World League Brings World Class Men's Volleyball to Chicago

June 13, 2007, 12 a.m. (ET)
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 13, 2007) - As the U.S. Olympic Committee's Applicant City for the 2016 Olympic Games, Chicago is hosting a variety of international sporting events this year; this weekend, it's volleyball's turn.

The U.S. Men's National Team will face Italy in a set of FIVB World League matches on June 15 at 7 p.m. CDT and on June 16 at 5 p.m. CDT.

The matches will be held at the brand new Emil and Patricia Jones Convocation Center (9501 S. King Dr.) on the campus of Chicago State University. The 171,000-square foot building can hold 7,000 volleyball fans and has been selected to be a venue for the Olympic Games should the city's application be accepted by the International Olympic Committee in October of 2009.

World Sport Chicago, which is part of Chicago's efforts to win the 2016 Olympic Games, is helping USA Volleyball organize the Chicago World League matches.

The U.S. Men, ranked eighth in the world, enter the weekend in first place in Pool B with a 4-2 record and with some momentum following a hard-won 3-1 (22-25, 29-27, 25-23, 25-21) victory over France on Saturday in Lyon. The victory followed a 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 38-36, 25-18) loss to France on Friday.

Italy, ranked second in the world, is in third at 2-2 after splitting its two matches with host Japan last weekend. Japan, ranked 10th in the world, is in fourth at 1-3.

Japan's somewhat unexpected 3-2 (26-24, 25-22, 22-25, 31-33, 15-13) victory over Italy on Sunday helped the United States' efforts to win Pool B and make the World League finals on July 11-15 in Katowice, Poland. But the U.S. Men need to win at least one match in Chicago before they spend the last two weekends of pool play on the road; first in Japan and then in Italy.

The U.S. Men last played Italy on Nov. 22 at the 2006 FIVB World Championships. The United States lost 3-1 (22-25 25-17 25-22 25-18) and went on to finish 10th at the World Championships. Italy finished fifth.

"It's never an easy match against the Italians," said U.S. Team Captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.). "It's always been difficult in my career for us to beat them."

Hoff said Italy is not as physically imposing as some teams, but controls the ball very well.

"They are a lot like us in that way," Hoff said. "If we are going to beat them, we are going to have to (control the ball) better than they do."

The United States' record against Italy is 15-37 since 1981.

Mauro Gavotto, a 6-6 outside hitter, has been Italy's leading scorer over its first four matches, with 63 points on 54 spikes, four blocks and five aces. Outside hitter Christian Savani has 53 points on 49 kills, three blocks and one ace.

Outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) leads the U.S. Men in scoring and is second overall among World League players with 108 points on 88 spikes, 12 blocks and eight aces. Middle blocker Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) has 75 points on 51 spikes, 21 blocks and three aces.

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).

2007 FIVB World League

Standings (as of June 12, 2007)

Pool A
1 Brazil 6-0
2 Finland 3-3
3 Korea 2-4
4 Canada 1-5

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

Pool C
1 Russia 5-1
2 Cuba 4-2
3 Serbia 3-3
4 Egypt 0-6

Pool D
1 Bulgaria 6-0
2 Poland 6-0
3 China 0-6
4 Argentina 0-6

U.S. Preliminary Roster
(Twelve-man rosters can be updated between World League weekends)

1 Lloy Ball (S, 6-8, Woodburn, Ind., Indiana-Purdue, Fort Wayne)
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 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
11 Brook Billings (OPP, 6-5, Santa Barbara, Calif., USC)
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)
16 Dave McKienzie (OPP, 6-4, Littleton, Colo., Long Beach State)
17 Delano Thomas (MB, 6-7, Sacramento, Calif., Hawai'i)
18 Nils Nielsen (OH, 6-4, Fallbrook, Calif., Cal State Northridge)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)

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
Match 1: France def. USA, 3-1 (25-22, 19-25, 38-36, 25-18)
Match 2: USA def. France, 3-1 (22-25, 29-27, 25-23, 25-21)

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