U.S. falls in 5 to Bulgaria, first World League loss

The U.S. lost for the first time in World League play Saturday at Hoffman Estates, Ill., 26-24, 25-17, 14-25, 13-25, 15-12.

Kawika Shoji started the match, played first two sets. Micah Christenson came in for the final three sets.

Erik Shoji at libero.

U.S. drops to 7-1, Bulgaria 1-7.

Americans head to Russia for matches June 27-28. The need one more win to qualify for the final round in Italy.


  1. volleyball fan June 21, 2014 5:25 pm

    Actually USA scored more total points but not when it counted in the fifth set. According to FIVB description USA led big in the first set but shot itself in the foot at the end as Bulgaria served three aces in a row. Likewise, in the fifth set, poor passing hurt them at the very end. No mention as to who made all those passing errors. Hope it wasn’t Eric Shoji. If anyone viewed the match, please inform us as to how USA lost at the end of the first and fifth sets, oh so close!

  2. Cindy Luis June 21, 2014 5:37 pm

    haven’t seen the final stats so don’t know about serve-recieve and how Shoji did there and with digs yet.

  3. Cindy Luis June 21, 2014 5:41 pm

    Here is FIVB’s account. Still waiting on USAV.
    Hoffman Estates, USA, June 21, 2014 – Bulgaria picked up their first 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League victory on Saturday with a hard-fought 3-2 (24-26, 17-25, 25-14, 25-13, 15-12) win over USA at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

    USA suffered its first loss of the 2014 World League, and must now head on the road to play matches in Russia and Serbia.

    Todor Skrimov led Bulgaria with 17 points on 12 attacks, one block and four aces. Tsvetan Sokolov added 14 points on 12 spikes and two aces. The United States’ Taylor Sander led all scorers for a second night with 18 points on 13 spikes, a match-high four blocks and one ace.

    USA led in spikes 48-43, and in blocks 14-7, but Bulgaria led in aces 12-10.

    USA took an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO) of the first set. Later, with USA still leading by one at 16-15, Rooney scored with a block and Holt followed with an ace to spark a 4-0 run. USA reached set point first at 24-19, but Bulgarian Viktor Yosifov scored with a kill and a block. The next USA attack went out and their lead was cut down to 24-22. USA called timeout but Skrimov served for three straight aces to give Bulgaria the lead. The final attack of USA went out of bounds to give Bulgaria the win. Skrimov scored nine points in the set for Bulgaria.

    A reinvigorated Bulgaria led the second set 8-4 at the first TTO on two straight aces by Nikolay Nikolov. The European side increased the lead to 16-10 at the second TTO. With Bulgaria leading 21-13, the teams traded service errors until Bulgaria had won the set 25-17. Sokolov scored six points in the set for Bulgaria.

    Coach John Speraw made big changes for Team USA in the third set, bringing in Micah Christenson to set, moving Matthew Anderson to outside hitter for Sean Rooney and starting Carson Clark at opposite. USA jumped to an 8-3 lead in the third set and increased it to 17-6. Bulgaria never threatened, while the United States’ offensive drive helped claim the third set win 25-14. Anderson had seven points in the set, Sander had six and Maxwell Holt scored five for USA.

    The fourth set was tied 9-9 when the USA used a 15-3 run, including service runs from Sander and David Lee, to reach set point at 24-12. Bulgaria held off the loss with a tip by Todor Aleksiev, but a net serve won the set for USA 25-13.

    In an intense fifth set, the score was tied 9-9 when Nikolay Nikolov scored with an ace, followed by a passing error from USA and a kill through the block from Todor Skrimov to put Bulgaria up 12-9. Bulgaria finally secured the match 15-12 as USA could not recover in the final plays.

  4. Cindy Luis June 21, 2014 5:46 pm

    1. not interpreting the writeup the way you are when you say ‘all those passing errors.’ aces are not passing errors, those are errors on serve-receive. Only passing error i see mentioned is in the fifth set, following an ace.

  5. volleyball fan June 21, 2014 7:28 pm

    4. Isn’t a serve-receive error a passing error? When you receive a serve, you are passing the ball to the setter. How can the two terms be unrelated? Please clarify.

  6. volleyball fan June 21, 2014 7:31 pm

    Unrelated to my previous comment, there was no mention of the USA women’s team losing in the finals of the Pan American tournament to Dominican Republic. They lost in four sets. I think it’s because the Americans played their B or C team while DR played its top stars including Bethania de la Cruz and libero Brenda Carillo. What amazed me the most that there was no mention of Brazil in the Pan Am Games. I wonder if they opted not to play or were deliberately excluded. Or did I miss something?

  7. Cindy Luis June 21, 2014 7:42 pm

    5. technically yes but that’s not how it goes down in the stats. As the article mentions, there was an ace then a passing error. When you pass the ball poorly or fail to pass on serve-receive, that is an ace. If you pass the ball poorly and it is unable to be set, i.e. digging a kill attempt, that is a passing error.

  8. Cindy Luis June 21, 2014 7:48 pm

    6. think it got mentioned in passing but since there was no Hawaii connection, I didn’t post anything.
    I asked Kiraly about the team they sent to Mexico. He said he didn’t consider it his B team, that everyone on the national team is on the national team, no differentiation. But he also wasn’t there to coach.
    Brazil withdrew from the competition two days before the start. Their matches were not removed from the schedule, but not played and considered forfeits.
    This was a Grand Prix qualifier and the U.S. and Brazil had already qualified prior to the Pan Ams. Have been told that Brazil had some banged up starters as did the U.S. The U.S. chose to get their younger players some experience.

  9. volleyball fan June 21, 2014 9:21 pm

    Cindy, thanks for answering all my questions. I really appreciate it.

    Still, no report of that match on USA Volleyball and it’s past 9 PM. I suppose it won’t be updated till Sunday. Hopefully then the official results will come out and we’ll find out who committed those serve receive faults as they are called.

    By the way, I made an error in comment #6. The star libero of Dominican Republic is Brenda Castillo, not Carillo. She had 19 digs in the winning match, more than anyone else on either team.

  10. volleyball fan June 22, 2014 9:37 am

    Sunday morning I finally got a chance to view the official stats. Although Eric Shoji had 13 excellent service receptions he got aced the most, six times! Others, too, made critical mistakes. Taylor Sander also had 13 excellent receptions but got aced four times. Matt Anderson, usually the best spiker, had 10 kills but 9 errors for a very low hitting percentage. Taylor Sander outdid him again with 13 kills hitting close to 40%. He also outdid Shoji in digs. Carson Clark had the most service errors, five. Too many errors overall did USA in the first and fifth sets. There are lessons to be learned. Everyone loses at times.

    Looking ahead, USA needs at least one victory on the road to make it to the finals. It would be a nice way to celebrate Independence Day by beating Serbia on the road. I wish them well.

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