Dallas, USA, July 1, 2016 – The United States’ tough blocking and receiving won out against Bulgaria’s hard hitting as the Americans took a 3-1 (23-25, 25-21, 27-25, 25-21) victory in FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 pool play on Friday at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Arena in Dallas.
The win improves USA to 6-1 while Bulgaria falls to 0-7. USA led the European side in blocks 13-5, led by David Lee with four and Reid Priddy with three. USA’s serving also made a difference as the team led 4-1 in aces. Both teams struggled with errors. Bulgaria scored 33 points on US errors while committing 29. Bulgaria’s Tsvetan Sokolov led all scorers with 24 points on 21 attacks, two blocks and one ace. Taylor Sander paced the United States with 16 points and Matt Anderson added 15.
This was USA's seventh World League win against this opponent, while Bulgaria have recorded nine victories against the Americans.
The first set came down to the final points. With the score tied 22-22, Bulgaria scored twice, including a kill from Sokolov, to reach set point. The U.S. scored once more, but a U.S. service error won the set for Bulgaria.
With USA hanging on to a 21-20 lead in the second set, Lee scored on a quick, then served for two more points, including an ace, to give USA set point. David Smith put the set away for USA with a spike.
Bulgaria jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the third set. USA did not back down and tied the score at 17-17. The score was still tied at 25-25 when Bulgaria served into the net and Sander secured the win with a tip.
Bulgaria again took the lead in the fourth set, 10-3. The U.S. did not give up and tied the score at 15-15 on a service run by Smith. With the score tied 18-18, Bulgaria let a ball drop and then hit the next attack out of bounds. A kill and block from Anderson put USA ahead 22-18 and Bulgaria could not recover.