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USA advance to semifinals in World League


CURITIBA, Brazil, July 5, 2017 – At the edge of elimination, the U.S. Men’s National Team found a way to win yet another match in the FIVB World League Final Round on Wednesday and will advance to Friday’s semifinal.


The U.S. Men bounced back from a 3-2 loss to France to defeat Serbia on Wednesday, 25-22, 25-23, 19-25, and 25-22 in Curitiba, Brazil. France and Serbia will play Thursday to determine which will advance to the semifinals.


Although the United States’ five-set loss to France on Tuesday was disappointing, it also gave the U.S. one point toward a tie-breaker. If Serbia were to beat France on Thursday, giving all three teams 1-1 records, the United States’ four points would still be good enough to advance.


“The best thing about our team is our composure, our togetherness,” Team Captain Kawika Shoji told the FIVB. “There was no panic (after the loss to France). We knew our destiny was in our hands.”


Taylor Sander led all scorers with 22 points on a match-high 18 kills (.517 hitting efficiency), a match-high three aces and one block. Jaeschke, who didn’t play at all in World League pool play due to injury, added 14 points on 13 kills and one ace. Opposite Ben Patch led the team in blocks with three. 


“It’s always interesting to see how your team is going to respond after you have a disappointing loss 24 hours earlier,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “I was most pleased with how we came out early in the match and had a really good first set and how we held on when Serbia made a nice run to come back. I think that set a good tone for us.


“I just felt real proud of our guys and the way they responded in the latter part of the fourth set.”