USA men's volleyball qualifies for Olympics, 3 Nittany Lions contribute heavily

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Former Penn State men’s volleyball student-athletes Matt Anderson, Max Holt, and Aaron Russell and the U.S. men’s national team qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after winning three-straight matches in the FIVB qualification tournament last weekend in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

After taking down Belgium in four sets Friday and sweeping Korea Saturday, the U.S. faced the host, Netherlands, in a showdown of two 2-0 teams. The Americans won the battle in four sets 25-18, 25-20, 17-25, and 25-21.

All three Nittany Lions played key roles for the U.S. throughout the tournament. Russell led the team in kills in both the Belgium (17) and Korea (10) matches while Anderson’s 19 kills paced the U.S. against the Netherlands. Russell led all U.S. scorers with 48 kills for the tournament with Anderson pitching in 44 points. Both started all three matches.

Holt was a force in the middle with 10 points on 10 kills against Belgium followed by a 10-point performance with a match-high five blocks in the clinching win against the Netherlands.

"It was a tough tournament, but I’m really happy with how we all played," Anderson said. "Aaron coming back and playing lights out for almost every part of every match and guys stepping in off the bench taking the place of Taylor Sander right now – it’s a great team effort all week."

This will mark the third Olympic Games for Anderson who was rostered with the U.S. in both 2012 and 2016. Holt and Russell also played in the 2016 Rio Games, where the U.S. won a bronze medal.

The U.S. has now qualified for 10-straight Olympic Games and 12 overall. They have won three Olympic gold medals (1984, 1988 and 2008) and two bronze (1992 and 2016).

Last Updated August 12, 2019