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Italy breaks American men’s volleyball hearts again; USA will play for bronze

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The United States men’s volleyball team went into Friday’s Olympic semifinal against Italy looking to avenge losses in the group stage and the 2012 Games.

In an often enthralling match, the United States couldn’t get it done. In a game with so much back-and-forth, it would be Italy who won the critical fifth set in a 30-28, 26-28, 9-25, 25-22, 15-9 win.

The Italians advance to face the winner of Brazil and Russia in Sunday’s gold medal game, with USA facing the loser for bronze. The U.S. fails in its bid to reclaim Olympic gold after failing to medal in 2012 (They’ve won gold in 1984, 1988, and 2008).

The match didn’t take long to live up to its billing, with the first set going to tiebreaks. The Americans held a 23-20 lead only to see it move to 24-24. Italy would battle through multiple American match points to win 30-28.

The second set went to tiebreaks, too, this time with the Americans rally to force the extra session with a 28-26 win.

Then, a decisive throttling of the Italians by the Americans gave the match a whole new feel. The U.S. won 25-9 in a set that took just 21 minute (compared to the 34- and 35-minute opening sets).

But it was Italy’s turn to rally, thanks again to superstar Ivan Zaytsev (son of USSR gold medalist Vyacheslav Zaystev). Italy won the fourth set 25-22.

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)