U.S. Men's Fate is in Their Own Hands

June 28, 2007, 12 a.m. (ET)
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 28, 2007) -- The U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team can secure a spot in the final round of the 2007 FIVB World League with a victory over host Italy in one of two matches this weekend.

Team USA plays its first match against Italy on June 29 in Naples at the PalaBarbuto. Match time is 8 p.m. in Italy (11 a.m. PDT; 2 p.m. EDT). The second match will be played Sunday, July 1, in Avellino at the Pala Del Mauro. Match time in Italy is 5 p.m. (8 a.m. PDT; 11 a.m. EDT).

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.

The U.S. Men sit atop Pool B with an 8-2 record. France is second at 6-4. One more U.S. victory would put it out of France's reach. Should the United States lose both its matches and France win both of its matches this weekend against Japan in Tokyo, the points ratio will determine the pool winner.

Italy, at 3-5, holds a slim hope of moving into second place in the pool, should it win its next four matches - two against the United States and then two more against Japan in Italy on July 6 and July 8. It would also need France to lose at least one match against Japan.

The winner of each of the four pools advances to the final round along with Poland, as the final-round host country, and an FIVB wild card pick.

The winners of the other three pools have already been determined. Brazil has won Pool A and Russia has secured Pool C. Poland, which will go to the finals automatically, is leading Pool D at 10-0. Bulgaria, which is in second at 8-2, will go to the final round no matter how it does against Poland this weekend.

There is a chance that the team that finishes second in Pool B could be awarded the FIVB wild card. But the U.S. Men would prefer not to take that chance.

The U.S. Men will start the same 12 players that defeated the Italians twice in Chicago - 3-1 (25-21, 25-21, 25-27, 29-27) the first night and 3-0 (25-19, 30-28, 25-23) the second. These same 12 players also defeated Japan twice last weekend - 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 25-15) and 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-22).

But defeating Italy at home will not be easy. Large, volleyball-savvy crowds are expected to cheer on the Azzurri and make play difficult for the United States. Italy is coming off a split of its matches against France. Italy won the first match on June 22, 3-2 (23-25, 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 19-17). France took the second on June 23, 3-1 (25-23, 25-20, 25-27, 25-14). The United States is 3-1 in World League road matches. Italy is 1-1 at home.

The United States' winning record has produced individual success for its players.

U.S. outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) continues to lead all World League players in scoring with 164 points on 130 kills, 21 blocks and 13 aces. Priddy is second among World League servers with a 0.34 ace average per set and he is third among spikers with a 54.62 success percentage. Priddy is also third among receivers with a 62.77 efficiency percentage.

U.S. middle blocker Ryan Millar is second among all World League players in blocking with an average of 0.87 per set, behind Cuba's Roberlandy Simón Aties, who is averaging 0 .97 per set.

Outside hitter Cristian Savani leads Italy in scoring with 93 points on 82 kills, seven blocks and four aces.

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

The U.S. World League home matches were 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 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 28, 2007)

Pool A
1 Brazil 10-0
2 Finland 7-3
3 Korea 2-8
4 Canada 1-9

Pool B
1 USA 8-2
2 France 6-4
3 Italy 3-5
4 Japan 1-7

Pool C
1 Russia 9-1
2 Serbia 6-4
3 Cuba 5-5
4 Egypt 0-10

Pool D
1 Poland 9-0
2 Bulgaria 8-2
3 China 2-8
4 Argentina 0-10

U.S. 12-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)

Italian roster of 13
(Final 12-man roster has not yet been announced)

No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
2 Manuel Coscione (S, 6-2, Cuneo)
5 Giordano Mattera (S, 6-6, Civitavecchia)
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)
16 Cristian Casoli (L, 6-4, Varese)
17 Andrea Sala (MB, 6-7, Gallarate)
19 Matej Cernic (OH, 6-4, Gorizia)
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. 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)
Match 2: USA def. Japan, 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-22)

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

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

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