Tokyo, Japan, November 22, 2013 - USA beat Italy 3-2 in a five-set thriller 25-21, 20-25, 22-25, 28-26, 15-13 in their round-robin match at the World Grand Champions Cup on Friday afternoon.
The victory gave the US a 2-1 record, while Italy fell to 1-2 with the loss.
It was a tight contest all the way, with just a few points separating the teams throughout.
Matthew Anderson notched a match-high 27 points for the US in the triumph. Maxwell Holt and David Lee added 13 apiece.
Filippo Lanza led Italy with 22 points, while Jiri Kovar contributed 15.
The young Italian team put on an impressive performance against the more experienced American side.
Both teams exhibited power games in an affair that saw few extended rallies.
Maxwell Holt served into the net and Italy took a 5-3 lead in the first set. Italy led 8-5 at the first technical timeout. A spike by Sean Rooney pulled the US within one at 8-7. A service ace by Filippo Lanza kept the Italians ahead 13-12. William Priddy's service ace evened the score at 15-15. Italy was on top 16-15 at the second TTO. The U.S. pulled ahead 17-16 on a reception error. Holt's block put the US in front 19-16. Holt made a nice pass to Micah Christenson for a quick spike at the net and the U.S. boosted the advantage to 21-17. The Italians called a timeout to try and stop the surge. A missed spike by Thomas Beretta put the US within two points of the set at 23-18. Luca Vettori served into the net at the US had set point at 24-19. The US wrapped up the set 25-21.
Italy went ahead 5-3 in the second set after a reception error by the US Priddy's service ace sent the US into the first TTO with an 8-7 edge. Italy surged to a 15-13 lead with some nice passing and the US called timeout. Italy had a 16-13 lead at the second TTO. A block by Jiri Kovar boosted the Italian lead to 18-14 and the US called a timeout. A Vettori spike made it 20-14. Priddy fired a serve long and it was 21-15. Holt connected on a spike as the US moved within five points at 22-17. Kovar blasted a crosscourt spike for 23-17. A nice block by Priddy took the count to 23-19 and Italy took a timeout. Kawika Shoji served into the net and Italy had set point at 24-19. Italy took the set 25-20 when the US could not handle a spike.
Matteo Piano's block put Italy on top 5-4 in the third set. A reception error by Lanza made it 7-6 for the US Rooney could not handle a spike and Italy led 8-7 at the first TTO. A block by Priddy made it 10-9 for the US Piano's block put Italy up 14-13. Priddy pounded a serve into the net and Italy was in front 16-14 at the second TTO. A net infraction gave Italy a 17-15 edge. Jeffrey Menzel sent a serve long and Italy led 20-18. Kovar's spike made it 23-21. A nice dink by Ivan Zaytsev gave Italy set point at 24-21. Zaytsev closed out the set 25-22 with a soaring spike.
A positioning violation cost the US two points at the outset of the fourth set. It was 3-2 when the issue was recognized, and the mistake cost the US two points to make it 3-0 for Italy. Lee fired a service ace and the US stormed back to tie it 4-4. A service error by Beretta made it 6-5 for the U.S. A dink by Holt took it to 7-6. Holt's block put the US ahead 8-7 at the first TTO. A block by Lee took it to 10-9 for the US, The Americans scored three more points to make it 13-10 and Italy took a timeout. Carson Clark's spike took it to 15-12. Italy fought back and equalized at 15-15 on a crosscourt spike by Kovar. Italy led 16-15 at the second TTO. A spike by Zaytsev made it 19-17 as Italy edged closer to taking the match. Clark hammered a serve and it was 20-20. Back and forth it went, with the US going up 23-22 before Zaytsev spiked to equalize at 23-23. A spike by Christenson gave the US set point at 24-23, but Clark served long and the score was knotted again 24-24. A net infraction by Zaytsev made it 25-24 for the US Priddy then served long and it was even again at 25-25. Kovar served into the net and the US had its third set point. Holt responded with a serve into the net and it was 26-26. Clark's spike gave the US another set point. The US then took the 37-minute set 28-26 on a block.
A strong serve by Lanza made it 3-3 in the fifth set. Zaytsev's well-placed dink moved Italy ahead 6-5. The US retook the lead at 8-7 on a block. A reception error by Dragan Travica tied it 9-9. Italy went back ahead 10-9 on a spike by Beretta. When Beretta fired a spike wide the US was two points from victory at 13-11 and Italy called a timeout. Priddy sent a spike long and it was 13-12. The US got match point at 14-12, but Lanza's spike made it 14-13. The US completed the win 15-13 when Travica sent his serve long.
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