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Taylor Sander - USA Volleyball
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USA Men’s Volleyball, Taylor Sander Roll Through Olympics Opener Against France

USA's Taylor Sander reacts after a point in the men's preliminary round pool B volleyball match between USA and France during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Arena in Tokyo on July 24, 2021. (Photo by Yuri Cortez / AFP) (Photo by YURI CORTEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The men’s USA Volleyball team began its quest for their first Olympic Gold medal since 2008 on Saturday. Team USA took on France in a Pool B match that didn’t start until 11 p.m. local time in Tokyo. But the late start didn’t bother Team USA, especially former BYU star Taylor Sander.

Coming into the Olympics, there were questions about the health of Sander, who has battled shoulder and ankle injuries leading up to the games. However, he put any questions about his health to rest as he was a tone-setter for Team USA in a sweep over a France team that believes this is their best team to win a medal for the first time in their history.

USA took down France in three sets, in a game that was completely controlled by the USA throughout. The scores were 25-18, 25-18, and 25-22.

Sander was the star of the match scoring 15 points and was on the attack throughout the entire sweep.

Team USA moves to 1-0 in Pool B play along with Brazil and ROC (Russian Olympic Committee) with the win.

Team USA continues pool play on Sunday night against the ROC at 8:05 p.m. MDT (Monday, July 26 at 11:05 a.m. in Tokyo).

Set 1: USA Volleyball 25, France 18

The USA Men’s National Volleyball team jumped out to a dream start to open set one. Team USA started the set behind the serving of Matthew Anderson with a 5-0 lead. Former BYU star Taylor Sander accounted for one of those five points. France called a timeout and then scored a quick two points.

That was the closest France would get in set number one.

Team USA rolled throughout, led by Taylor Sander, who had five points in the first set. A team-high that was tied with the high-flying Torey DeFalco and David Smith.

Set 2: USA 25, France 18

Coming into the match, the heralded matchup was Taylor Sander vs. France’s Earvin Ngapeth. Both players are known to wreak havoc on their opponents. Sander got the better of Ngapeth and France in set two. The former BYU star had a match-high 11 points through the first two sets.

France cut Team USA’s lead in set two down to two points on multiple occasions, but the USA always had an answer to fend off any potential run from Team France.

Set 3: USA 25, France 22

The service pressure from Team USA continues into the third set as America rolled to a comfortable sweep over a talented France squad. 14 of Team USA’s 25 points were attacks.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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