By Cindy Luis
Christenson set, E. Shoji the libero. K. Shoji did not play.
The U.S. Men’s National Team downed Iran in straight-sets on Saturday, 25-18, 25-22, 25-16, earning a spot in the FIVB World LeagueFinal Round gold medal match in Florence, Italy.
The gold medal match will be played against the world No. 1 Brazil Sunday at 8:30 a.m. HST
The victory over Iran gives Team USA an opportunity to repeat 2008’s FIVB World League gold medal. The U.S. Men finished with silver in 2012.
After dropping its first Final Round match to Italy, the U.S. Men have outscored their last two opponents by a combined 172-141 margin.
Propelled by Taylor Sander’s (Huntington Beach, Calif.) 17 points, the U.S. Men dominated Iran in every phase of Saturday’s match, winning in attacks 46-35, blocks 7-1, aces 7-1 and digs 31-28.
Sander had a match-high 16 attacks on 20 attempts. The outside hitter also picked up an ace to round out his point total.
Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) and Lee added 11 points apiece to the win, with Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) notching 10 and nine points respectively.
Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii.) had nine digs on Saturday with only one fault, while Anderson also picked up nine digs on just two faults.
Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii.) was credited with 22 running sets and 45 still sets on 68 attempts at the setter spot. Erik Shoji aided Team USA with six still sets, while also nabbing 11 excellent receptions on 14 attempts at the libero spot.
Iran’s Amir Ghafour finished with 10 points on 10 attacks to led his team.