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.
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.