U.S. blocking too much for France in comeback Olympic win

Opposite Matt Anderson and outside attacker Aaron Russell provided more than just offense in a comeback victory for the United States.

Anderson and Russell along with having double-digit kills each added a team-high three blocks as the United States defeated France 25-22, 25-22, 14-25, 25-22 on Saturday in Rio for its second consecutive pool-play victory.


The United States (2-2, 6 points Pool A) out-blocked France 11 to 8, including three blocks as part of rallying from a seven-point deficit to win the opening game. All six of the U.S. starters also finished with one block against France (2-2, 6 points Pool A).

Along with the blocking, Anderson was one of two U.S. players with at least five digs in the victory to move the team into a tie for second place in Pool A. Former Stanford libero Erik Shoji led all players with 10 digs for his second consecutive match with double-digit digs.

Russell competing in first Olympics ended with a match-high 15 kills. This was the second time in the last four pool-play matches that the former Penn State All-American led the United States in kills.

Anderson, who started the day leading the tournament in kills and having one more kill than Russell, finished with 14 kills against France. In addition, former BYU All-American outside attacker Taylor Sander had a tournament-high 11 kills on a .375 attack percentage.

France despite the loss out-hit the United States .296 to .257. The United States entered this match having more than a .350 attack percentage in its last two pool-play matches.

Opposite Antonin Rouzier in the loss led all players with 21 kills on a .389 attack percentage and had a team-high three blocks. France outside attacker Earvin Ngapeth also had 19 kills, while former UC Irvine All-American Kevin Tillie added seven kills against the United States.

Both the United States and France overcame at least five-point deficits throughout the pool-play match.

The United States rallied from a 17-10 opening-game deficit and went on a 15-4 run to close the game. In addition, France fought back from after trailing 7-2 in the fourth game to take the lead before eventually losing the game.

The United States will conclude pool-play with a match against last-place Mexico on Monday. If the United States wins its pool-play finale it will clinch a top-four finish in Pool A and berth to the quarterfinals.

France will play the host-nation Brazil in its pool-play finale with a chance to earn a quarterfinals berth with a victory.