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23-09-2015

ARGENTINE CLOSED THE WORLD CUP 2015 WITH THE BEST PERFORMANCE

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Sebastian Sole awarded the best middle plaer of the competition.

Tokyo, Japan, September 23, 2015 — USA sealed their first FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup in 30 years as well as a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with a 3-1 (25-20, 25-21, 17-25, 25-20) victory over Argentina as the tournament reached its thrilling conclusion in Tokyo on Wednesday. Argentina finished 5th with 21 points in fifth place in its best performance at this competition ever with a record of 7-4 win loss winning at least one set in each of its 11 matches and being defeated only by the four top teams, USA, Italy, Poland and Russia. Sebastian Sole was awarded as top middle player of the competition while Facundo Conte, Luciano De Cecco and Luciano Zornetta also were ranked among the best skill players.

The triumph saw USA leapfrog Poland and Italy into first place, with the Poles resigned to third and denied a spot at the Olympics despite being unbeaten until their final day loss to the Italians.

Maxwell Holt won the most impressive player award with 18 points as his country sealed their first World Cup since 1985. Facundo Conte topped the scorers with 22 points.

The United States started strong, as they have done all tournament, with an attack from back court by Aaron Russell taking them to 10-7. Argentina came storming back though and, following an error on reception, came to within one point at 16-15. It remained close until the United States began to pull away on 21-19 before a Matt Anderson block ended the set in the American’s favour.

Micah Christensson got the second set underway with an ace, but Argentina ploughed back, and led at 9-8 after and Anderson spike went wayward. USA regained control at 10-9 and kept hold of the set throughout as the match moved to the third set following a Christensson ace.

USA kept that winning rhythm up in the third, an Anderson serve ace making it 7-6. Argentina eventually found themselves in the lead, a big spike from Facundo Conte extending it to 13-9. USA’s error count began to rise and Argentina took full advantage, going up on 21-13 with a Conte ace. From there, it took little effort to see out the set and give Poland, waiting in the wings and hoping for a USA loss, a last chance at a Rio 2016 spot.

It was a tense third set, but USA edged closer to the title on a three point advantage as David Lee spiked through the Argentinean block. Ever the professionals, USA regrouped, and found another level as Taylor Sander fired a vicious ace to take his side to within five points of the title. A Palacios ace brought Argentina to within three points on 21-17, but no one could deny the Americans as an incredible Erik Shoji dig on 23-18 led to match point following a block error from the South Americans. Maxwell Holt had the honour of spiking home championship point.

John Speraw struggled to find the words to describe USA's triumph in the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup 2015 and added that there is "no harder tournament to win."

USA coach John Speraw: "I'm rarely at a loss for words. To do something that hasn't been done in 30 years. There is not a harder tournament to win. The team kept focus. The challenge of the tournament made us better. This is a team that has tremendous promise. It's incredible what we could accomplish without players like Russell and Sander having even played a minute of pro volleyball. David Lee has put together a good career. Matt Anderson is stepping into a leadership role. I want to thank USA Volleyball, my staff. I can't say enough. They were tremendous all the way through. It's a stressful challenge for any coach to qualify for the Olympics. I thought our serve was good throughout the tournament and our blocking got better as we went along."

Argentina coach Julio Velasco:
"We didn't come here to qualify for the Olympics directly. We did good and got the best result ever for Argentina in the World Cup. We lost our opposite just two days before the tournament began, which made it difficult for us. We learned a lot here. We played at the same level with the best teams even when we lost. Now we need to rest and then train for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in October."

USA captain David Lee:
"We came here to win the tournament. The stars aligned and we were able to take the gold for the first time in 30 years. I can't say enough now about how the team played and took it one point at a time. It was a great performance."

USA player Matt Anderson: "It has been quite a whirlwind. Hats off to Italy and Poland. We had a lot of stress to prepare for this tournament. Our team had a goal they wanted to accomplish and that was to win the World Cup. This is my second time to qualify for the Olympics. We had an incredible performance here. I will hold this close to me for the rest of my life."

Argentina captain Luciano De Cecco:
"Congratulations to the USA for qualifying for the Olympics. There is not much to say. We played well against the USA. We are satisfied on how we played in this tournament."

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