Gardner Sparks U.S.Men to World League Win

June 02, 2007, 12 a.m. (ET)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (June 2, 2007) - The U.S. Men's National Team didn't make it easy on itself, but with timely serving from Gabe Gardner, it overcame some inspired play by Japan to win its second FIVB World League match 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-18) on Saturday at the Resch Center.

The victory improves the United States' World League record to 3-1 and it keeps the Pool B lead. Japan falls to 0-4 in Pool B.

Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) led the U.S. team with 18 points on 16 hits and two blocks. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) and Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) each added 14 points and Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) had 11.

Yu Koshikawa scored 16 points for Japan on 15 kills and one block. Ryuji Naohiro added 15 points, Yusuke Ishijima scored 11 and Yoshihiko Matsumoto had 10.

Japan's play was much improved over Friday's match with stronger net play and consistent digging. But it couldn't find an answer for Gardner's play in the fourth set.

With the United States trailing 11-14 in the fourth set, Gardner got the serve and didn't give it back for the next eight points until the U.S. was leading 19-14.

Along the way he notched two aces and had another serve that Japan misplayed. Salmon and Millar also combined for two blocks and Millar had another on his own during the run.

"It's always fun for a server when you get to go on a run like that," Gardner said. "But if it weren't for my teammates' great play, I wouldn't have gotten to that point."

U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) didn't start Gardner in the match as he continues to examine the best U.S. players and rotations. However he was pleased with the spark that Gardner provided when he started the second and third sets.

"It was wonderful," McCutcheon said. "We have to be happy for Gabe that we have found a position for him at opposite that makes the best use of his talents."

Team USA started Brandon Taliaferro at setter, middle blocker Phil Eatherton, outside hitter Reid Priddy, middle blocker Ryan Millar, outside hitter Riley Salmon, opposite Brook Billings and libero Rich Lambourne.

Team Japan started outside hitter Ryuji Naohiro, middle blocker Takaaki Tomimatsu, middle blocker Yoshihiko Matsumoto, outside hitter Yusuke Ishijima, outside hitter Yu Koshikawa, setter Kosuke Tomonago and libero Osamu Tanabe.

Neither team led by more than one point in the first set until the score was tied 12-12. With Japan's Yu Koshikawa serving, the U.S. Men hit twice in the net to fall behind 14-12. Riley Salmon's kill brought the U.S. Men back to within one point, but Ryuji Naohiro answered with his own kill. The United States followed with a net violation and two straight hitting errors, putting Japan ahead 17-13.

Set 2 started out much better for the U.S. Men as Billings and Salmon turned up the heat with two kills each as the U.S. took an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. However, Japan's stronger net play combined with U.S. serving errors kept Japan in the set and the U.S. lead was 16-14 at the second timeout. But Japan never rallied and had some errors of its own to give Team USA the set win.

Team USA never trailed in the third set, taking an 8-6 lead at the first timeout and 16-14 at the second. Japan kept the score close, but could never gain a tie or lead.

All U.S. matches and the World League finals are scheduled to be shown on ESPNU.

The U.S. World League home matches are presented by GL7, the Official Sports Drink of USA Volleyball.

Results, statistics and photos are available on the FIVB World League Web Site at

The USA Volleyball FIVB World League web site is

The 2007 U.S. Men's media kit is available at (please note that this is a large .pdf file).

The FIVB media kit for Green Bay is available at (please note that this is a large .pdf file).

2007 FIVB World League
June 1-2; Green Bay, Wis.

Standings (as of June 2, 2007)

Pool A
1 Brazil 4-0
2 Finland 1-3
3 Canada 1-2
4 Korea 1-2

Pool B
1 USA 2-1
2 France 1-2
3 Italy 1-0
4 Japan 0-1

Pool C
2 Russia 3-0
3 Serbia 2-2
1 Cuba 2-1
4 Egypt 0-4

Pool D
1 Bulgaria 3-0
2 Poland 3-0
3 China 0-3
4 Argentina 0-3

U.S. Roster
(Twelve-man rosters can be updated between World League weekends)
No. Name (Pos., Ht., 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)
6 Phil Eatherton (MB, 6-9, Glencoe, Mo., Ball State)
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 C Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
11 Brook Billings (OPP, 6-5, Santa Barbara, Calif., USC)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Gabe Gardner (OPP, 6-9, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)

Japan Roster
(Pos., Ht., Hometown)
2 Hiroaki Kawaura (MB, 6-5, Tokyo)
3 Shinya Chiba (OH, 6-0, Osaka)
4 Shunichi Shimano (S, 5-11, Gifu)
6 Ryuji Naohiro (OH, 6-4, Hiroshima)
8 Yusuke Imada (OH, 6-5, Hyogo)
9 Takaaki Tomimatsu (MB, 6-3, Sendai)
10 Osamu Tanabe (L, 5-9, Hiroshima)
11 Yoshihiko Matsumoto (MB, 6-3, Nagano)
14 Ryu Morishige (OH, 6-2, Kagoshimo)
16 Yuske Ishijima (OH, 6-5, Saitama)
17 Yu Koshikawa (OH, 6-3, Ishikawa)
18 Kosuke Tomonaga (S, 6-0, Nagasaki)

U.S. World League Schedule

Date: May 26-27
Opponent: France
Location: Portland, Ore. - The Chiles Center Arena
Match 1: France def. USA, 3-2 (13-25, 25-19, 25-17, 24-26, 15-13)
Match 2: USA def. France, 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20)

Date: June 1-2
Opponent: Japan
Location: Green Bay, Wis. - The Resch Center
Match 1: USA def. Japan, 3-1 (25-17, 23-25, 27-25, 25-19)
Match 2: USA def. Japan, 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-18)

Date: June 8-9
Opponent: France
Location: Lyon, France - Palais des Gerland

Date: June 15-16
Opponent: Italy
Location: Chicago, Ill. - The Convocation Center

Date: June 23-24
Opponent: Japan
Location: Kumamoto - Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium

Date: June 29
Opponent: Italy
Location: Napoli - PalaBarbuto

Date: July 1
Opponent: Italy
Location: Avelino - Pal Del Mauro

World League Final
Date: July 11-15
Location: Katowice, Poland