USA men sweep Iran and move on to FIVB World final six

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The USA's Ben Patch, left, Taylor Averil and Dan McDonnell block Iran's Milad Ebadipour Ghara/FIVB photo

The USA men swept Iran on Sunday, capping a 2-0 trip to Bulgaria that ensured the Americans a spot in the FIVB Men’s World Championship’s next round in Torino, Italy.

The USA beat Iran 25-23, 26-24, 26-24 to improve to 8-0, a day after securing a spot in the six-team final by beating host Bulgaria 25-20, 25-20, 25-18.

That victory over Bulgaria gave coach John Speraw a chance to rest some starters. Accordingly, Ben Patch led with 13 kills and four blocks.

“It was a really good match for us. We started with different boys and it was a good opportunity for our first six to take a break and rest after the hard matches,” Patch said. “But it’s amazing that we’re going to Italy with eight wins. Of course we want to win the World Championship, but our main goal is to win every single match, set and point. The most important is to stay focused till the end.”

Dan McDonnell, a middle, played outside hitter and had four kills, a block and three aces.

“It’s always hard against Iran. I’ve always felt that in terms of skill set, ball control, precision Iran is one of the top teams in the world. We played a lot in the last five years and I feel that always we have a really good battles,” Speraw said.

“Today’s was surprisingly easy, because we came out with our second squad. I’m very pleased with the guys for the way they competed.”

In the last World Championship in 2014, the U.S. just missed making the final round when it lost in five sets to Argentina.

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