U.S. Men Defeat Young Italians; Increase Pool Lead

June 15, 2007, 12 a.m. (ET)
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

CHICAGO, Ill. (June 15, 2007) - The U.S Men's National Volleyball Team battled a tenacious but young Italian team to take a 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 25-27, 29-27) victory on Friday in front of 3,020 fans at the Convocation Center on the campus of Chicago State University.

The victory improves the United States' World League record to 5-2 and increases its lead in Pool B. Italy falls to 2-3. France, which sits in second at 3-3, will play Japan on Saturday and Sunday. The United States and Italy will play again at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Convocation Center.

Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) led the U.S Men with 18 points on 17 kills and one ace. Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) also scored 18 points on 15 kills, two aces and one block. David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) added 12 points on eight kills and four blocks and Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) scored 10 points on eight kills and two blocks.

Lorenzo Perazzolo led Italy with 16 points on 13 kills, two blocks and one ace. Alessandro Paparoni scored 15 points for Italy on 14 kills and one block. Alberto Cisolla added 14 points on kills.

Italy has been beset by injuries and was playing with four young players in place of its usual starters. The young Italians fell behind by as many as six points in the first set before losing by four. Priddy gave the United States the lead for good with two aces in a row that took his team from a 5-4 deficit to a 6-5 lead.

However, Italy held the lead for much of the second set and led at the second technical timeout 16-15. But Gardner's kill followed by Italy's hitting error put the U.S. Men ahead for good.

Italy finally took a victory in the third set, although it had to battle back from a U.S. set point at 25-24.

"I think they started to make some good digs and we weren't ready for it," U.S. Team Captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) said of the comeback. "We weren't in the same mindset that we were in France (last weekend). It was a good wakeup call."

Serving errors were a problem for both teams as Italy had 19 and the United States had 17. However the U.S. Men made up for it with six aces to Italy's one.

"A lot of the improvements we have to make (for Saturday) don't have much to do with volleyball," U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "It's maintaining our composure on the court and being able to deal with an opponent who's down but comes back."

The U.S. Men put up a fight in the fourth set by battling back from three Italy set points to win the match.

Italy reached set point first at 24-23, but Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) used a kill to bring the U.S. Men back from the brink. The United States came back to take a 25-24 lead, but Italy called a timeout and Gardner served into the net.

Luca Tencati's kill gave Italy another set point at 26-25, but Millar responded with a kill to tie the score again. Priddy hit the ball into the net to put Italy ahead 27-26, but he made up for the error with two straight kills to give the United States a 28-27 lead. The United States blocked Cosimo Piscopo's hit for the winning match point.

Team USA started Brandon Taliaferro at setter, Riley Salmon and Reid Priddy at outside hitter, David Lee and Ryan Millar at middle blocker, Gabe Gardner at opposite and Rich Lambourne at libero.

Italy started Giordano Mattera at setter, Alessandro Paproni and Alberto Cisolli at outside hitter, Luca Tencati and Andrea Sala at middle blocker, Mauro Gavotto at opposite and Cristian Casoli at libero.

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 www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2007.

The USA Volleyball FIVB World League web site is www.usavolleyball.org/national/wl07.asp.

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).

The FIVB media kit for Chicago is available at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/07WL_Media_Kit_Chicago1.pdf (please note that this is a large .pdf file).

2007 FIVB World League
June 15 in Chicago, Ill.
Standings (as of June 15, 2007)

Pool A
1 Brazil 7-0
2 Finland 4-3
3 Korea 2-5
4 Canada 1-6

Pool B
1 USA 5-2
2 France 3-3
3 Italy 2-3
4 Japan 1-3

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

(Twelve-man rosters can be updated between World League weekends)

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)
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)
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)

No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
4 Marco Nuti (S, 6-3, Pontedera)
5 Gieordano Mattera (S, 6-6, Civitavecchia)
6 Alessandro Farina (L, 6-0, Parma)
7 Alessandro Paparoni (OH, 6-3, San Severino Marche)
8 Alberto Cisolla (OH, 6-6, Treviso)
9 Christian Savani (OH, 6-4, Castiglione delle Stiviere)
10 Luca Tencati (MB, 6-7, Cremona)
11 Mauro Gavotto (OPP, 6-7, Cuneo)
12 Matteo Martino (OH, 6-6, Novi Ligure)
13 Lorenzo Perazzolo (OH, 6-5, Mantova)
17 Andrea Sala (MB, 6-7, Gallarate)
19 Cosimo Marco Piscopo (MB, 6-9, Gagliano del Capo)

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
Match 1: USA def. France, 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 25-27, 29-27)

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