The national Iranian men’s volleyball team has lost to the United States, conceding its first defeat at the third week of the 2017 Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World League.
The Iranian squad, which had captain Saeid Marouf, Seyyed Mohammad Mousavi, Masoud Gholami, Amir Ghafour, Farhad Ghaemi and Milad Ebadipour in its initial lineup for the Pool H1 - Group 1 fixture at the Hala Sportowa Spodek in the southwestern Polish city of Katowice, suffered a 0-3 (17-25, 22-25 and 28-30) loss to the American loss.
The American volleyball players started the match energetically, and Benjamin Patch together with David Smith got the first two points.
A smart spike from 20-year-old Torey Defalco gave the US team a 7-4 advantage, before they entered the first technical time out at 8-6.
Iran, thanks to good setting from Marouf, stood mostly close to the US; but spikes mounted by Jeffrey Jendryk made it 10-8.
Through patience and better team work, the American team put in a fine performance, and a spike from Taylor Sander gives a set point to the bronze medalists at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games at 24-16.
Finally, Iran’s Mojtaba Mirzajanpour served out to give the US team the first set with 25 points to 17.
Both teams got off to a decent start at the beginning of the second set, and Jendryk’s spikes from the middle of the court tied the game at 4-4.
In the 46th minute, Jendryk hit the net from the middle with his spike, and gave Iran the lead at 14-13.
The Iranian volleyball players then tried to surge ahead, and could lead 16-15 at second technical time out.
The Americans took the game to the wire as the match progressed, and closed the second set off at 25-22.
The US team maintained its composure and lead into the final set, and went on racking up points to finally clinch a 30-28 victory.
Benjamin Patch of the United States topped the scorers’ chart of the match with 24 points. Iran's Amir Ghafour earned 12 points for his side.
“It was a difficult match, because Iran is such a good team. We got a very nice score and I am proud with the way we responded and came come back in the third set. I don’t feel any stress. We still have an opportunity to make it to the Finals, but the most important thing to this group is to learn and keep getting better with every match. Russia is very big and physical. We played together in France but of course we have a lot of motivation and it will be a very different match,” US head coach, John Speraw, said after the match.
“We started this match bad; we didn’t have a good energy at the beginning of the first set. While the second set was full of ups and downs and in the end we didn’t manage to win a set playing this way. The last set was very similar, we also struggled with ups and downs, however, at some point we managed to play our game and what’s even more important, we were able to achieve a good score,” Iran’s head coach, Igor Kolakovic, said.
He added, “We were leading 20-14, but then Americans started to risk a lot with their service and thanks to it they managed to equalize. The set was prolonged, we played point-by-point and it went to their advantage, because we didn’t have enough self-confidence, so we lost a set which we should win.”