Taylor Averill attacks the set from Micah Christensen/Volleyball World photo

Matt Anderson had 13 kills and Taylor Averill 10 as the two combined for 23 of the USA’s 33 kills in a sweep of Iran on Friday in Volleyball Nations League.

It left the Americans 6-1 heading into Saturday’s match with Poland, their last of the second round in Rotterdam, Netherlands, before taking a break.’

Aaron Russell sparkled from the serving line as he came up with seven of his teams 13 aces compared to two for Iran (2-5). He also had two kills.

There were only four matches on the VNL slate Friday. Argentina swept Bulgaria, Italy did the same to Serbia, and France swept Cuba.

Saturday’s schedule includes Japan vs. Argentina, Brazil vs. Slovenia, Netherlands vs. Iran, China vs. Germany and Canada vs. France.

Idle Japan tops the standings at 7-1, the USA and Slovenia are tied at 6-1, Poland is 5-1, and Italy and Argentina are 5-2.

USA 3, IRAN 0: The USA stayed consistent and methodically came away with a 25-22, 25-18, 25-23 victory. 

“I thought the first set was played with a lot of energy,” USA coach John Speraw said. “They came out and were obviously very much into this match. They were banging serves, making some plays and fortunately didn’t hit them all in. That gave us a little bit of a window to work with and we made some plays late on the defensive side. Then our serving got going and we really put a ton of pressure on them from then on out.

“That was the difference,” Speraw said.

Thomas Jaeschke, who had seven kills, had two of the aces. David Smith, who had a kill and three blocks, also had two. Jake Hanes had one and so did Averill, who not only had no attack errors, also had two blocks.  

The USA in this tournament has swept Netherlands, swept Italy, swept Canada, and lost in four to Brazil before taking a break. In this round, the Americans beat Serbia in four, swept China and now face Poland.

Poland, which had Friday off, beat France in four to open the first round, beat Iran in five, beat Bulgaria in five and got swept by Serbia. In this round, Poland beat Germany in five, Netherlands in five, and finishes Sunday against Italy.

“Poland has a ton of depth,” Speraw said. “Don’t know what roster they’re going to come out with so we’ll have to be prepared to play everybody. But we have players who play in the (Polish) league, so we’ll know everybody pretty well. 

“Their ability to play at a really high level will make this probably our most challenging match so far along with Brazil. Tight turnaround, but we’re going to play hard, the guys are excited about it and we’re hoping to finish the week off 4-0.”

The USA players who are pros in Poland include Smith, libero Erik Shoji, TJ DeFalco, Hanes, Josh Tuaniga and Averill.

Iran actually had six more kills than the USA. It got 14 kills, a block and an ace from Amin Esmaeilnezhad.

ARGENTINA 3, BULGARIA 0: Luciana Palonsky had 12 kills, a block and four of his team’s seven aces in Argentina’s 25-18, 25-21, 25-22 victory over Bulgaria (1-6). Argentina got eight kills, six blocks and two aces from Agustin Loser and nine kills from Luciana Vicentin. Lima Bruno had seven kills. Bulgaria’s Dimitar Dimitrov had 13 kills and Alex Nikolov 11, a block and an ace.

ITALY 3, SERBIA 0: Italy rolled to a 25-11, 25-21, 25-20 victory that left Serbia 3-4 and need to climb its way back into the top eight. Yuri Romano had 13 kills and two aces, Roberto Russo had five kills, five blocks and three aces and Alessandro Michieletto had eight kills and a block. Italy held a 13-5 blocks advantage.Serbia’s Pavle Peric had 15 kills and Bozidar Vucicevic and Miran Kujundzic had 10 each.

FRANCE 3, CUBA: France improved to 2-4 and dropped Cuba to 1-6 with its 25-28, 25-20, 25-20.

By 152news

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