By Cindy Luis
The U.S. Men’s National Team defeated the world’s No. 1 Brazil 3-1 (31-29, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23) on Sunday, to clinch the FIVB World League gold medal for a second time in the team’s history.
Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.), led Team USA in points for the third-consecutive match. Sander notched 24 points in the contest on 22 kills, earning him MVP honors of the tournament. He was also named Best Spiker.
Team USA handled three key phases of the match with Brazil, winning in attacks (60-51), blocks (14-11) and digs (42-40), on their way to the 3-1 win.
Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) added 23 points to the gold-medal win, with 22 points coming by way of attacks.
Half of the 14 blocks for the U.S. Men came from David Lee, adding to his 12 points on the night. The trio of Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii), Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Sander each contributed two blocks.
Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii.) led the U.S. with 12 digs on Sunday with only two faults at the libero spot, while Anderson picked up 10 digs on no faults.
Setter Christenson had 39 running sets and 62 still sets on 102 attempts against Brazil.
Sander and Garrett Muagutia (Oceanside, Calif.) had 16 excellent receptions each on Sunday, while Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) picked up 14.
Brazil’s Wallace De Souza finished with 16 points on 14 attacks to led his team in the match.
With the win, the U.S. joins Brazil (9), Italy (8), and Russia (3) as teams that have won gold more than once at the FIVB World League.
The last gold-medal win for Team USA at the FIVB World League came against Serbia in 2008.
Next up for the team will be the USA Volleyball Cup against Iran in August.
Italy won the bronze medal after defeating Iran in straight-sets, 25-22, 25-18, 25-22.