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U.S. falls in four to Italy

Updated: August 15, 2004, 6:40 PM ET
Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece -- The U.S. men's volleyball team sees itself as being in a much better position to medal in Athens than four years ago during a miserable performance in Sydney.

But that's not to say success will be easy. The field is stacked, as the Americans found out Sunday when Italy beat them in four sets to begin the preliminary competition.

"It tells me we can play with this team," said opposite Clay Stanley, who led all scorers with 21 points. "We can play with any team. ...

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