MEN'S VOLLEYBALL American men romp in 4 sets over Brazil
XATHENS, Greece -- The U.S. volleyball team, expecting a challenging meeting with Brazil, thought its opponent quit early and gave away a meaningless match, but Brazil insisted it was caught up thinking about the next one.
Whatever the case, the Americans move on with plenty of momentum, confidence and motivation -- should they meet the Brazilians again soon.
"I have all the confidence in my team that it's going to come back and bite them in the butt," middle blocker Ryan Millar said, "so we'll see what happens."
Reid Priddy scored 10 points to lead the U.S. team to a four-set victory -- 25-22, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22 -- in which both squads played their reserves extensively.
Brazil was already guaranteed the group's top seed, but the Americans were playing to pass Russia for third place -- allowing Brazil to avoid a potential semifinal matchup against the Russians. The Brazilians will now face the United States-Greece winner instead, if they beat Poland in Wednesday's quarterfinals.
Coach Bernardo Rezende denied any devious doings.
"We are thinking just about Poland," Rezende said. "If we win, we'll think about someone else."
U.S. setter Lloy Ball called Brazil's effort "embarrassing" and claimed they went against the Olympic spirit. "I hope they lose the rest of their matches," he said.
The Americans will face the Greeks in front of a crowd that's sure to be loudly against them. In the other quarterfinals, Russia will take on defending gold medalist Serbia-Montenegro and Italy goes up against Argentina.
U.S. starters Kevin Barnett, Clay Stanley and Ball weren't in the lineup while outside hitter Riley Salmon, opposite Brook Billings and setter Donald Suxho got some work in.
Though some felt slighted by Brazil's performance, the Americans aren't exactly broken up about another victory. They're eager to play in a raucous atmosphere.
"I like it for us," Millar said. "Why not? It puts us in a great spot. It's going to be crazy. I like doing that, because it keeps the intensity level up the whole time."