Ancona, Italy, October 1, 2010 – USA kept their hopes alive with a spectacular 23-25, 25-14, 25-27, 25-20, 15-7 comeback victory over crowd favourites and Pool L rivals Cameroon at the PalaRossini on Friday evening. The 3,950 spectators were treated to dramatic match packed with highs and lows for both teams before the Americans secured a vital victory in this second-round contest at the FIVB Men's World Championship.
After defeat the previous day by the Czech Republic, USA's win means they remain in the running for a place in the third round. If Cameroon beat the Czechs on Saturday night, all three teams will finish with 1-1 records and the tiebreaker of point ratio will be applied to determine which two teams advance.
Clayton Stanley registered 27 points for USA with 21 spikes and five aces, while American captain William Priddy added 26 points with 22 spikes and four aces on his 33rd birthday. Cameroon's Jean Patrice Ndaki Mboulet scored a match-high 29 points with 27 spikes and both his team's aces. Nathan Wounembaina added 17 points. The USA held a commanding 12-2 block advantage.
Cameroon started the match in confident fashion. With a fantastic block, Olivier Nongny scored the first point and Peter Nonnenbroich's team raced into a four-point lead (5-1) that they held until the First Technical Timeout (8-4). The west Africans maintained their advantage to lead 20-16, before the USA stepped up the intensity of their defence and with aces from Paul Lotman and Max Holt, they managed to narrow the gap to 24-23 going into a timeout. However, Ndaki Mboulet's decisive attack closed the set 25-23. He provided Cameroon with 10 points in the set with an 82 percent attack rate, while Priddy managed nine points and a 73 percent attack rate for the US.
In the second set, the USA bounced back with a remarkable improvement in service and reception, blocking the point at 8-5. Stanley served an ace at 13-6 that prompted Nonnenbroich to call a timeout. The USA picked up the pace at 18-10 and forced Cameroon into a number of errors and, with Stanley totalling eight points, closed the set at 25-14.
The third set started on the same path with USA moving into a 6-3 lead, but Cameroon responded with a block to close to 6-5. With little between the teams, Cameroon achieved parity at 14-14. Though the Americans held the edge, Cameroon responded strike for strike and, with the tension mounting, drew level at 20-20, 22-22 and 23-23 as Stanley and Ndaki Mboulet traded blows. A series of errors in service was a tell-tale sign of the nerves on both sides but eventually the set went Camernoon's way. USA contested a referee's call on an out-of-bounds ball and a Cameroon point made it 27-25.
USA held a slight advantage as the fourth set unfolded, with Alan Knipe's men leading 8-6 going into the First Technical Timeout (FTT) and 16-14 at the second. Yet they gradually eased away from their opponents, keeping a tight control and finishing with a Russell Holmes block at 25-20 to force a tiebreaking fifth set. With Cameroon showing signs of tiredness, the Americans' greater experience now told. They led 4-1 and 8-4 as the blows rained down from Lotman and company, before that man Stanley wrapped up the match with two points for a 15-7 victory.