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Tiebreaker Times
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2023 VNL Season

USA triumphs over Germany to stay in VNL quarterfinal race


USA keeps its slim hopes of making the 2024 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League quarterfinals alive with a four-set thriller past a resilient Germany side, 25-23, 21-25, 26-24, 25-23 on Saturday morning at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The back-to-back VNL runners-up improved their record to 5-6, and this victory also earned them the maximum three points to keep pace with Cuba, Serbia, and Argentina for the eighth to 11th spots.

With Germany threatening to extend the match in the fourth set, the United States found the break they needed. A well-timed block by TJ De Falco against Tobias Brand’s attack let them reach match point at 24-23.

Another kill block, this time from Jeff Jendryk, sealed the win for the Americans against his opposite number Lukas Masse.

Seasoned opposite spiker Matt Anderson led the Americans with 23 points, including five kills in the fourth set, along with three service aces.

“We just try to play better each time we are on the court, and today we played a little better than we have in the past,” said the 37-year-old winger about their determination to win against the Germans.

“Every time we get out there, we need to work on a part of the game. And that’s part of being a good team – having to adapt to how you’re playing.”

The Germans, determined to make amends for their horrid defeat against Canada, showed resilience in defense from the opening set. Libero Julian Zenger and outside hitter Moritz Reichert took turns leading the Eagles’ stand to keep themselves in the game.

#ReadMore  Milad, Poriya lead Iran to stunning victory against USA in VNL Manila

Errors eventually doomed the Europeans to a first-set loss, and even in the final set, miscues from Reichert and György Grozer gave the advantage to the USA.

Given the breaks they needed, and with captain and reigning back-to-back Best Setter Micah Christenson at the helm, the Americans capitalized on the errors. The team then turned to Anderson and De Falco for the finish.

Middle blockers Jendryk and David Smith, making his VNL Manila debut, also contributed significantly.

De Falco produced 20 points with 18 kills, one block, and one service ace, while Jendryk and Smith combined for 19 points, each rejecting four German attempts.

The USA will try to sneak into the Top 8 when they face fellow fan favorites Japan (7-3) on Sunday for the preliminary phase’s closing game at 7:00 AM.

Grozer led Germany with 16 points, including 14 attacks and two service aces, while center attackers Tobias Krick and Masse chipped in 12 points each.

The Germans, who slipped to 4-7 and out of the Top 8, will face Iran (2-9) in a battle for pride at 11:00 AM to open the last day of Week 3 here in the Philippines.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.


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