Volleyball: U.S. men make semis seeking revenge

Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:10am EDT
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By Anthony Boadle

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A less experienced U.S. men's volleyball team demolished Poland in straight sets on Wednesday and moved up to the semifinals looking to avenge early upsets that almost knocked the Americans out of the Rio Games.

Brazil ousted their sport archrivals Argentina in a four-set battle in front of an ecstatic and boisterous home crowd of 10,000 at Rio's Maracanazinho stadium.

With eight of their 12 players competing in the Olympics for the first time, the United States outplayed Poland, 25-23 25-22 25-20, ousting a team that won the 2014 World Championship.

The U.S. team, formed from a crop of barely graduated college players, got off to a shaky start in Rio losing their first two games to Canada and Italy.

But they learnt fast from their mistakes and came back with a stunning win over hosts Brazil and then overpowered France to stay in Rio.

The United States will get a second crack at Italy in the semi-finals on Friday after the Italians defeated a strong Iranian team in three sets.

"I want them bad. We want a little revenge," said wing spiker Taylor Sander, among the top three U.S. scorers.

The increasingly confident Americans came into the game against Poland more aggressively than ever and appear to be reaching their best form as they enter the medal-winning phase.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Volleyball Men's Quarterfinals - USA v Poland - Maracanazinho - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Matt Anderson (USA) of USA, Micah Christenson (USA) of USA, Erik Shoji (USA) of USA, Taylor Sander (USA) of USA, and Aaron Russell (USA) of USA react.  REUTERS/Yves Herman  TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.