FIVB - Volleyball World League

Press release

Dynamic USA power past Brazil to grab World League gold

Florence, Italy, July 20, 2014 – USA stunned Brazil 3-1 (31-29, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23) to claim the gold medal at the FIVB World League Finals in Florence. A young side – epitomised by relative newcomers Taylor Sander and Micah Christenson, and anchored by the experience of Matt Anderson, David Lee and Sean Rooney – produced a great game to beat the world No.1 ranked side.

Key points
•    USA win the gold medal. It is their second World League gold – they beat Serbia in the 2008 final. It was their third World League final in total – they lost to Poland in 2012
•    USA become one of just four nations to win more than one World League gold. Brazil (9), Italy (8) and Russia (3) have also done it
 •    This was the two side’s first World League Final meeting
•    Brazil have now lost two World League finals in a row. They were defeated in 2013 by Russia
•    This was the side’s 36th meeting in the World League. Brazil have won 26 and USA 10.
•    Brazil had won five of the last eight meetings between the sides.

The match began at a fierce pace, with Matt Anderson and Taylor Sander of USA grounding some huge spikes for USA through the set, and Wallace De Souza, Lucas Saatkamp, Ricardo Lucarelli and Sidnei Dos Santos Junior hitting back for Brazil. The teams could not be separated as they traded points up to 23-23, and neither side seemed able to kill off the set. Brazil lost four set points (including one that was overturned via a controversial challenge), and USA dropped two, before David Lee made it third time lucky. A great block from the American gave USA the set 31-29.

The sides remained evenly matched as set two began, with the score running up to 13-13. Maxwell Holt joined Anderson and Sander in the points for USA, but Brazil got some daylight thanks to points from all over the court. Wallace, Lucas and Lucarelli in particular shone as Brazil eventually shut out the set 25-21.
Some great all round play by Lee, the spikes of Sander and Anderson, and a Micah Christenson ace helped to get USA 18-10 ahead in set three. Brazil made some uncharacteristic mistakes, and although they fought back towards the end of the set, it was too late. A fierce Anderson kill and a Brazil service error gave USA the set 25-20, and a 2-1 lead.

Set four once again saw the sides hard to separate. Brazil crept ahead thanks to Wallace, and Lucarelli, but Lee, Anderson and Sander – nicely orchestrated by young setter Christenson – once again hit back to tie at 14-14 and 23-23. And USA sealed a dramatic win with a towering Lee block and a characteristic Anderson spike, to win the set 25-23, the set, match and gold.

The match’s top scorer was USA’s Sander with 24 points. Matt Anderson got 23 for USA. Wallace was top scorer for Brazil with 16 points. 

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