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U.S. men’s volleyball picks up first group play victory

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After suffering losses in each of their first group matches, in straight sets to Canada and in four sets to Italy, the United States men’s volleyball team entered Thursday in dire need of a victory if they’re to have a shot at reaching the medal rounds. But faced with the task of playing hosts Brazil in front of a raucous crows at the Maracanãzinho, getting a win was not going to be easy for John Speraw’s team.

But the Americans rose to the occasion, beating Brazil in four sets, 25-20, 25-23, 20-25, 25-20. As a result of the win the Americans are now tied for fourth place in Group A with Canada on three points, with the two four teams in each group advancing to the quarterfinal round.

WATCH: U.S. men’s volleyball comes up with big win over Brazil

Matthew Anderson racked up 23 kills and Aaron Russell added 17 for the Americans, with setter Micah Christiansen also performing well. In beating the world’s top-ranked team the United States began the game focused, managing to grab control of the match from the start. That proved pivotal, as the Brazilians managed to take the third set and appeared to be gaining momentum.

But the United States went on a run early in the fourth set in which they scored six of the game’s seven points to reestablish control of the match. Next up for the United States is France on Saturday, with the French currently second in the group on six points. The Americans, who lost in the quarterfinal round in London four years ago, finish group play on Tuesday against a Mexico team that has yet to win a match.

IOC pledges €500,000 to help restore Notre Dame ahead of 2024 Olympics

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The International Olympic Committee plans to donate €500,000 ($562,000) to the restoration of Notre Dame Cathedral in the 2024 Olympic host city.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that he wants to see Notre Dame restored within five years.

“The aim of completing the reconstruction in time for Paris 2024 will be an extra motivation for all of us,” IOC president Thomas Bach wrote in a Wednesday letter to Paris 2024 chief Tony Estanguet, according to a translation by Agence France-Presse, which reported Notre Dame is on the planned marathon and road cycling routes. “All the Olympic Movement and in particular the IOC have been extremely touched by the instantaneous connection the French have made between Notre Dame cathedral and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

More than $500 million has been pledged overall from around the globe after a fire ravaged the 850-year-old cathedral on Monday.

NBC News has more on the Notre Dame fire here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Patrick Kane joined by NHL All-Stars on world championship roster

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NHL All-Stars Jack EichelRyan Suter and Cory Schneider join previously named captain Patrick Kane to lead the U.S. at next month’s world hockey championship in Slovakia, seeking the nation’s first title at a standalone worlds since 1933.

Sixteen players were added to the roster in Thursday’s announcement with more to come before worlds open May 10 and more teams get eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, making more players available. The IIHF allows up to 25 players per nation.

Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill will be the U.S. head coach for a third straight worlds. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in 2017 and earned bronze in 2018, sandwiching an Olympic quarterfinal exit in PyeongChang without NHL players.

Sweden is trying to become the first nation to three-peat at worlds since the Czech Republic in 2001.

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Preliminary IIHF World Championship Roster
Forwards

Alex DeBrincat (Chicago Blackhawks)
Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres)
Luke Glendening (Detroit Red Wings)
Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks)
Clayton Keller (Arizona Coyotes)
Chris Kreider (New York Rangers)
Dylan Larkin (Detroit Red Wings)
James van Riemsdyk (Philadelphia Flyers)
Frank Vatrano (Florida Panthers)
Colin White (Ottawa Senators)

Defensemen
Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks)
Alec Martinez (Los Angeles Kings)
Brady Skjei (New York Rangers)
Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild)

Goalies
Thatcher Demko (Vancouver Canucks)
Cayden Primeau (Laval (AHL))
Cory Schneider (New Jersey Devils)