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Stanley’s 13 points help U.S. sweep

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LONDON » The defending champion U.S. men’s volleyball team opened Olympic play Sunday by sweeping Serbia behind Matt Anderson’s 18 points.

Captain Clay Stanley, the Hawaii and Kaiser alumnus, added 13 points in the 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 victory at Earls Court.

The Americans are not considered a favorite in London despite a silver-medal finish in the recent FIVB World League tournament. But they were formidable against Serbia, which won the Olympic gold in Sydney in 2000 and finished fifth in Beijing in 2008.

Marko Podrascanin had 13 points, including two aces, for the Serbians.

"It was a good match. We fought hard and won in three straight, which is pretty much exactly what our game plan was to do," Anderson said. "We wanted to serve tough and put a lot of pressure on them, and I think we executed that pretty well."

The U.S. is ranked No. 5 by volleyball’s governing body. The team is in a difficult pool in London, joining top-ranked Brazil, perennial powerhouse Russia, Serbia, Germany and Tunisia. In the other pool are Italy, Poland, Argentina, Bulgaria, Australia and host Britain.

The U.S. jumped to an 18-7 lead in the first set and the public address announcer proclaimed it an "absolute mauling." David Lee spiked for set point.

David Suxho’s ace made it 15-7 in the third, and the Americans were on their way, drawing chants of "U-S-A!" from the crowd.

"It was a well-played match, and it was probably more the mind-set of the players that got them through," U.S. coach Alan Knipe said.

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