USA captain David Lee and Aaron Russell celebrate in their quarterfinal match against Poland
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 17, 2016 – The United States triumphed over Poland 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-20) in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men’s volleyball quarterfinals at Maracanazinho on Wednesday.
USA improved on their London 2012 finish of joint-fifth, with their win over Poland that gave them entry back in the Rio 2016 top four. USA have won a total of three gold medals and can earn their fourth at Rio 2016.
USA’s Aaron Russell notched 15 points, while Poland’s Bartosz Kurek recorded 11 points. Russell got some help from team-mates Matthew Anderson and Taylor Sander, who scored 11 points each.
USA edged Poland in blocks 5-2 and in aces 6-2. Russell and David Lee ruled the net with two blocks each, and then Sander reigned at the service line with two aces.
USA and Poland fought hard for each rally in the opening set, resulting to a close score until the end. USA collected a lot of points from the offence of Anderson and Russell, while Poland gathered their markers from captain Michal Kubiak and Mateusz Mika. USA could not get a steady lead, as Poland constantly challenged them. USA reached set point at 24-20, but not until Poland scored three more points before conceding the set 25-23.
Poland jumped to an 8-4 lead in the second set, as Kurek showed excellent court sense. Kurek guided Grzegorz Lomacz to set the ball to him in tight situations and amazingly scored in these plays. USA got back on its feet and wiped out the Polish lead, then made a run to completely overtake their rivals, as Kubiak committed a net fault 25-23.
After a tough exchange of spikes at the start of the third set, USA got to break away first to build a five-point cushion. USA maintained its intensity on the attack and defence to get them to within five points from taking the match 20-15. Poland tried to get back, but USA hustled well on defence for the counter-attack. Russell sealed set and match victory with a spike 25-20.
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