The U.S. men’s volleyball team at the Olympics this summer will have a distinctive Penn State look on the court.
Three Nittany Lions were named to the Team USA roster Tuesday morning — more than any other school — in preparation for the summer games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, in August.
Matt Anderson, Max Holt and Aaron Russell are all members of the 12-man roster. Anderson, a right-side hitter, will be making his second Olympic appearance, after starting in the London games in 2012. Holt, a middle blocker, and Russell, a left-side attacker who graduated from Penn State last year, will each be making their first appearances in the summer games.
“Any time you can have five Nittany Lions as Olympians in a single sport at the pinnacle of men’s volleyball it is an awesome achievement,” coach Mark Pavlik said in a statement. “I’m really proud of the guys who have taken advantage of the opportunities to get them there.”
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Anderson, who was the USA Volleyball Men’s Indoor Athlete of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the 2015 FIVB World Cup, is one of just four players on the roster with past Olympic experience for coach John Speraw, who has been rebuilding the roster over the past four years.
Anderson and Holt helped the Nittany Lions to the 2008 National Collegiate Championship.
The U.S. qualified for the Olympics by winning the World Cup last year. The first match in Rio is set for Aug. 7 against Canada.
The trio will not be the only Nittany Lions on the court in Rio. Two other Lions are part of the squad for Mexico, with Carlos Guerra on the roster and Ivan Contreras an assistant coach.