U.S. Men's Volleyball, With Christenson Setting, Drops 5-Set Semi Heartbreaker To Italy.

    Micah Christenson
    Aug. 19, 2016

    The No. 5-ranked U.S. men’s volleyball team, with former USC All-American Micah Christenson setting, lost a heartbreaker to No. 4 Italy, 30-28, 26-28, 9-25, 25-22, 15-9, in the semifinal match of the Rio Olympics on Friday (Aug. 19). It snapped a 4-match winning streak for the U.S.

    The loss sends the U.S into the bronze medal match on Sunday (Aug. 21) at 5:30 a.m. PT against the loser of today’s semifinal match between No. 1 Brazil and No. 3 Russia. That bronze medal match can be viewed via live stream on NBCOlympics.com .

    The U.S. men will be looking for their second Olympic bronze medal, after previously collecting one in 1992.

    It was the U.S. team’s second loss to Italy in these Rio Games. The Americans had their chances to win this match. The U.S. held a 23-19 lead in the first set before falling in extended play. It also led 22-19 in the fourth set before the Italians scored 6 straight points.

    Christenson, the starting setter for the U.S. throughout these Olympics, had 47 assists, 3 kills, 3 digs and 2 blocks against Italy. Fellow Trojan All-American Murphy Troy did not see action in the match.

    After starting off the Rio Games with a pair of losses (to No. 12 Canada in 3 sets and Italy in 4 sets), the U.S. squad won its final 3 Group Play contests, beating No. 1 Brazil in 4 sets, No. 11 France in 4 sets and No. 26 Mexico in 3 sets to advance to a quarterfinal berth, where it swept No. 2 Poland.