USA volleyball takes down the top team in the world

Desperation is a powerful emotion.

With their backs against the wall, the Americans absolutely had to have at least one point on Day 3 of preliminaries Thursday night.

The only problem? They were going up against the best team in the world – a Brazilian squad playing in front of their home crowd in a packed arena.

But none of that mattered. 

After sloppy and inconsistent performances on the first two days of prelims, a different U.S. team showed up to the floor Thursday.

Team USA stormed out of the gate with wins in the first two sets, getting major contributions from setter Micah Christenson, captain David Lee and star Matt Anderson.

The U.S. struggled with service aces in the first two matches in Rio, handing their opposition too many points. But Thursday night, serving was a strong point for Anderson and Co., picking up clutch aces and putting Brazil on its heels from the outset.

With three points from the match, USA pulls even with Canada for the fourth spot in Pool A – the final quarterfinals slot – with two matches left to play.

Brazil won six of eight sets to begin the Olympics, but picked up zero points Thrusday and remains tied with France for the second spot with six points after three matches.