Aug. 25, 2004
ATHENS (Aug. 25) -- Trailing 2-1 in sets and 20-12 in points, the United States men's volleyball team saw their hopes slipping away in the 2004 Olympics, sitting just five points from elimination. Thanks in part to the play of Loyola Marymount University's Reid Priddy, the American's quarterfinal match against Greece, however, was far from over.
Getting contributions from everyone on the roster, the U.S. rallied past the host Greeks to win in five sets and move into the Olympic semifinals for the first time in 12 years.
Kevin Barnett scored 20 points and Priddy, a 2000 graduate from LMU, added 16 for the Americans in the 25-20, 22-25, 25-27, 25-23, 17-15 victory that guaranteed them a spot in one of the medal games for the first time since they earned a bronze at Barcelona in 1992.
They'll play Friday against Brazil, which swept Poland. Also, Russia eliminated defending gold medalist Serbia-Montenegro and Italy beat Argentina -- both in four sets. The Russians and Italians will meet in the other semifinal.
Greece, which had 9,300 raucous fans behind it the whole way, could only watch the U.S. team fight back in arguably the tournament's most competitive match.
The Americans trailed 8-1 in that amazing fourth set. They scored six straight and found themselves in the lead at 24-22, and two points later Barnett evened it at two sets apiece with a well-placed spike.
Greece didn't quit. With the crowd going crazy and injured middle blocker Theodoros Chatziantoniou cheering from his back after severely twisting his ankle earlier in the match, the Greeks took a 14-13 lead in the seesaw fifth set.
Kravarik's serve landed wide, and U.S. backup setter Donald Suxho -- faking a pass at the net -- flipped the ball into the Greek backcourt to give the Americans a 15-14 advantage.
Millar's kill made it 16-15 and then a final spike attempt by Greece missed on U.S. match point, giving the Americans a thrilling 3-2 win.
As for Priddy, playing in his first Olympics, he continues to shine for the Americans. He finished with 13 kills, three blocks and a team-high 17 receptions. The three-time All-American is one of three LMU former and current student-athletes to participate in this year's Olympics.
For more, go to the Olympic page on the LMU Athletics' website.
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