BEIJING — Still missing its absent head coach, the United States men's

volleyball team won its second Olympics match in as many outings, battling

back from a first-set falter to down Italy in four games Tuesday.

The Americans improved to 2-0 in Pool A play and have an important match

against Bulgaria on Thursday. In the latest FIVB world rankings, the U.S. is

No. 3 and Bulgaria No. 4.

The four-set win against Italy (24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21) at Capital

Gymnasium came a lot easier for the U.S. men than their five-set victory

over upset-minded Venezuela two days earlier.

Of course, they've had the two extra days to continue dealing with the

bizarre and tragic stabbings of head coach Hugh McCutcheon's in-laws at a

Beijing tourist site, with Todd Bachman killed and Barbara Bachman

hospitalized with serious injuries.

Once said to be in life-threatening condition, Barbara Bachman is now

listed as stable, but McCutcheon and his wife, Elisabeth, a former U.S.

national volleyball player and 2004 Olympian known as "Wiz," have remained

at the hospital with Barbara Bachman.

"Life versus Olympics — it's all about perspective," said U.S. middle

blocker Ryan Millar, who echoed his teammates sentiments that some normalcy

and better on-court focus is returning to the team each passing day.

"But when we come into the locker room and he's not the one who's

speaking to us and we look at the sideline and he's not the one there —

that's a quick reminder that he's out," said Rich Lambourne.

Clayton Stanley led the United States with 19 kills, with William Priddy

contributing 18. Millar posted seven kills, three blocks and a pair of

service aces, while Lambourne tied for team-best honors with 10 digs.

The United States is 2-0 in the six-team Group A, with all other teams

except Bulgaria having suffered at least one loss in two matches to date.