Anderson unstoppable, United States sweeps Italy in VNL semifinals

Photo courtesy of the FIVB

There wasn’t much – if anything – that went wrong for opposite Matt Anderson against Italy.

Anderson finished with a match-high 17 kills on a .640 attack percentage as the United States swept Italy 25-19, 25-18, 25-19 in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League semifinals on Saturday in Poland.

The former Penn State All-American and National Player of the Year had one attack error the entire match and did not commit an error in the final two games. Anderson also had a game-high eight kills in the final game to help United States secure a sweep and advance to the gold-medal match for the second straight year.

This was the second consecutive match that Anderson had at least 15 kills and hit more than .400 en route to the United States reaching the championship match. Anderson led all players with 20 kills on a .486 attack percentage in a quarterfinals victory against France.


Setter Micah Christenson guided the U.S. offense to out-hit Italy .417 to .202. In addition, the United States had a match-best .560 attack percentage in the final game of the sweep.

Along with Anderson, the United States had two players with at least five kills against Italy. Former Loyola outside attacker Thomas Jaeschke contributed 12 kills and hit .346, while former Long Beach State outside attacker TJ DeFalco added eight kills.

DeFalco also had a match-high three blocks in the victory.

DeFalco was one of three U.S. players with multiple blocks as the United States with 10 blocks – four more blocks than Italy.

Alessandro Michieletto in the loss led Italy with nine kills.

The United States with this victory will advance to play the host-nation Poland in the gold-medal match on Sunday. Poland playing in front of a home crowd of 10,483 people defeated Poland in four games in its semifinal match on Saturday.