SPOKANE, Wash. (Aug. 5, 2006)
- The U.S. Men's National Team showed it wasn't ready to give up a shot at the 2006 FIVB World League pool title as it defeated Serbia & Montenegro 3-1 (27-25, 25-22, 25-27, 25-21) on Saturday night at Spokane Memorial Arena.
Each team is now 5-3 in Pool A. Poland, which defeated Japan twice over the weekend, also sits at 5-3. Team USA holds the pool lead thanks to having the best points ratio. The U.S. Men will face Poland in Poland on Aug. 12-13 and Serbia & Montenegro in Serbia on Aug. 18-19.
Serbia & Montenegro missed the play of its team captain, Goran Vujevic, who left Spokane early Saturday morning due to the death of his mother. But it refused to use that as an excuse.
"I'm very sorry about what happened to him and his family," said Ivan Miljkovic, who took over as team captain. "But we had players here. With or without him, we needed to play better."
Miljkovic continued to be a major force for Serbia & Montenegro, taking over as captain and contributing 28 points on 25 kills, two blocks and one ace. Aleksander Mitrovic added 17 points on 14 kills and three aces and Andrija Geric had 12 points on five aces, four blocks and three kills.
Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) led the U.S. Men with 21 points on 19 kills and two aces. Jim Polster (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) added 16 points on 12 kills, three blocks and one ace.
U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon also praised the play of the U.S. bench.
"We were able to get contributions from guys off the bench like Pieter Olree and Clay Stanley," McCutcheon said. "These guys want to play and we get an infusion of energy from them."
While Serbia & Montenegro came into the came with great confidence after Friday night's 3-1 victory, the U.S. Men came in determined to prove that they were a better team than they showed in the first match.
"I think we were determined," Priddy said. "I think we felt like we gave something up last night.
"We watched the video today. It was a somber experience."
Set 1 opened with Priddy and Miljkovic dominating the net. As with Friday night, the U.S. Men had trouble closing out the set as Serbia & Montenegro turned again and again to Miljkovic for the kill. With the United States up 26-25, Miljkovic's hit went long and the U.S. Men took the set. Miljkovic had eight kills for Serbia & Montenegro and Priddy had seven for the U.S. Men.
The United States took an 18-11 lead in the second set, but Serbia & Montenegro climbed back in behind serving runs by Geric and Mitrovic and tied the score at 21-21. The U.S. Men didn't give up and Priddy got the serve back with a kill, then served an ace to put the United States up 23-21. At set point, the U.S. Men stuffed Miljkovic for the victory.
Set 3 saw Serbia & Montenegro take a 16-11 lead and hold on to a five-point lead until Polster got the serve and led the team to five straight points, including an ace, to cut Serbia & Montenegro's lead to 19-18. However Serbia & Montenegro maintained the lead and had set point at 24-21. But this time it was the U.S. Men's turn to hang on and pull the score to 24-24.
At 25-25, the U.S. Men were called for a net violation and Miljkovic closed the set with a kill.
The final set was another battle, but at 17-17, Polster scored with a hit off a Serbia & Montenegro block. It proved to be the killer blow and the United States never lost the lead.
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. 5, 2006
Serbia & Montenegro 5-3
Serbia & Montenegro at USA
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
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
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
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)
Match 2: USA defeats Serbia & Montenegro (27-25, 25-22, 25-27, 25-21)
Date: Aug. 12-13
Location: Katowice, Poland - Spodek
Date: Aug. 18-19
Opponent: Serbia & Montenegro
Location: Beograd, Serbia - Hall Pionir
World League Final
Date: Aug. 23-27