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U.S. grabs first World League volleyball crown

7/27/2008

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil -- The United States won its first World League volleyball title by defeating Serbia 26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22 on Sunday.

Reid Priddy scored 21 points to lead the Americans at Maracanazinho stadium and Clayton Stanley added 16.

The U.S., coming off a third-place finish last year, had upset five-time defending champion Brazil in the semifinals on Saturday. Serbia, which got 28 points from Ivan Miljkovic, had reached the final by defeating Russia.

The Russians finished third by topping 25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19 earlier Sunday. It was the first time since 1998 that Brazil, also the defending Olympic and World Cup champion, finished outside the top three in the World League. The last time Brazil failed to win the title was in 2002, when it finished second to Russia.

Eight-time champion Italy is the winningest nation since the World League tournament began in 1990. Brazil has seven titles, and the Netherlands, Russia, Cuba and the U.S. each have one.