BEIJING 2008 OLYMPICS
The U.S. team's Reid Priddy blocked a spike by Brazil's Dante Amaral during their gold-medal match.
15 kills for Stanley as U.S. volleyball men get first gold since ’88
BEIJING » Led by former Hawaii opposite Clay Stanley's match-high 15 kills and three crucial blocks down the stretch, the U.S. men's volleyball team won the Olympic gold medal today, completing a perfect run in the tournament by beating defending champion Brazil.
Stanley, a Kaiser High graduate, accounted for five of the final seven points in the last set as the Americans rallied to win 20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23. It was the third gold for the U.S., the first since doubling up in 1984 and '88.
Brazil came into the Olympics as the top-ranked team.
The U.S. trailed 20-18 when Stanley, a second-generation Olympic volleyball player, got hot. The 6-foot-9 Stanley blocked Brazil's captain, 6-foot-4 hitter Giba Godoy Filho, twice and put down his 14th kill to give the U.S. the lead for good at 21-20.
Stanley's third block of Godoy Filho made it 23-21. Brazil held off one match point to close to 24-23, only to have Stanley answer with the match-winner off Godoy Filho, who popped the ball out of bounds.
The last of the Americans' eight victories came 15 days after the father-in-law of U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon was stabbed to death while visiting a Beijing tourist site with his wife and daughter. McCutcheon missed the team's first three games to be with his family.
"For him to start this tournament off with his wife's father passing away and to come all the way here and win a gold medal, I couldn't be happier for him," U.S. hitter Scott Touzinsky said.
In the stands watching his son win the gold was Jon Stanley, who played for the U.S. volleyball team in the 1968 and 1972 Olympics.
The U.S. defense was key to the victory. Three players were in double-figure digs: Rich Lambourne (12), Reid Priddy (12) and Lloy Ball (12).
Murilo Endres and Godoy Filho led Brazil with 12 kills each.