U.S. Men Rout Japan at World League

June 23, 2007, 12 a.m. (ET)
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 23, 2007) - Despite its troubles reaching the host city of Kumamoto in Japan, the U.S. Men's Volleyball Team got right to work on Saturday and defeated Japan 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-15)in an FIVB World League pool-play match with 5,000 spectators.

The U.S. Men improved their Pool B record to 7-2 and retained their lead. Japan fell to 1-5 and sits in fourth. In other Pool B play on Friday, host Italy defeated France, 3-2 (23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 19-17). France sits in second place at 5-4 and Italy holds third at 3-4.

Due to a flight delay, Team USA spent Wednesday night in Osaka, rather than in Kumamoto. But the lost practice time did not seem to affect the players. Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) led the U.S. onslaught with 14 points on 10 kills, three blocks and one ace. Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), the World League's leading scorer heading into Friday, added 13 points on seven kills, four blocks and two aces. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) scored 11 points on kills and Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) added 10 points on seven kills and three blocks.

"Any time you get a three-zero win it is a big deal in international men's volleyball because it happens so rarely," McCutcheon said. "There is so much parity between the teams. We consider ourselves fortunate to come out and win the match 3-0."

Japan's Yu Koshikawa scored 16 points on kills, but no other Japanese player scored in double digits.

"I must take responsibility for today's game, and I apologize to the many fans," Japanese Head Coach Tatsuya Ueta said. "It is not the fault of the players; it is mine. We were in a very bad situation with our reception to the jump serves."

The two teams will play again on Saturday at 10 p.m. PDT in Kumamoto. Live scoring and statistics are available on the FIVB World League web site at www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2007/LiveScore/?sm=121.

On Saturday, the United States started Priddy and Salmon at outside hitter, Gardner at opposite, Millar and David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) at middle blocker, Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) at setter and Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) at libero. U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon did not substitute much, although Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai'i) came in at opposite to score three points, including two aces. Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) also subbed at middle blocker.

The United States got off to a fast start in the first set and led 8-5 at the first technical timeout. Japanese setter Kosuke Tomonaga used the timeout to recover after suffering a minor injury while running into the standard while trying to return a Priddy ace. Tomonaga returned to the match, but Priddy followed the timeout with another ace forcing Ueta to call another timeout at 9-5.

Millar and Lee both had kills to keep the United States ahead and Salmon's back-court attack gave the U.S. Men a 15-10 cushion and they led 16-10 at the second timeout. Japan never recovered.

Koshikawa tried to rally his team in the second set with a back-row attack and a block on Priddy. But Japan's serving mistakes hurt its own cause and Team USA led 8-6 at the first timeout. With Japan trailing 14-10, Ueta called a timeout. Japan rallied and closed the score to 15-14, forcing McCutcheon to call a timeout. The United States scored the next point to reach the second technical timeout.

Japan continued to keep the score close. With the U.S. leading 21-19, Koshikawa used a kill to bring Team Japan to within one and forced McCutcheon to call a timeout. But the United States held fast and Gardner brought up set point at 24-21. Koshikawa's serve struck the net and fell wide as the United States dodged a bullet.

Japan's serving continued to be a problem in the third set and the U.S. eventually pulled away, leading 16-9 at the second timeout.

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).

2007 FIVB World League

Standings (as of June 23, 2007)

Pool A
1 Brazil 9-0
2 Finland 6-3
3 Korea 2-7
4 Canada 1-8

Pool B
1 USA 7-2
2 France 5-4
3 Italy 3-4
4 Japan 1-6

Pool C
1 Russia 7-1
2 Serbia 5-4
3 Cuba 5-3
4 Egypt 0-9

Pool D
1 Bulgaria 8-0
2 Poland 8-0
3 China 0-8
4 Argentina 0-8

Twelve-man roster
(Teams can adjust 12-man rosters between 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)

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. Italy, 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 25-27, 29-27)
Match 2: USA def. Italy, 3-0 (25-19, 30-28, 25-23)

Date: June 23-24
Opponent: Japan
Location: Kumamoto - Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium
Match 1: USA def. Japan, 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-15)

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