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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June 16, 2016 – In tough battle USA defeated Argentina 3-1 (26-24, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22) on the first day of 2016 World League. The efficiency of USA’s block was a key feature to the victory, with Taylor Sander scoring 23 points for his team.

After two successful World League seasons with gold (2014) and bronze (2015) USA returns to begin another race, starting the Group 1 competition against Argentina. Both teams have met each other in the tournament back in 2013, with each of them winning once, with the same score 3-1. Argentina, who never won a World League medal, will have to compete in the Group 1 without its main weapon Facundo Conte, who pauses due to an injury. Argentinians have more spikers in their ranks, with Bruno Lima taking charge today and scoring 19 points for his team. On USA side Taylor Sander took 23 points and remains the best scorer of the match

Argentina and USA entered the court with the same goal: to win the first match. Both teams were struggling to keep the lead with Cristian Poglajen from Argentina, and Taylor Sander from USA, scoring equally for their teams. The set was tight until the end, when USA’s block prevail and its defence system allowed Taylor Sander to spike on a counter-attack to finish it 26-24.

Team USA came on court more focused in the second set with the veteran Reid Priddy playing more effectively in attack. The South-Americans did not stay too far behind, but faced some difficulties with the side-out. Although Bruno Lima and Nicolás Bruno were Argentina’s beacon of hope to change the currents, the North-Americans got the set by 25-23.

The third set repeated the history of the first with the two sides switching positions ahead on the scoring board. The plot was a bit different as Argentina was more consistent with service and defence. The South-Americans endured the set with a remarkable performance of Bruno Lima and won by 25-22.

After losing the previous set, USA was back on court decided to finish the match decreasing the amount of turnovers to minimum. Reid Priddy and Taylor Sander were eager to take the set on team’s behalf. Nevertheless, the Argentinians kept the will to take the match towards the tiebreak alive. After a long rally, Sander shut down the rivals’ reaction and closed the set and the match, 25-22.

Press Conference:

Taylor Sander led his team to a 3-1 victory over Argentina in USA's first match at the 2016 World League. The wing spiker scored 23 points for his team and assures that the team is working to keep getting better.

John Speraw, coach of USA: “It was a great game and Argentina plays a good volleyball. My team did not confirm the side out as I wanted and we had a lack of precision in passing. It was the first match of this season and we are getting use to play as a team yet.”

Julio Velasco, coach of Argentina: “Team USA played better than us and deserved the victory. They were better in passing and counter-attack. We expect another tough match against Brazil tomorrow."

Bruno Lima, opposite of Argentina: “USA have a good group of players. They performed well in blocking and defence and that was crucial to their accomplishment today.”

Taylor Sander, wing spiker of USA: “It was a difficult match. We did not play as we wanted to, but is early in the season, so we just want to keep getting better in each match. We need to get used to play together all over the court. Overall was good to win the first match”.

Related information:

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 - Schedule

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 - Teams

FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 - Media Guide