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 Match info | Description
Serbia beats USA in straight sets

Belgrade, Serbia, July 22, 2009 — Serbia beat Olympic Champion and current World League titleholders the United States 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-22) in the first Pool E match at the 2009 World League Final Six tournament.
Serbia took the lead right from the start, rushing to a 5-2 advantage before USA coach Alan Knipe called for a timeout. At the first technical timeout, the lead was reduced to one point (8-7), but Nikola Grbic and his teammates managed to score four points in a row to restore some breathing room. Knipe tried once again to wake up his team, but Serbia reached the second technical timeout leading 16-11. The advantage was even bigger after a mistake by Sean Rooney, and Ivan Miljkovic’s slam for 19-12. Knipe introduced Evan Patak to serve, but the net blocked the way. The "Blue Boys" were up 21-14 when Clayton Stanley served to make it closer at 22-18. A Dragan Stankovic-Grbic block brought the hosts closure of the first set at 25-20.
At the beginning of the second set both teams played point-by-point, and by the first technical timeout Serbia was up 8-7. Grbic scored for a 10-8 lead, followed by a mistake by the American team. Once again, Grbic played the starring role to make it 12-9 on the scoreboard. However, the American team soon clawed back to tie the match. The visiting team raised its level of play and at the second technical timeout the U.S. was up one point (15-16). The advantage got even bigger at 19-21, after two errors from Igor Kolakovic’s side. The Serbian coach called for a timeout, which helped the "Blue Boys" get back in their rhythm and close the set by scoring several points in a row to finish 25-23.
Serbia started better in the third set, with Grbic combining well with his teammates and single-handedly blocking his side to an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. At this point, Knipe substituted his setter, Kevin Hansen for Donald Suxho. However, Serbia continued playing well and maintained their advantage at 12-8, but slowed a little before the second technical timeout (16-14). After that, the visiting team woke up, and David Smith’s block brought them level. Kolakovic changed his receivers to stabilize the team, with Bojan Janic replaced by Nikola Kovacevic. The Serbian team regained its confidence, reduced the number of errors in attack, and Milos Nikic blocked Stanley to make it 22-18. Marko Podrašcanin won the penultimate point and Grbic smashed for the triumph.


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