Micah Christenson's setting gave USA plenty of attacking options
Hiroshima, Japan, September 9, 2015 – USA sealed their second win of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup 2015
by beating hosts Japan in a fairly dominant display.
US setter Micah Christenson utilized his full arsenal of attackers, with Taylor Sander leading four American scorers in double figures with 20. Masahiro Yanagida led Japan with 14 marks.
It was an enthusiastic start from the home side as they took a 6-4 lead on the back of a pair of US errors and some fiery attacks. USA took the lead for the first time at 11-10 following a serve error and by the second technical timeout the visitors had settled into the game, with Holt sending a spike down the wing to lead 16-14. USA’s side out game stayed strong, but a Yanagida spike off an American block saw the hosts pull to within one point. Japan wouldn’t go away as the set neared its conclusion but US managed to hold on, siding out three times to clinch the opener.
Japan stayed close to the Americans in the second, and although their attack was not as potent, errors from the world No.5 USA meant Japan took an 8-7 lead. They continued to serve well, putting themselves in the lead by two points for the first time in the match at 16-14 and then extending it to 20-15 with Shimizu spiking off of Taylor Sander’s block. The United States began to reel in their Asian rivals, coming to within two points off the back of a pair of strong Micah Christenson serves. But errors cost them with Matt Anderson ending the set with a serve error to bring things level.
USA tightened their game in the third set, sprinting to a quick 5-1 advantage. They continued to turn the screw, surging to a nine point lead at 14-5 on the back of some efficient attacking from the quartet of Aaron Russell, Maxwell Holt, Sander and Matt Anderson. The resurgence continued as USA’s block controlled the action at the net, easing past the Japanese reception. The recovery was completed after Japan launched a spike long to gift a set to USA.
A quick 2-0 lead at the beginning of the fourth set allowed USA to keep Japan at arms-length in the first half of the final set. The home crowd was desperately trying to get behind their heroes, but USA continued to be clinical, their block functioning well. US coach John Speraw subbed Anderson off with five points to go in the match as the side began to wind down before a triple block ended the game in style for the side.