Germany frustrated USA in their Pool E FIVB World League Finals encounter with a five-set win 3-2 (25-20, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 16-14). Both teams put on some astonishing volleyball watched by 3000 spectators in Arena Armeets Sofia.
The U.S. took an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout, getting points off a kill and block from Anderson and an attack and block by Priddy along with a Lee kill. The teams traded scores until Americans led 16-12 at the second technical timeout. Coming out of the break, Germany went on a 4-1 run to pull to within one point at 17-16. Anderson and Holmes put USA back up 20-16. Germany never got any closer and it was 25-20 victory for the States.
The teams were tied at 5-5 in the second set when Germany scored on an attack and an ace to take the two-point lead. Gyorgy Grozer scored to give his team the 16-13 lead. Germany had a 3-1 run coming out of the break to lead 19-14. North American side couldn’t put together enough of a rally and Germany took a 25-21 set win.
Germany scored on three straight strikes from Grozer to lead 8-6 at the first technical timeout in the third set. Vital Heynen’s boys still led by two at 12-10 when Knipe substituted Smith for Holmes and Smith scored with a quick kill and then an ace. The teams traded points until the score was tied 16-16. Then USA came back with two straight Smith blocks to lead 20-16. The advantage was comfortable enough to be kept by the end of the set and Americans were once in the lead – 25-21.
Thirsty for revenge, Germany opened the fourth set with a 8-1 lead. The shock for the Americans was too big to recover, even though they were down only by three at the second technical time out, 16-13. Then Grozer scored on an attack and Max Gunthor took the serve and helped Germany score three straight points to lead 21-15. This seemed enough to equalize the sets – 25-20.
Again with the speed of light, Germany took a 4-1 lead in the tie-breaker. Americans tried to keep close distance but were down by 5 at 10th point. Then the miracle almost happened. Lee, Stanley and Rooney brought USA close at 10-9. Then Georgy Grozer rose and helped his team to reach match point at 14-11. Then it was a miracle again. Rooney and Stanley gave some air for the USA and tied the score at 14-14. But the next a serve went long and Kaliberda gave Germany the victory 16-14. (http://www.fivb.org/EN/volleyball/competitions/WorldLeague/2012/viewPressRelease.asp?No=35890&Language=en)
All photos are from www.fivb.org)