The USA men’s volleyball team has battled all the way back from the brink of elimination to holding a legitimate shot at the No. 2 seed in Pool A.
The Americans swept Mexico in the final match of the preliminary round Monday, giving them nine points and a guaranteed shot in the quarterfinals.
They entered play Monday needing a strong showing or else they would have been on the outside looking in at the quarterfinals round.
Before the fifth day of prelims, the U.S. was tied with Brazil, Canada and France with six points in Pool A, but there was only room for three of those teams to advance.
With Brazil playing France Monday night, USA was guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals with three points against Mexico, which they accomplished with a sweep in straight sets.
It was quite the comeback for the Americans, who failed to collect a point in the first two matches in Rio, getting swept by Canada and losing to Italy in four sets.
But the U.S. squad shocked the top team in the world (Brazil) on Day 3, then downed France on Day 4 and took care of business in the final match.
Shockingly, the Americans found success Monday with their best player, Matt Anderson, sitting on the sidelines.
Anderson was the spark for U.S. against France and had been having a fantastic tournament, but hardly played against Mexico, getting benched early for Murphy Troy.
The U.S. will find out its opponent in the quarterfinals Monday night.