Olympics

USA men’s volleyball team in Dallas gearing up for Olympics

U.S. men’s volleyball coach John Speraw expects close matches during this weekend’s World League competition in Dallas.
U.S. men’s volleyball coach John Speraw expects close matches during this weekend’s World League competition in Dallas. AP

With the Rio Olympics just around the corner, the U.S. men’s volleyball team will have a tuneup Friday through Sunday in Dallas.

Australia, Russia and Bulgaria are joining the United States for the Federation of International Volleyball World League competition at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.

The U.S. will play Bulgaria at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Australia at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Russia at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The match against Russia will be on KXAS/Channel 5. Bulgaria is ranked seventh in the world.

“Russia has such a rich tradition, Australia barely missed out on qualifying — so there’s three teams that are very talented and will give us nice, close matches,” U.S. coach John Speraw said. “Exposure wise, we like to come to regions of the country that don’t typically have men’s volleyball. We’re excited for the local residents to see the games.”

Speraw, who is also the men’s volleyball coach at UCLA, saw the U.S. men place third in 2015 at the FIVB World League and win gold at the FIVB World Cup, a finish that qualified the team for the 2016 Olympics.

During the FIVB World League, the U.S. is 4-1 with wins over Argentina, Iran, Belgium and Australia. Its lone loss came June 19 against top-ranked Brazil in four sets.

“These games are critical. We don’t have that many matches to prepare,” Speraw said. “We’re guaranteed nine matches before the Olympics. We’re excited to get out there and compete for the local fans.”

The Rio Games run from Aug. 5-21.

World League volleyball

At Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas

Friday

Australia vs. Russia,

5:30 p.m.

U.S. vs. Bulgaria, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday

Bulgaria vs. Russia,

5:30 p.m.

U.S. vs. Australia, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday

U.S. vs. Russia,

12:30 p.m., KXAS/5

Bulgaria vs. Australia, 3 p.m.

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