Four-time Olympian outside attacker Reid Priddy save his best performance for his final Olympic match to help the United States enter a spot on the medal podium.
Priddy had a tournament-high 17 kills on a .615 attack percentage as the United States rallied from a two-game deficit to beat Russia 23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-13 in the bronze-medal match Sunday morning in Rio.
With this comeback victory, the United States (5-3) earns its fifth indoor men’s volleyball medal since volleyball became an Olympic sport in 1964 and the nation’s second medal finish in the last three Olympics.
This bronze-medal match was the first time since 1998 the United States rallied from a two-game deficit to win an Olympic match. In addition, the United States overcame a two-point deficit in the decisive fifth game to win the bronze medal.
Priddy coming off the bench midway through the first game committed one attack error on more than 25 attempts throughout the entire match. The former Loyola Marymount All-American also added an ace and four digs in his first significant playing time during the tournament.
The United States in the victory out-hit Russia .429 to .307 and along with Priddy had three players finish with double-digit kills. Opposite Matt Anderson had match-high 18 kills on a .343 attack percentage, while outside attacker Taylor Sander added 14 kills and two aces.
Both U.S. middle attackers also were near flawless offensively against Russia (5-3).
U.S captain David Lee ended with nine kills on zero attack errors and the former Penn State All-American Max Holt had eight kills on zero attack errors. The two middle attackers each had more than a .700 attack percentage in the victory.
Along with his offensive performance, Holt led the United States with three aces. Holt entered the bronze-medal match tied for second in the tournament with nine aces.
Russian middle attacker Artem Volvich in the loss had a match-high five blocks and added nine kills. In addition, outside attacker Egor Kliuka led Russia with 13 kills.
Despite the loss, Russia out-blocked the United States 12 to 8 and had three players finish with multiple blocks.
Libero Erik Shoji led the United States defensively with a match-high nine kills. The former Stanford All-American also became the first player in the tournament to accumulate more than 50 digs.
This was the first time since the 1988 gold-medal match that the United States defeated Russia in the Olympics. In addition, this U.S. team becomes the first in the nation’s history to win an Olympic men’s volleyball medal after losing its first two matches to open the tournament.
Russia with this loss ends its streak of medaling on four consecutive Olympics dating back to 2000.