US men’s volleyball team secures bid to 2020 Tokyo Olympics

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — The U.S. men’s volleyball team secured a bid to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Sunday, beating the Dutch host 25-18, 25-20, 17-25, 25-21 to go unbeaten in the round-robin Tokyo Volleyball Qualification Tournament.

Ranked second in the world, coach John Speraw’s squad will look to build on the bronze the Americans won in Rio three years ago. The U.S. men reached the Olympics for the 10th straight time and 12th in all, winning gold in 1984, ’88 and 2008 and also a bronze in 1992.

“It is not easy playing three matches in a row, especially when you’re the favorite,” Speraw said. “It is always difficult to go out and play against teams that have nothing to lose. I think we handled that stress really well. We were poised and competed incredibly hard and played a great collective team game.”

No. 15 Netherlands, which gave up 31 points on errors, also was 2-0 in Pool B of the tournament before matching up with the U.S. American opposite Matt Anderson had 18 points with 16 kills and two blocks.

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The U.S. welcomed back Aaron Russell after he dealt with a knee injury earlier this summer. He contributed 17 points with 14 kills, a block and two aces. The Americans also beat Belgium and Korea on the way to qualifying for Tokyo.

“It was a tough tournament, but I’m really happy with how we all played,” Anderson said. “Aaron coming back and playing lights out for almost every part of every match.”

Last weekend, the U.S. women’s volleyball team earned a spot in Tokyo after also earning bronze in Rio de Janeiro.

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