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

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 two semifinal matches.

Online voting for both these play-in matches will end at 10 p.m. (CST) Sunday. The team receiving the most online votes will advance to the championship round that starts Monday.

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, Steve 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.

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 Fortune 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.

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 quarterfinals 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.

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.