Serbia & Montenegro Defeats U.S. Men in World League Battle

Aug. 04, 2006, 12 a.m. (ET)
SPOKANE, Wash. (Aug. 4, 2006) - Serbia & Montenegro started slow but gained momentum and the U.S. Men's National Team couldn't put up a roadblock as Serbia & Montenegro defeated the United States 3-1 (13-25, 36-34, 25-22, 25-17) in their 2006 FIVB World League match at Spokane Memorial Arena.

With the victory, Serbia & Montenegro improves its World League record to 5-2 and takes the lead in Pool A. The two teams will play again at 8 p.m. PDT on Saturday. The match will be broadcast live on CSTV.

Ivan Miljkovic led Serbia & Montenegro with 25 kills and two blocks. Goran Vujevic added nine kills and four scoring blocks.

Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) led the United States with 20 points on 16 kills, three blocks and one ace. Jim Polster (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) had 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks and David McKienzie (Littleton, Colo.) added 12 points on kills.

"This is the reason we are playing in this competition against good teams like Serbia & Montenegro," said U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand). "If we learn from it, maybe it was worth going through it."

Due to travel problems, the players and coaches from Serbia & Montenegro arrived in Spokane later than expected, which may have contributed to a slow start.

Serbia & Montenegro's rhythm was off in Game 1 as it was beset by serving and hitting errors. The U.S. Men took a 9-5 lead and never trailed. Serbia & Montenegro had 11 successful kills and eight errors in the game. The United States had 14 kills and only one error. Serbia & Montenegro also had four service errors while the U.S. had one.

Moreover, Team USA opened with seven scoring blocks and Serbia & Montenegro had none.

"I think the USA was much better in the beginning," Vujevic said. "In the second set, we kept believing in ourselves and we managed to turn the game around. I think the USA lost a great opportunity."

The battle really began in Set 2. Serbia & Montenegro took an 8-3 lead. The U.S. men came back and put Serbia & Montenegro on its heels at game point, 24-19. But Geric served for five points and Serbia & Montenegro's net game heated up to make the score 24-24.

For 20 points, neither team gave an inch. At 34-34, Serbia & Montenegro blocked U.S. setter Donald Suxho's attempt to dump the ball. Andrija Geric followed up with a stuff block and Serbia & Montenegro won the set.

"It's frustrating to let a team back into a game you're about to close," Priddy said. "This isn't going to happen again. I think everyone in our locker room agrees with that."

Miljkovic continued to dominate in Game 3 with seven more kills. The United States got a lead at 5-3. But Serbia & Montenegro turned on the fire power and came back to make it 14-8 as Vujevic served for four points. The teams tied at 22-22, but U.S. blocks of Miljkovic went out of bounds. Dave McKienzie's hit went into the antennae for the final blow.

Serbia & Montenegro took a 19-11 lead in Game 4 and the victory was sealed.

For more U.S. World League information, go to http://www.usavolleyball.org/National/06worldLeague.asp.

The FIVB World League web site is http://www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2006/.
2006 FIVB World League Standings as of Aug. 4, 2006

Pool A
Serbia & Montenegro 5-2
USA 4-3
Poland 3-3
Japan 1-5

Pool B
Brazil 7-0
Finland 3-4
Portugal 2-4
Argentina 1-5

Pool C
Russia 5-1
France 5-1
Italy 2-4
China 0-6

Pool D
Cuba 6-1
Bulgaria 5-1
Korea 2-4
Egypt 0-7

U.S. Roster
USA at Japan
Aug. 4-5, 2006 in Spokane, Wash.
(Twelve-man rosters can be updated between World League weekends)
1. David Lee (MB, Alpine, Calif.)
2 Pieter Olree (OH, Reading, Pa.)
3 Jim Polster (OH, Laguna Niguel, Calif.)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, Tustin, Calif.)
6 Phil Eatherton (MB, Glencoe, Mo.)
7 Donald Suxho (S, Korce, Albania)
8 Reid Priddy (OH, Richmond, Va.)
12 Tom Hoff (MB, Park Ridge, Ill.)
13 Clay Stanley (OPP, Honolulu, Hawaii)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, Newport Beach, Calif.)
15 Gabe Gardner (OH, San Clemente, Calif.)
16 Dave McKienzie (OPP, Littleton, Colo.)

U.S. World League Schedule

Date: July 14-15
Opponent: Poland
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah - The "E" Center
Match 1: Poland defeats USA 3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-23)
Match 2: Poland defeats USA 3-1 (26-24, 25-13, 20-25, 25-22)

Date: July 22-23
Opponent: Japan
Location: Hiroshima Green Arena
Match 1: USA defeats Japan 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-17)
Match 2: USA defeats Japan 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-18)

Date: July 29-30
Opponent: Japan
Location: Minneapolis, Minn. - Target Center
Match 1: USA defeats Japan 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-18)
Match 2: USA defeats Japan 3-1 (25-15, 21-25, 25-17, 25-15)

Date: Aug. 4-5
Opponent: Serbia & Montenegro
Location: Spokane, Wash. - Spokane Memorial Arena
Match 1: Serbia & Montenegro defeats USA (13-25, 36-34, 25-22, 25-17)

Date: Aug. 12-13
Opponent: Poland
Location: Katowice, Poland - Spodek

Date: Aug. 18-19
Opponent: Serbia & Montenegro
Location: Beograd, Serbia - Hall Pionir

World League Final
Date: Aug. 23-27
Location: Russia
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