The USA men’s volleyball team hasn’t qualified for the Olympics yet. To do so, fortunately, all they need to do is protect their home court, as the Long Beach State alum-laden roster can qualify by winning the NORCECA Men’s Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament, running this week in the Pyramid. They took another step closer on Tuesday night, with a 25-14, 25-9, 25-9 victory over Costa Rica.
That sets up tonight’s pool play finale against Mexico, who, like the USA, is 2-0 in the pool. That will determine how easy or difficult the remaining few days of competition is for the Americans.
“We’re anticipating a tough match,” said captain Clay Stanley. “They took us to five at Worlds, Mexico is not a team to be taken lightly.”
On Tuesday, however, Team USA’s powerful serves were simple too much, as they tallied 11 aces in three sets, better than one ace in each eleven attempts. Paul Lotman, a Long Beach State grad who used his powerful jumpserve to propel the 49ers to a Final Four, came in off the bench to start the third set, and keyed a 6-0 beginning that included two aces and an overpass kill.
“We’ve been serving hard and keeping them in a lot,” said head coach Alan Knipe. “That’s the goal. We applied continued pressure from the end line.”
Team leaders were LBSU alum David McKenzie, who had eight kills on 10 swings, and Matt Anderson, who had six kills on 10 swings. The Mexico match is at 8pm in the Walter Pyramid.