Taylor Sander scored 19 points for USA against Iran in their opening Pool B clash
Los Angeles, California, USA, May 30, 2015 - The 2014 FIVB World League champions USA got their 2015 campaign off to a winning start on Saturday, beating last year’s semi-finalists Iran 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23) in Pool B. Taylor Sander scored a game-high 19 points for USA while Shahram Mahmoudi scored 17 for Iran.
Both teams started the match with strong hitting, but USA edged ahead and despite some impressive Iran service, the home side took an 18-14 lead courtesy of a Sander ace of his own. A block from Max Holt and Micah Christenson gave USA a 25-19 first-set win.
Playing in their third FIVB World League, Iran raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set, before USA breached the deficit and eventually took control. Iran staged a comeback late in the set but a triple block from the home side gave them set point at 24-21 before an Iran service error gave USA a 25-22 set victory and a 2-0 lead.
Iran were dominant for stretches at the beginning of the third set and after a Mojtaba Mirzajanpour ace they led 11-5. When given his opportunity, Christenson wasn’t to be outdone from the service line and fired down consecutive aces to level scores at 13-13. He eventually served in to the net to end an 8-0 run, with USA leading 15-14 after the error. Seyed Mohammad Mousavi Eraghi was prominent for Iran and Mir Saeid Marouflakrani dumped the ball successfully on set point for a 25-23 third-set win, their 49th winning set in the FIVB World League.
After Iran opened the fourth with a 4-1 lead, USA reeled them in and levelled scores at 5-5, before going on to claim a 17-14 advantage. Sander blocked truly to give USA match point at 24-22 before David Smith soon finished the job with a spike down the middle to give the 2014 World League champions a 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23) win.
See the full match statistics, match text commentary and photo gallery here