San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 3, 2011 – The USA improved to a 2-1 win-loss record in Pool A of the FIVB World League following a 3-1 (24-26, 29-27, 25-17, 25-17) victory against Puerto Rico in front of 4,132 spectators at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan.
Veterans Clayton Stanley and Reid Priddy combined for 20 and 19 points, respectively, to lead the winners, who out-blocked the home side 14-0 with Stanley, Priddy, Ryan Millar and David Lee recording three apiece.
Héctor Soto topped Puerto Rico with 16 points and Enrique Escalante added 13. Jose
Rivera and Victor Rivera each chipped in with 11 tallies.
It was a close exchange in the first set with USA leading 8-7 at the first TTO thanks to a booming spike by Priddy. At 10-10, Escalante gave Puerto Rico a one-point advantage with a quick attack down the middle. Anderson and Priddy scored in consecutive plays for a 12-11 USA advantage and Priddy followed with a block on Jose Rivera. The second TTO found the USA team in front 16-13 thanks to a rocket by Stanley. Puerto Rico tied at 14-all with two consecutive attacks by Victor Rivera forcing a timeout. Priddy and Stanley combined with spike and block for a two-point USA lead only to see Soto and Escalante combining to plant a pair of spikes. J. Rivera broke a tie at 21-all with an accurate attack from the left side and the Americans called for another time-out. When play resumed Priddy hammered one to equalize the score but the local squad took the opening set 26-24 on their second chance with a quick attack by Muñiz followed by a long attempt from Stanley.
In the second set, Puerto Rico burst into an early 8-4 lead with offensive contributions from Soto, Escalante and Muniz. USA tied-up at 12-all after several mistakes and a block by Stanley, forcing coach Cardona to call a timeout. When play resumed, Anderson gave the NORCECA vice-champions a one-point lead and they expanded it to 16-14 when Thornton blocked Victor Rivera. A couple of errant attacks by Priddy then wiped out the American lead. At 22-all, V. Rivera again was blocked – this time by Millar – for the lead but the same player rebounded to tie the scores at 23 with a laser shot from the left side. The two sides engaged in a close battle, with the Americans prevailing 29-27 when Escalante failed with his serve and Lotman landed a big spike.
In the third set, Priddy scored with a serving ace for an 8-7 USA lead. The score continued to be close with no more than two points in it, with Soto and V. Rivera sparkling for the local side and Priddy and Stanley contributing to a 16-14 USA advantage at the second technical timeout. Stanley parlayed a block and spike to open a five-point lead at 21-16 and another bomb by the same player forced a local time-out at 22-16. Finally, Lotman and Priddy scored with powerful spikes to wrap up the set 25-17.
In the fourth set, USA built an 8-6 lead relying on the potent attacks of Priddy. The Americans increased the gap to 13-8 thanks to a block by Lee and a mammoth spike by Stanley. When play resumed after a time-out, Lee served an ace and Soto responded with a rocket. The second TTO arrived with the visitors leading 16-12. Lotnam served a lightning ace for a comfortable six-point lead and the set ended with the Americans 25-17 ahead.