London 2012

Press release

Team USA edge Brazil 3-1 to claim remake of last Olympic final and remain unbeaten after three rounds

The US American triple block - here composed by, from left to right, Donald Suxho, David Lee and Matthew Anderson - was too much to stand even for Brazil standout Murilo Endres

London, Great Britain, August 2, 2012 – In what was the real highlight of the day the USA edged Brazil to somehow confirm the result of the final match played four years ago in Beijing – even though by then the composition of the teams was slightly different – this time by cashing the match with the score of 3-1 (23-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-17). With this result the USA stay on top of the charts in Pool B with a perfect record of 3 wins in as many matches while Brazil dropped down to 2-1, moving up the count of the Olympic head-to-heads with the South Americans to a positive ratio of 6 wins and 5 losses. Three US American players finished the game in double digits with Clayton Stanley scoring 19 points, while Reid Priddy and Matthew Anderson registered 17 and 14 respectively. Leandro Vissotto paced Brazil with 17 but the difference was made by USA’s aces and blocks (9 vs. 5 and 6 to 2) to re-confirm that the guys mentored by Alan Knipe are in a great shape and ready to go for back-to-back Olympic crowns.

The remake of the 2008 Olympic final was played in front of full stands with the colorful supporters of both sides loudly accompanying their respective heroes as the first set turned into a neck-to-neck race with either team being able to claim a reassuring margin. As they approached the deciding final rush, the USA moved ahead 20-19 forcing a time-out by the Brazilian mentor Bernardo Rezende. Quite many service errors were committed in these phases of the game, before Clayton Stanley and Dante Amaral finalized a side-out each for the 23 all. An ace by opposite Leandro Vissotto contributed the first set ball for Brazil and he followed up with another service winner to let the Brazilian crowd erupt in joy to celebrate the provisional 1-0 lead for the triple world champions.

The USA imposed their pace in the opening of set 2 (11-6) and did not relinquish their leading position keeping that margin also by the second technical time-out and with William Priddy forcing Brazil’s coach Rezende to seek refuge in a time-out as the score stood at 19-13 for the 2008 Olympic champions. That eventually stopped a bit the momentum of the US Americans, with Brazil claiming the next three rallies and US coach Alan Knipe needing to interrupt the game hoping for his guys to regroup to avoid a dangerous comeback of the South Americans. He did not succeed in achieving his goal as Brazil stormed back to flip the charts around moving up 20-19 and the final section of the set turned into a rollercoaster with the USA dissipating two set balls – one in a controversial decision of the first referee – before Brazil also missed out on an opportunity to go up 2-0. Matthew Anderson took his side by the hand and contributed a third set ball that was cashed by Team USA on an error of a Brazilian middle blocker thereby calling for the 1-1 (27-25).   

The game gradually turned into the absolute highlight everyone was waiting for, with the score remaining very tight up to the second technical time-out of set 3 before the USA changed gear opening a gap that was eventually maintained up to the end, with Matthew Anderson sealing the 25-19 that moved the 2008 gold medalists ahead 2-1 in the set count.

A similar story unfolded in set 4 with the score staying initially very close before USA went up 14-10 and even the addition of Brazil legendary captain Giba did not help stop the march of the side anchored by Clayton Stanley. The USA enjoyed a comfortable margin of 6 by the second technical time-out and it looked like the group mentored by Alan Knipe was rapidly cruising to a 3-1 victory that would have put them on top of the charts as the sole unbeaten team in Pool B. This scenario eventually turned into reality as the USA blocked with terrific consistency to clip 8 match balls and silver the second opportunity with a fantastic spike by Priddy (25-18).   

In the next round coming up on Saturday Brazil will play Serbia while USA have another demanding test with Russia.

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