By Mike Sciacca
1:53 PM PDT, August 1, 2012
Two matches in and the U.S. Olympic men's volleyball team is looking good in London.
The U.S., which won the gold medal four years ago in Beijing, began its quest for a repeat Sunday by sweeping Serbia. The U.S. followed a similar path Tuesday when it swept past Germany to run its record to 2-0 in Pool B play.
Team USA, ranked fifth in the world, plays its third Pool B match against Brazil at noon (PDT) Thursday.
Alan Knipe (Marina High) of Huntington Beach coaches the 12-member U.S. team, which includes local players David McKienzie of Hermosa Beach (Huntington Beach High) and Fountain Valley resident Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley High).
Team USA defeated Serbia, 25-17, 25-22, 25-21, and edged Germany, 25-23, 25-16, 25-20.
"I thought there were a lot of good things we did, but probably better than most was the attention to detail, especially our blocking defense, our transition, just the out-of-system plays created a lot of opportunities to score points," Knipe said of the Serbia match.
Holmes registered three kills and three blocks against Serbia.
"I thought we played very well," he said. "We have been focusing on trying to start off strong from the very first ball and I felt we did that very well from the first set. We kept a lot of pressure on them (Serbia) with our serve, which helped us to set up in good spots with our blocking and defense. We also took advantage of the chances we had to convert points in transition situations."
The Serbia match was Holmes' first in Olympic competition.
"It was an honor and very exciting for me to be out there on the court competing for our country in my first Olympic match," he said. "It's such an awesome feeling to be a part of this great team and to be contributing to our team's success."
Holmes, who started along side David Lee at middle blocker, finished with five kills (on seven attacks) and four blocks against Germany.
McKienzie, an opposite, was a sub in both the first and third sets against Germany.
As his first week in London is coming to an end, Holmes said he is enjoying the Olympic experience
"The Opening Ceremony was nothing short of spectacular," he said. "Simply electrifying to be in the middle of that atmosphere. I believe it is every athlete's dream to compete in the Olympic Games and so for me, it is no different. I am living the dream, or at least my dream. I am enjoying every ounce of this experience and I am trying to make the most of this amazing and rare opportunity."