Best of U.S. Men’s Volleyball at the Games: Quarterfinals

Off the Block placed the 10 previous U.S. Men’s Volleyball Olympic Teams in a bracket, and now it’s up to you to determine what was the all-time best United States team to compete at the Olympics.

The Off the Block Best of U.S. Men’s Volleyball at the Games is a bracket-style tournament pairing former United States men’s volleyball teams against each other with the winner being determined through online voting. The four-round event continues today with the four quarterfinal matches.

Online voting for both these play-in matches will end at 10 p.m. (CST) Friday. The team receiving the most online votes will advance to the semifinals that start Saturday.

Check out the today’s ballots and a breakdown of each U.S. team below. Individuals also can vote along with viewing the complete tournament bracket at offtheblockblog.com/bestofusvolleyball.




1988 U.S. MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OLYMPIC TEAM
Olympic site: Seoul, South Korea
Place: 1st (gold medal)
Record: 7-0
Notable players on U.S. roster: Craig Buck, Bob Ctvrtlik, Scott Fortune, Karch Kiraly, Ricci Luyties, Eric Sato, Jeff Stork, Troy Tanner, Seve Timmons
Head coach: Marv Dunphy
How it qualified for Olympics: Automatic bid as defending gold medalists
Olympic recap: The United States not only repeated as gold medalists but became the first U.S. men’s volleyball team to go undefeated in the Olympic tournament. Karch Kiraly was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and Steve Timmons earned Best Blocker honors after the United States beat the Soviet Union to capture the gold medal. The United States in the gold-medal match rallied for the victory after losing the opening game — the fourth game it lost during the entire tournament. It also held the Soviet Union to a combined 22 points in final three games of its four-game win.

1968 U.S. MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OLYMPIC TEAM
Olympic site: Mexico City, Mexico
Place: 7th
Record: 4-5
Notable players on U.S. roster: Mike Bright, Wink Davenport, Smitty Duke, Thomas Haine, Butch May, Larry Rundle, Jon Stanley, Rudy Suwara, Pete Velasco, Jr.
Head coach: Jim Coleman
How it qualified for Olympics: North American team with the best finish at the 1967 Pan American Games
Olympic recap: The United States opened the Olympic tournament rallying from a one-game deficit to upset the defending-gold medalist Soviet Union in five games. The team, though, following that upset victory lost five of its next six matches with its lone win coming against Brazil. Despite the losses, the United States closed out its tournament with a four-game victory against the host-nation Mexico and a sweep versus Belgium.

2008 U.S. MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OLYMPIC TEAM
Olympic site: Beijing, China
Place: 1st (gold medal)
Record: 8-0
Notable players on U.S. roster: Lloy Ball, Tom Hoff, David Lee, Rich Lambourne, Ryan Millar, Reid Priddy, Sean Rooney, Riley Salmon, Clay Stanley
Head coach: Hugh McCutcheon
How it qualified for Olympics: Won NORCECA qualifying tournament
Olympic recap: The 16-year medal drought ended for the United States as it went undefeated in the Olympic tournament to capture the nation’s third men’s volleyball gold medal. The United States won three of its eight Olympic matches in a decisive fifth game, including a win against Serbia in the quarterfinal and a win versus Russia in the semifinals. Clay Stanley also had a match-high 15 kills as the United States defeated the defending-champions Brazil in the gold-medal match. Stanley would also be named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Best Scorer and Best Server after leading all players throughout the tournament with 116 kills and 15 aces.

1996 U.S. MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OLYMPIC TEAM
Olympic site: Atlanta
Place: T-9th
Record: 2-3
Notable players on U.S. roster: Lloy Ball, Bob Ctvrtlik, Scott Fortune, John Hyden, Bryan Ivie, Mike Lambert, Jeff Nygaard, Tom Sorensen, Jeff Stork,
Head coach: Fred Sturm
How it qualified for Olympics: Automatic bid as host nation
Olympic recap: The U.S. streak of winning three consecutive Olympic medals ended in front of its home crowd. Despite beating Poland and Argentina to open the tournament, the United States lost its three remaining pool-play matches and failed to advance to the quarterfinals. Those pool-play loses included a five-game overtime loss to Cuba after winning the opening game by 11 points and a five-game loss to Bulgaria in its pool-play finale. Among the tournament highlights for the United States was Mike Lambert having a match-high 24 kills in a sweep against Poland that had 14,200 people in attendance.

1984 U.S. MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OLYMPIC TEAM
Olympic site: Los Angeles
Place: 1st (gold medal)
Record: 5-1
Notable players on U.S. roster: Aldis Berzins, Craig Buck, Dusty Dvorak, Karch Kiraly, Chris Marlowe, Pat Powers, Paul Sunderland, Steve Timmons
Head coach: Doug Beal
How it qualified for Olympics: Automatic bid as host nation
Olympic recap: The United States playing in its first Olympics in 16 years capture the nation’s first gold medal in men’s volleyball. Despite losing to Brazil in its pool-play finale, the United States responded days later with a sweep against Brazil in the gold-medal match. Steve Timmons was named the Most Valuable Player as the United States lost a combined four games throughout the entire tournament. Along with Timmons, Aldis Berzins earned the Best Receiver award at the tournament. This gold medal came without the United States having to play the defending gold medalists Soviet Union, which boycotted the games being played in Los Angeles.

2012 U.S. MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OLYMPIC TEAM
Olympic site: London, England
Place: T-5th
Record: 4-2
Notable players on U.S. roster: Matt Anderson, Rich Lambourne, David Lee, Paul Lotman, Reid Priddy, Sean Rooney, Clay Stanley
Head coach: Alan Knipe
How it qualified for Olympics: Won NORCECA qualifying tournament
Olympic recap: Everything was falling almost perfectly into place for the United States until its quarterfinal match. The United States after winning its pool and earning a No. 1 seed for the quarterfinals suffered a three-game loss against Italy to be eliminated from the tournament. Among the highlights for the United States included Clay Stanley having both a match-high 16 kills and three aces in a four-game victory against the eventual silver medalists Brazil during the pool-play round. In addition, Matt Anderson in his first Olympics was among the tournament leaders with 70 kills.

1992 U.S. MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OLYMPIC TEAM
Olympic site: Barcelona, Spain
Place: 3rd (bronze medal)
Record: 6-2
Notable players on U.S. roster: Bob Ctvrtlik, Scott Fortune, Bryan Ivie, Bob Samuelson, Eric Sato, Jeff Stork, Steve Timmons
Head coach: Fred Sturm
How it qualified for Olympics: Automatic bid as defending gold medalists
Olympic recap: The United States rebounded from a semifinal loss to Brazil and a one-game deficit in the bronze medal match to beat Cuba and earn a spot on the Olympic medal podium. The team following a tournament-opening loss had a five-match winning streak to reach the semifinals, including a quarterfinals victory agains that the Unified Team. Along with the bronze medal, Scott Forturne was named the tournament’s Best Digger and Bob Ctvrtlik won the Best Receiver award. This remains the United States’ only Olympic bronze medal in men’s volleyball.

2004 U.S. MEN’S VOLLEYBALL OLYMPIC TEAM
Olympic site: Athens, Greece
Place: 4th
Record: 4-4
Notable players on U.S. roster: Lloy Ball, Kevin Barnett, Brook Billings, Phil Eatherton, Tom Hoff, Reid Priddy, Riley Salmon, Clay Stanley
Head coach: Doug Beal
How it qualified for Olympics: Won NORCECA qualifying tournament
Olympic recap: The United States came back from losing two of its first three pool-play matches to still advance beyond the pool-play stage. With the team playing near must-win matches, the United States beat Australia and the eventual gold medalists Brazil in its final two pool-play matches to reach the quarterfinals. Kevin Barnett in the quarterfinals led the team with both 16 kills and four blocks as the United States defeated the host-nation Greece in a fifth-game overtime. The team following its quarterfinals victory would lose to Brazil in the semifinals and Russia in the bronze medal match.