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Team USA picks up much-needed win in men’s volleyball

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After dropping their first two matches in Rio, the U.S. men’s volleyball team has bounced back with two consecutive wins.

Saturday night John Speraw’s team defeated France in four sets, 25-22, 25-22, 14-25, 25-22, to move to 2-2 in group play. And with their final match being against a team that has yet to earn a point in Mexico, the Americans have hope when it comes to getting out of the group. The U.S. began the day in fifth place on three points (Canada also had three points but holds the tiebreaker), and with Canada playing Mexico Saturday this was a match they had to have.

Aaron Russell was responsible for 15 kills and Matthew Anderson 14 for the Americans, with Taylor Sander adding 11 kills in the win. Anderson was especially key during the first set, scoring eight points to help spark the rally.

Trailing 17-9 in the first set, the U.S. scored 13 of the next 15 points to take a 22-19 lead. The second set was tighter, with the Americans turning a 19-19 tie into a 23-19 lead to grab control of that set. France struck back in a big way in the third set, scoring the first four and seven of the first eight points of the set. They wouldn’t look back at that point, but the U.S. did a good job of not allowing the third set to have an impact on the fourth.

The U.S. scored six of the first seven points of the fourth set, with France coming back to pull even at 10-all on a Nicolas Le Goff kill. But after taking a 13-12 lead the French would not lead again in the match, with the Americans leading by as many as three point before putting the match away on an Antonin Rouzier error.

The Americans are now even on points with France and Brazil (which has a match in hand) going into Monday’s group finale against Mexico.

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)