HIROSHIMA, Japan (July 23, 2006)
- The U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team, which is based in Anaheim, Calif., improved its record to 2-2 in the 2006 FIVB World League on Sunday as it recorded a 3-0 (25-12, 25-21, 25-18) victory over Japan for the second night in a row in Pool A action on Sunday in Hiroshima.
Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) led the U.S. scoring with 18 points, including 13 kills, four blocks and one ace. Dave McKienzie (Littleton, Colo.) scored 14 points, including 13 kills and Jim Polster (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) added 12 points and a round of powerful serving that helped the U.S. men win the first set.
With the United States leading 10-9, the first set had been shaping up to be a close affair, but Polster's one-man bombardment enabled the visitors to score 10 straight points, taking them to 20-9 before a U.S. block fell wide.
For a second night, the Americans dominated the center of the net, thanks to the efforts of Phil Eatherton (Glencoe, Mo.). And with McKienzie blazing away on the right, and Priddy unstoppable on the left, the Americans were in complete control.
Trailing 20-10, Japan head coach Tatsuya Ueta sent in southpaw outside hitter Takahiro Yamamoto for his first taste of World League action in 2006, but it was far too late to save the set. A bullet from Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) knocked Yu Koshikawa off his feet as the visitors rumbled toward their target, and it was fitting that Priddy closed out the first set 25-12 with an ace.
The Americans picked up in the second set from where they had left off in the first, and already had a six-point lead at the first technical timeout (TTO), 8-2.
Despite the encouragement of the crowd, the Japanese could not match the intensity or aggression of the Americans. But when some mistakes started to creep into the USA play, head coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) was quick to call a TO with a three-point lead at 12-9.
The Americans reached the second TTO with a five-point cushion at 16-11, and successive blocks on Koshikawa and Yusuke Ishijima served to underline the visitors' superiority.
Nobuharu Saito gave Japan brief respite with some good work at the net, but setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) brought up set point with a clever winner through Japan's over-worked defense, and David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) swooped to seal it 25-21 on their second set point.
Points remained hard to come by for Japan in the third set. McKienzie brought up the second TTO at 16-11 with a reflex return on a gentle Koshikawa effort, and the Americans could sense a second consecutive straight-sets victory. Priddy surged down the middle to bring up match point at 24-18, and McKienzie finished it at the net when a Priddy thunderbolt put Japan on the back foot again.
In the other Pool A match, which was played on Saturday, host Serbia & Montenegro defeated Poland, 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 25-17, 16-25, 15-11) to take the lead in Pool A.
The United States will be back in action on July 29-30 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minn., where it will host Japan. The matches will be broadcast live on CSTV (5 p.m. PDT; 8 p.m. EDT). On Aug. 4-5 the U.S. Men will host Serbia & Montenegro at Spokane Memorial Arena in Spokane, Wash. CSTV will also broadcast these matches live (8 p.m. PDT; 11 p.m. EDT)
View the box score at http://www.usavolleyball.org/media/National/072306usajpnbox.pdf
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 July 22, 2006
Serbia & Montenegro 3-1