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Olympic Volleyball 2012: Team USA Will Shine in Unfamiliar Underdog Role

BEIJING - AUGUST 24: Clayton Stanley of the United States celebrates a point in the Gold Medal volleyball match between the United States and Brazil held at the Capital Indoor Stadium during Day 16 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 24, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Alex KayCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2012

The USA men’s volleyball team isn’t used to being an underdog in any competition, let alone the Olympics.

This is a group that has six key players returning from the 2008 Beijing Games, in which they won a gold medal after besting Brazil in the indoor championship match.

There is a great chance that the USA, ranked No. 5 in the world, eventually meets up with the No. 1 ranked Brazilians in a rematch of that epic contest four years ago.

Let’s take a look at some of the stars on Team USA that will be integral in the success of the squad and will help lead the underrated team to glory.

 

Clay Stanley

The 6’9” behemoth’s all-around game earned him MVP honors—and helped the US earn gold for the first time in 20 years—at the Beijing Games and he’s a major threat again in London.

This Honolulu, Hawaii native has experience playing at the club level in Greece and Russia and excels at blocking, services and simply putting up points.

 

Matt Anderson

The 6’10” outside hitter will be competing in his first Olympic Games, although he helped the US team to a gold at the Pan-American Cup in Winnipeg back in ’08.

He had 1,212 kills and 82 aces during his collegiate career at Penn State and proved he’s one of the best young players in the world. A good performance in London will push Team USA over the edge.

 

Russell Holmes

This 6’8”, 210-pound middle blocker is another Olympic virgin. He played his college volleyball at BYU and has been a productive member of the national team since 2009.

He’s yet another unheralded member of the roster that will prove the Americans were underrated going into this tournament after they surprise the world. 

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