[REAL VERSION] London 2012

REAL VERSION

Full coverage on NBC through August 12

Goliaths of Volleyball Fall to Italy

Defending Olympic champs lose to sixth ranked Italian team

Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012  |  Updated 12:01 PM PDT
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AFP/Getty Images

David Lee of the US reacts after the men's quarter-final volleyball match between the US and Italy in the 2012 London Olympic Games in London on August 8, 2012. AFP PHOTO/KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/GettyImages)

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The defending Olympic champion U.S. men's volleyball team has been eliminated from the London Games with a straight-set quarterfinal loss to Italy.

The fifth-ranked United States struggled to defend against Italy and its captain, Cristian Savani, who had 19 points in the 28-26, 25-20, 25-20 victory for sixth-ranked Italians.

U.S. setter Donald Suxho bent over with his hands on his knees and shook his head as Italy celebrated the win at Earls Court. And after shaking hands with the Italians, the Americans turned to applaud the many U.S. fans in the crowd.

David Lee of Alpine sat on the bench for a long time after the loss, staring at the court.

"We didn't capitalize on our chances," Lee said. "I think the Italian team served extremely well to the point that we couldn't receive and didn't run an offense that was fast enough or good enough to beat their blocks. Give credit to them as far as service, defense. They played great."

Captain Clay Stanley sarcastically cracked he had "all the time in the world" to talk.

"You work four years for this to get here and then just not show up for the game. It's kind of tough," he said, adding after a pause: "Not necessarily not show up, but just kind of get taken advantage of."

Wing spiker Reid Priddy, of Encinitas, wadded up his finger tape and threw it to the ground as he left the court.

"We had great plans for what we wanted to do here," U.S. coach Alan Knipe said. "We're disappointed. We're leaving London without a medal."

Four years ago in Beijing, the Americans banded together after their coach's father-in-law was stabbed to death at a Chinese tourist site a day before the opening ceremony.

The team won the gold, upsetting favorite Brazil 3-1. It was their third gold in men's volleyball, which became and Olympic sport in 1964.

Russia is the only other nation with three.

Italy has never won the Olympic gold, but the teams has won silver twice, most recently at the 2004 Athens Games.

 

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