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Anderson, Team USA unbeaten

West Seneca's Matt Anderson helped Team USA volleyball win its pool with a 3-0 record and advance to the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier semifinals after sweeping Mexico late Wednesday night, 25-23, 25-19, 25-14 in Long Beach, Calif.

Team USA awaits its opponent for today's semifinal. Mexico played Puerto Rico in one of Thursday's quarterfinals while Cuba played Trinidad & Tobago in matches that ended too late for this edition. Canada (3-0) upset Cuba in its final pool match on Wednesday and plays in the other semifinal today.

The 6-foot-10 Anderson, a former All-American outside hitter at Penn State, finished with 12 points on 10 attacks and a pair of aces.

Team USA opposite Clay Stanley led all scorers with 14 points on 10 kills, three blocks and an ace. The winner of the tournament qualifies for the 2012 Summer Games in London.

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Thompson scores winner for U.S.

Tampa Bay center Nate Thompson broke the tie at the end of the second period to help Team USA beat Belarus, 5-3, Thursday in the world hockey championships. Justin Abdelkader, Cam Atkinson, Bobby Ryan and Paul Stastny also scored, and Jimmy Howard made 23 saves for the United States, 2-1-1 in Group A play.

The U.S. plays Kazakhstan today (9 a.m., NBCSN).

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Nadal bounced in Madrid

Rafael Nadal lost to Spanish countryman Fernando Verdasco for the first time in the Madrid Open on Thursday, then he and top-ranked Novak Djokovic threatened not to return if the new blue clay-court wasn't discarded. Nadal blew a 5-2 lead in the third set in losing, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5, his first defeat to Verdasco in 14 matches.

The third-round loss was Nadal's earliest exit in a clay-court tournament since he fell in the second round in Palermo, Italy, in 2004. Defending champion Djokovic and Roger Federer, meanwhile, eased into the quarterfinals with straight-set wins.

From News Staff and wire service reports