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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 7:48 p.m., Tuesday, May 27, 2008

US men's volleyball team beats Argentina in 5 sets

AP Sports Writer

IRVINE, Calif. The United States got off to a slow start before taking over and beating Argentina in an exhibition volleyball match, 19-25, 27-29, 25-20, 25-20, 15-12 tonight.

Former Kaiser High and University of Hawaii athlete Clay Stanley played in the game.

Reid Priddy had 19 points for the Beijing-bound United States team, ranked third in the world. The team already secured a spot at the Olympics by beating Puerto Rico in a qualification tournament in January.

Argentina, ranked No. 6 in the world, has not made it yet, but will play in the Olympic qualification tournament in Tokyo starting this weekend.

The Argentineans were without veteran leader Marcos Milinkovic, who is addressing family matters. Milinkovic was not scheduled to accompany the team to Japan.

Argentina pulled ahead 16-11 in the first set when Diego Stepanenko's hit couldn't be returned. Argentina went on to claim the set 25-19.

The United States was more competitive in the second set and drew cheers when Sean Rooney saved an errant ball and got it to Priddy, who placed his unreturnable shot perfectly down the middle.

But the U.S. men still had no solution for Argentina, which claimed the second set despite the chants of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" by the crowd at UC Irvine's Bren Events Center.

Priddy had seven points in the third set, but the United States started to pull away when Lucas Chavez couldn't return Gabe Gardner's shot that made it 23-19.

Rooney's crosscourt kill put the United States ahead 12-9 in the fourth before David Lee's block made it 18-13, and the home team evened up the match at two sets each.

David Lee scored the point that gave the United States the match.

Chavez led Argentina with 22 points.