(IranSportsPress.com-FIVB)- USA opened the third week of FIVB Volleyball World League with a straight set victory over Iran. The team’s rookie Benjamin Patch continues his successful campaign, becoming again the best scorer for USA.
Youngster Patch, still just 23, was once again the man of the match as the explosive opposite recorded a team-high 21 points. But it was the American performance at the block that made the difference (12) as Iran’s Amir Ghafour was the best scorer of his team (12 points). With an all-round performance, Taylor Sander (9 points, 2 blocks, 1 ace) was also instrumental in his team’s win.
John Speraw’s men lost their three opening matches but turned things around in Pau and have now tasted victory in three of their last four games. With three wins and four defeats, the 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallists can still dream of booking a ticket for the finals in Brazil at the beginning of July.
A strong second weekend, with two 3-0 wins over Italy and Russia, only blighted by a 3-1 defeat at the hands of an unbeaten French side, maintain the US in contention for a spot in Curitiba. The Americans headed into the Polish round with a slight advantage, based on current form as well as statistics.
Two points and two rallies from the start gave the US a decent lead as Benjamin Patch spiked and David Smith blocked (2-0). Slightly better from the get go, the Americans headed into the first technical time out on top (8-6). Patch continued his destruction job, spiking ball after ball (18-14). An amazing performance saw the US defense shine, saving an impossible ball and turning it into a point as the young American side headed into the business end of the set with a seven-point lead (21-14). No problem for the US who claimed the first set thanks to a Mojtaba Mirzajanpour serve straight into the net (25-17).
It was more of the same in the second round as Speraw’s men raced to an early lead (9-6). Iran were no match for a high-octane US attack and Patch added a few points to his early impressive tally (12-10). But Iran are formidable opponents and they hit back superbly as they moved into a 15-14 lead. But the USA turned things around and the Americans leaped to a 2-0 lead (25-22).
In the third set, defense once again prevailed and the efficient American block helped the US to a 5-1 lead as Patch remained on fire. A TJ DeFalco spike, quickly followed by two monster blocks in a row, gave the US a comfortable cushion (11-5). Iran however clawed their way back into the game thanks to Masoud Gholami (16-14). Igor Kolakovic’s men kept their momentum and even took a three-point lead (17-20) while the US had no answer as Milad Ebadipour scored an ace. But an impressive finish saw the USA eat three set points to level at 24-24 after a good series at the service for David Smith. A tremendous finish and Smith spiked to seal the deal 30-28.