Tokyo Bound: United States overpowers Netherlands to clinch berth to 2020 Olympics

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

On the biggest of stages opposite Matt Anderson once again delivered for the United States.

The former Penn State All-American and two-time Olympian had a team-high 16 kills as the United States defeated the Netherlands 25-18, 25-20, 17-25, 25-21 on Sunday to clinch a berth to the 2020 Olympics.

With this victory against the host nation, the United States concluded Olympic qualification pool-play undefeated and earned the pool’s lone berth to the upcoming 12-team Olympic tournament in Tokyo. The win also extends U.S. streak of qualifying to 10 consecutive Olympic games.

Anderson, the most valuable player of the recent FIVB Volleyball Nations League Finals, finished all three Olympic qualification matches this weekend with double-digit kills. The opposite was in the tournament’s top five with a 52 percent offensive efficiency, including a 57.1 percent offensive efficiency versus the Netherlands.

The United States had three starters with at least five kills in its Olympic bid clinching victory.

Former Penn State All-American outside attacker Aaron Russell had 14 kills to bring his streak to three consecutive matches with double-digit kills. In addition, former UC Irvine middle attacker David Smith had six kills on a 60.0 percent offensive efficiency.

The United States out-blocked the Netherlands 11 to 8 with former Penn State All-American middle attacker Max Holt contributing a match-high five blocks. Along with Holt, Anderson and former USC All-American setter Micah Christenson each had multiple blocks against the Netherlands.

Netherlands opposite Mimir Abdel-Aziz in the loss led all players with 20 kills on a 64.5 percent offensive efficiency.

The United States was one of six teams on Sunday to win their qualification pool and earn a berth to the 2020 Olympics. Teams that did not win their qualification pool will move into the continental stage of qualification and will compete to earn the five remaining Olympic bids.