U.S. Men Fall to Poland in Three Sets; Russia Up Next

July 13, 2007, 12 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 13, 2007) - The U.S. Men's National Team found Friday, July 13th to be unlucky indeed as it fell to Poland, 0-3 (22-25, 34-36, 23-25) in an FIVB World League, final-round, pool-play match before and estimated crowd of 12,000 at Spodek Hall in Katowice, Poland.

The loss drops the U.S. Men's record to 1-1 (11-3 overall in World League) and they will face Russia, winner of Pool F, in the semifinals on Saturday (8 a.m. PDT). Poland (2-0) will play four-time World League defending-champion Brazil (1-1) in the other semifinal match at 11 a.m. PDT.

The United States' Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai'i) led all scorers with 15 points on 12 kills, one block and two aces. Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) added 12 points on 11 kills and one ace. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) scored 10 points on eight kills and two blocks. Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) picked up nine points on seven kills, one block and one ace.

Mariusz Wlazly led Poland with 12 points on 10 kills, one block and one ace. Michal Winiarski scored 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace and Daniel Plinski added 10 points on nine kills and one block.

"It was a matter of a couple of points at the end of the sets," U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. "The atmosphere in Spodek Hall is something completely unique in the world, so I'm very happy we could have this experience, learn from it and play better tomorrow."

The U.S. Men held leads in all three sets, but did not have an answer for the Polish hitters, who out-killed Team USA, 54-47. The U.S. Men could only manage five blocks with 46 faults and 31 rebounds in 82 attempts.

McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) adjusted his starting lineup from the night before, putting Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) in place of David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) at middle blocker and putting Stanley in place of Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) at opposite.

Priddy and Salmon started at outside hitter, Millar started at the other middle blocker position, Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) started at setter and Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) played libero.

Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), Lee and Gardner all came in as substitutes.

The U.S. Men held a 16-13 lead in the first set, but Poland ate away at it and a Wlazly back-row kill tied the score at 18-18. Sebastian Swiderski's ace increased Poland's lead to 21-18.

With Poland leading 23-20, the U.S. Men scored two points to pull to within one, but Poland scored the next two points, including another kill from Wlazly, to win the set.

The U.S. Men held a 16-12 lead at the second technical timeout of the second set. Poland eventually pulled to within one point at 18-17, but the United States held the Poles off until they were able to tie the score at 19-19. Poland Head Coach Raul Lozano pulled Swiderski, who was struggling to get past the U.S. block, and sent in Piotr Gruszka.

The U.S. Men held off six match points while Poland held off five before finally winning, 36-34.

Team USA still had some fight left in set three and came back from a 7-10 deficit to take a 14-12 lead. But the second set battle started to catch up with the United States and it was hurt by reception and attack errors. With the U.S. Men leading 23-22 Poland scored the next three points for the victory.

"The statistics show that it's a couple of points at the end of the sets. This shows that the game was made was made of small, crucial fragments," Hoff said. "Tomorrow we play Russia and we have to improve in those elements if we want to win. Poland executed better at the end of the sets. That's the sign of a winning team."

View the box from this match at http://www.fivb.org/vis_web/volley/wl2007/pdf/P2-102.pdf.

All World League matches played in the United States and the World League finals are scheduled to be shown on ESPNU.

Results, statistics and photos are available on the FIVB World League Web Site at www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2007.

The 2007 U.S. Men's media kit is available at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/us_men_mediakit07.pdf (please note that this is a large PDF file).

2007 FIVB World League

Final Round Schedule

Pool E
July 11: Poland def. France, 3-2 (38-36 19-25 21-25 25-21 15-11)
July 12: USA def. France, 3-0 (25-21, 25-20, 28-26)
July 13: Poland def. USA, 3-0 (25-22, 36-34, 25-23)
Pool F
July 11: Bulgaria def. Brazil, 3-2 (21-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 15-12)
July 12: Russia def. Bulgaria, 3-0 (25-23, 25-21, 25-21)
July 13: Brazil def. Russia, 3-1 (22-25, 25-23, 25-20, 26-24)

July 14
SF1: Russia vs. USA, 8 a.m. PDT
SF2: Poland vs. Brazil, 11 a.m. PDT

July 15
Loser SF1 vs. Loser SF2, 8 a.m. PDT
Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2, 11 a.m. PDT

U.S. 12-Man Roster

No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 Jim Polster (OH, 6-6, Laguna Niguel, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 Brandon Taliaferro (S, 6-5, San Clemente, Calif., UCLA)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
7 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
8 Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Palmdale, Calif., BYU)
10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
12 Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State)
13 Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawai'i)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Gabe Gardner (OH, 6-9, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)