Olympics: Men's volleyball team out of medal contention

The quest for a repeat gold medal came to a halt Wednesday for the U.S. Olympic men's volleyball team.

Defending champion Team USA was eliminated from medal contention by Italy, which scored a 28-26, 25-20, 25-20 quarterfinal round victory at Earls Court in London.

Team USA, ranked fifth in the world, had won gold at the Beijing Games.

Team USA is coached by Alan Knipe, who attended Marina High, played at Orange Coast College, and coached at Golden West College and Cal State Long Beach. The U.S. roster includes first-time Olympians Russell Holmes, a graduate of Fountain Valley High who resides in Fountain Valley; and David McKienzie, who graduated from Huntington Beach High.

Sixth-ranked Italy advances to face top-ranked Brazil in Friday's semifinals.

Team USA had finished first in Group B competition. It went 4-1 in the preliminary round, which included a 3-1 win over Brazil. The only loss came in five sets Saturday to Russia, a match where the U.S. held a 2-0 lead in sets. On Monday, Team USA bounced back to sweep Tunisia, 25-15, 25-19, 25-19.

The loss to Russia was the first in 12 Olympic matches for Team USA.

McKienzie played big in both the Russia and Tunisia matches. He came off the bench Saturday against Russia to register two aces and spark Team USA in the second set win. He started Monday against Tunisia and scored 16 points, which included two aces, and the win clinched the top seed for the U.S. in Group B.

Group B included Team USA, Brazil, Russia, Serbia, Germany and Tunisia. The U.S. also defeated Serbia (3-0) and Germany (3-0).

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