VNL 2024: Iran upsets powerhouse USA for first win

VNL 2024: Iran upsets powerhouse USA for first win

/ 11:09 PM June 19, 2024

Poriya Hossein Iran VNL

MANILA, Philippines — Iran turned to Poriya Hossein and Milad Ebadipour to stun the powerhouse USA, in five sets, 26-28, 25-23, 25-18, 26-28, 15-13, and earn its first win in the Volleyball Nations League (VNL) on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Although they are no longer in contention for the Final Eight, the Iranians played their hearts out to overcome the runner-up and Olympic-bound USA and snap an eight-game skid.

Hossein drilled 23 points including the game-winning kill to end a thrilling two-hour and 21-minute duel, while Ebadipour delivered 20 points off 16 kills, three blocks, and an ace to overcome TJ Defalco’s 33-point explosion.


VNL 2024 SCHEDULE: Week 3 Manila, Philippines leg

“It was a great game. We had tough weeks in the past and we lost eight games from eight. This is the most difficult team to play in the third week, to start (the week) against USA, one of the biggest teams in the world,” said Ebadipour.

“I think we have to start to win games and today was our first game in the third week. I’m so happy to win against the biggest team like USA.”

The Iranians couldn’t close out the game in the fourth, allowing the Americans to force a decider, where the former squandered a 13-11 lead before Defalco trimmed it down to one before Micah Ma’a’s crucial service error that sent Iran to matchpoint, 14-12.


Defalco saved a point but Poriya ended the game for Iran to improve to a 1-8 record and sent USA to a 3-6 record in 12th place.

READ: Team USA has ‘mountain to climb’ as VNL unfolds in Manila


Amin Esmaeilnezhad also stepped up for Iran with 14 points including three blocks, while Alireza Moslehabadi added nine points.

Ebadipour is proud of his young teammates for holding their ground against the World No.6 USA.

“I would say I’m proud of them (Iran team). We have a really young generation as I’ve said many times. They have a really good and nice future. I’m happy for this because today, they showed in the future that they can show the best performance and they can improve a lot,” he said.

“All of them are almost under 25 years old. This is great for our national team. This is really good and today, they showed the best quality, especially in the fifth set because it is not easy to play a fifth set against USA or these kinds of teams but they showed the best quality and I’m happy.”

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Iran seeks to carry its momentum heading ito Thursday’s game against the Netherlands at 3 p.m.

Defalco poured in 30 kills, two blocks, and an ace. Setter Micah Christenson ran the plays for the USA, as Matthew Anderson had 13 points including three aces. Jordan Ewert added 10 points. 

USA has less than 24 hours before facing Brazil on Thursday at 7 p.m.


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