2017 FIVB WORLD LEAGUE
The defending Olympic silver medalists from the United States are still looking to get off the lam on day 3 of play at the 2017 FIVB World League. They’ll have their best opportunity yet to do so against Belgium on Sunday. The Belgians have 4 points, including a surprising 3-0 sweep of defending champions Serbia on Saturday. That leaves them currently 4th in the Group 5 standings and in position to advance to the Final 6 in Brazil in early July.
Belgium is lead by their young 25-year old captain Sam Deroo, who had 15 points against Serbia. Belgium relies heavily on starting outside Deroo and starting opposite Bram van den Dries, who combined for 28 of the team’s 35 kills on Saturday, for their offense. While a lack of offensive diversity would normally be a problem, the American middles, without David Lee or Max Holt, won’t provide much resistance to a more predictable attack.
The Americans worked wildly-different lineups in their first two matches, though there was some stability at setter, for example, with Micah Christenson. After Ben Patch played well on Saturday as Americans seek to find a groove at opposite sans Matt Anderson, John Speraw will have some decisions to make. While there is a higher vision for the post-Olympic World League than medals, another pointless-outcome on Sunday would put big pressure on the Americans if they want a spot in the Final 6. Last year it took 19 points to advance – and even 6-consecutive sweeps to finish the tournament wouldn’t be enough to get the Americans there.
The match begins at 4:00PM Central European Time, 11:00AM U.S. East Coast Time, and 5:00PM Belgium Time. The live stream is below: