah Christenson, or vet middle David Lee, or opp Matt Anderson who was a work horse during most of the 12 matches in the preliminary round to get the USA to the finals in the first place—–and was far and away the top scorer during that part of the event.  Sounds like a pretty complete team.  I liked what Speraw said to the team on the bus back to the hotel, some thoughts about reflecting on how much better this team can get, and the great experience they just gained playing in front of a large crowd (that was very pro USA) for a GOLD MEDAL—an opportunity that is very rare and very important to the group’s development, and how poised they played and how much better they got every time they stepped on the court. Keeping the focus on improving all the time is the priority.  The team will get a week break and after the travel of the World League they need and deserve it, then back into the gym to prepare for the World Championships with the 4 match USA Cup series with IRI before a very difficult opening pool in Poland at the end of August.  Here’s a few more stats (I do like numbers); USA had a better kill %, 52-44; but an even bigger advantage in efficiency %, 35-22!!  We out blocked BRA 14-11, and were even with 4 aces each.  We probably missed more serves than the staff would like, but our serving was effective and BRA struggled to be in system much of the nite.  There are some great pix on the FIVB web site, of the match, the awarding ceremony and crowd—-a real sellout (about 9500), and they stayed and supported the USA even after the home town ITALIANS won the 3rd place match over IRI 3-0.  I can’t recall too many times that the USA has been the favorite team when we’re on the road—-and I’m sure it helped motivate and encourage the team, especially as the match wore on.  I hope those of you in the So Cal area will come out and see this team against IRI—very much worth it.  Heading to the airport for the long trip home in about an hour, but just a couple quick adds;  our Boys Youth team won the NORCECA U19 Championship, and the automatic qualification to next year’s U19 World Championship, with a 3-0 win over CUB—-they didn’t drop a set in the event; we had 2 girls teams playing in the finals of the FIVB U17 Beach World Championships, where Martin-Plummer beat Dennis-Hallgren in the finals 2-1 (20-22, 21-18, and 15-13) and so USA gets GOLD and SILVER;  and Dalhausser-Rosenthal picked up a SILVER medal in the FIVB Grand Slam in NED, and will be heading to Long Beach where the next Grand Slam will be held this week starting with qualifying on the 22nd.   Lots to be proud about.  A quick packing effort and on to the airport.  Ciao from the home of the Italian Renaissance, FIRENZE.   DB

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