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USA rebound from a set down to claim world bronze over Serbia

 

USA's Aaron Russell gets blocked by Serbia's Marko Ivovic assisted by Srecko Lisinac in the bronze medal match of the 2018 FIVB World Championship

Turin, Italy, September 30, 2018 - USA picked up the bronze medal of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship with a thrilling 3-1 (23-25, 25-17, 32-30, 25-19) win over Serbia at Turin's Pala Alpitour, just ahead of the grand final featuring Brazil and Poland.

It is the second bronze for USA in the history of the World Championship after that of 1994. USA have one world title to their name, dating from 1986.

The third set score of 32-30 ties the previous high of this tournament from the Japan v Argentina game 3-2 (26-24, 20-25, 30-32, 25-20, 15-13) on September 18 in Florence. The all-time high in the World Championships is 40-38 from the Tunisia v Puerto Rico game, 3-2 (38-40, 28-26, 16-25, 25-22, 15-11), in 2006.


Serbia's Marko Podrascanin gets the ball off the hands of the block of USA's Max Holt, as the Americans claim bronze at the 2018 FIVB World Championship in Turin.

Matt Anderson was the ace in coach John Speraw's sleeve to catch the bronze: an outstanding 29 points allowed USA to eventually win after losing a thrilling first set, and go home with a prestigious consolation prize.

Team USA had a much longer night than Serbia on Saturday, and needed to administrate the remaining bits of energy in order to retrieve their consistency, while the Balkan side had more time to regroup - but also to regret.

Nemanja Petric for Marko Ivovic was coach Nikola Grbic's only change in the starting six, while Speraw picked Daniel McDonnell in David Smith's place: veteran in, veteran out.

The two teams chased the bronze with true grit, with an endless third set as the turning point of the match: Anderson was decisive, scoring 11 of the 32 points the Americans needed to force Serbia to bend the knee.

Paradoxically, the Americans were the freshest entering the fourth and decisive set, simply dominated, and closed by a serve fault by Drazen Luburic - an unfair ending for Serbia's backup opposite, able to score 12 points in a convincing offensive effort (58% attack with neither errors or killer blocks conceded).

Team USA closed the match with an impressive 11 aces: 4 by Anderson and 5 by superstar middle blocker Max Holt.

Top Six Final Ranking:
• 1.
• 2.
• 3. USA
• 4. Serbia
• 5. Italy
• -. Russia

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