Hawaii’s Stanley Helps USA Defeat Serbia in Volleyball

July 29, 2012, 11:31 AM HST · Updated July 29, 11:36 AM
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USA captain Clay Stanley, a former University of Hawaii standout, shakes the hand of the captain from Serbia before their match Sunday. 2012 FIVB photo.

By Rodney S. Yap

The defending champion US men’s volleyball team opened Olympic play Sunday by sweeping Serbia behind Matt Anderson’s 18 points.

Hawaii’s Clay Stanley added 13 points in the 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 victory at Earls Court.

The Americans were not considered a favorite despite a silver-medal finish in the recent FIVB World League tournament. But they were formidable against Serbia, which won the Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000 and finished fifth in Beijing in 2008.

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Marko Podrascanin had 13 points, including two aces, for the Serbians.

“It was a good match. We fought hard and won in three straight, which is pretty much exactly what our game plan was to do,” Anderson said. “We wanted to serve tough and put a lot of pressure on them, and I think we executed that pretty well.”

Clay Stanley. USA File photo.

The US jumped to an 18-7 lead in the first, set and the public address announcer proclaimed it an “absolute mauling.” David Lee spiked for set point.

Serbia went up 6-2 in the second set before the Americans rallied. The Serbians managed to hold off the Americans for three set points before a return error ended the set.

David Suxho’s ace made it 15-7 in the third, and the Americans were on their way, drawing chants of “U-S-A!” from the crowd.

On Saturday, former University of Hawaii swimmer Melanie Schlanger won a gold medal as the anchor of Australia’s 4×100 freestyle relay team.

Schlanger swam her leg in 52.65 seconds, fastest on her team, and held onto the lead her teammates handed her. The Netherlands finished 0.64 seconds back for the silver. The United States won bronze, 1.09 seconds behind the Aussies.

Azad Al-Barazi, another UH alum, swam in the 100 breaststroke for Syria but did not make it out of the preliminaries. He and other Syrian athletes stayed away from politics when talking with reporters.

“I am just soaking up this place, this event, the Olympics, and going ‘wow’ every time I see these incredible athletes in the same place with me,” said the 24-year-old Al-Barazi.

“It was not my best time, not my fastest result, but it’s my first Olympics, and I was very nervous,” Al-Barazi said. “It’s hard to put in words, but I am just so happy to be here. It’s an important achievement in itself.”

Also Saturday, the US women’s volleyball team, featuring Punahou alumna Lindsey Berg and Kalani grad Tamari Miyashiro, beat South Korea 3-1 in pool play.

“We’re thrilled. We got the win,” US captain Berg said in a Star Advertiser report. “One down.”

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