After beginning the 2012 Olympic Games with a win over Serbia and Germany in straight sets, the U.S. Olympic Men's Volleyball Team is preparing to face Italy during the knockout quarterfinal round of the Olympic Games.
Held at the Earls Court in London, the match will start at 4 p.m. local time (8 a.m. PT) on Wednesday. The U.S. Team, ranked fifth in the world and defending Olympic Games champion, ended the preliminary round at the top of Pool B with 13 points and a 4-1 record. Their knockout match opponent is ranked No. 6 in the world, ended in fourth place in Pool A with eight points and a 3-2 record.
"Italy has an aggressive serve," U.S. Olympic Men's Volleyball Team Head Coach Alan Knipe said. "They have good servers that can put pressure on us. We have seen them a few times this year and the guys have a good reference point. They (Italy) will look at our videos and look at what weaknesses they can exploit and we will do the same."
Despite losing to No. 2 Russia, after a big upset with No. 1 Brazil, the Americans picked up an important point in the standings, which allowed them to clinch the pool after a victory over Tunisia.
Italy did not open the Olympics with as strong results, with a four-set loss to Poland, but bounced back for a four-set win over Argentina. However, on the final day of pool play, Italy lot to Bulgaria, dropping them to fourth place.
"We can't take (Italy) for granted," Stanley said. "They have great players who've all played in the top league in Italy. They're a young team and they've got great players. They're kind of struggling at the moment, though, I think."