Beijing, China, August 21, 2008 - The USA defeated Serbia 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12) in a gripping Men's Volleyball quarterfinal at Capital Gymnasium, a repeat of July's FIVB World League final in Rio with Willliam Priddy the match-winner again.
The win sees the Americans move on to the semifinals on Friday, August 22, where they will take on Russia. Serbia looked to be on their way to the semifinals before USA surged late in the fourth set, but looked to have taken the momentum back from the Americans when they took an early lead in the final set.
The USA then took control with some strong blocking on the attacks of Serbia's Milos Nikic and Ivan Miljkovic, and Riley Salmon scored with two strong hits to end the match 15-12 after 2 hours, 2 minutes.
Serbia's blocking was near-impenetrable in the first set, led by Marko Podrascanin. While David Lee and William Priddy tried to keep the USA close, Miljkovic's attacking presence made it impossible for the USA to catch up. Nikic finished the first set with a powerful cross-court attack to put the Serbians one set up.
Thanks to several powerful spikes by Clayton Stanley, the USA built an early lead in the second set before Serbia regrouped to tie the score at 18. Lee then sparked a USA comeback with his attack on the middle of the court, and when Priddy capitalised on a faulty reception from Nikic, the USA had levelled the match at a set each.
Miljkovic hammered his spikes towards the end of the third set, and Nikic helped by scoring from the outside attack. Dejan Bojovic closed the third set for Serbia with an ace to give his side a decisive lead.
With the U.S. desperate to to force the match into a fifth set, Priddy, Ryan Millar and Lee capitalised on several ball-handling errors by Serbia early in the fourth set. Stanley scored the last point on his serve in the set to force a tiebreaker, and the Americans held their nerve in the final set to advance to the final four.