Penn State Volleyball

Anderson, U.S. men’s volleyball team rallies past Russia to win bronze medal

United States' Matthew Anderson (1), William Reid Priddy, center, and Erik Shoji celebrate during a men's bronze medal volleyball match against Russia at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
United States' Matthew Anderson (1), William Reid Priddy, center, and Erik Shoji celebrate during a men's bronze medal volleyball match against Russia at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) AP

Former Penn State standout Matt Anderson finished with a team-high 18 kills to lead the U.S. men’s volleyball team past Russia in the bronze medal match Sunday.

The Americans rallied to earn a 23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-13 win at Maracanazinho arena.

Max Holt, another former Nittany Lion, had eight kills, two blocks and three aces in the win.

“It’s fitting that we end like that,” Holt said on teamusa.org. “This whole tournament we’ve been fighting for our lives. We weren’t going to go down like that. Everybody just dug deep.”

Reid Priddy added 17 kills after replacing Penn State product Aaron Russell in the first set. Russell finished with two kills.

Priddy will try to make it in beach volleyball in Tokyo after his fourth and final indoor Olympics.

Priddy was just the second four-time Olympian for U.S. men’s volleyball, and three-timer David Lee has already said he is done with the national team after Rio. Together they captured gold in the 2008 Beijing Games. Now, Priddy and Lee are ready to go, knowing the program is in the hands of talented youngsters.

U.S. coach John Speraw’s players made the most of team meetings to get back on track in Rio, and the first-time Olympic coach is ready to take this learning experience and push on.

At some point, he will take time to thank Priddy again.

“More than anything,” Speraw said. “I’m just so happy for him.”

Brazil captures gold

With Neymar in a courtside seat cheering his countrymen, Wallace pumped his arms and let out screams from deep in his lungs as Brazil fed off the energy in raucous Maracanazinho arena.

Over and over again he celebrated each point that got his team closer to an Olympic title.

Brazil’s determined men’s volleyball team gave the hosts another sensational gold right next door to where Neymar and Co. did it less than 24 hours earlier in a thrilling penalty shootout against 2014 World Cup champion Germany.

Brazil beat mighty Italy 25-22, 28-26, 26-24 on Sunday for the home team’s first Olympic title in 12 years since a championship at Athens in 2004.

As the delirious home crowd hung out to watch the medal ceremony, fans danced in the stands and chanted “Campeao! Campeao!” — or, “Champion, Champion!”

Wallace wiped his still-sweaty brow as the Brazilian flag was raised and the national anthem began. He started singing. They all did, with tears of joy, right along with every last Brazilian in the arena.

“It’s really special, especially winning in our own home it leaves a really good taste,” Brazil’s William said. “It’s a whole life of work and this is our result. We are very happy for this.”

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