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Mar 07 U.S. Men Find Winning Combination in World League Victory

May 27, 2007, 12 a.m. (ET)
PORTLAND, Ore. (May 27, 2007) - After losing its last two matches against France, the U.S. Men's Volleyball Team got a little payback in Sunday's FIVB World League match as it defeated France 3-1 (25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 25-20) before a crowd of approximately 2,769 at the Chiles Center Arena.

The U.S. Men fell to France at the FIVB World Championships in five sets (17-25, 25-12, 24-26, 25-17, 15-11) in November, and again took the French to five sets on Saturday before losing (13-25, 25-19, 25-17, 24-26, 15-13).

U.S. Men's Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon did less substituting on Sunday than he did on Saturday, when almost every player was used. He instead relied on his leaders from Saturday: Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), who led Team USA with 19 points on 15 kills, three blocks and one ace and Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.), who added 18 points on 16 kills, one ace and one block. Gardner has found success playing opposite for the first time this weekend after a career with the U.S. Men spent at outside hitter,

McCutcheon also stuck with setter Brandon Taliaferro (San Clemente, Calif.), who responded by dishing out 36 sets and scoring nine points with five blocks, three kills and an ace.

"Brandon got more confident getting the ball to the hitters, especially me on the back set," Gardner said.

"I don't think we changed the plan very much," McCutcheon said. "We executed the plan a little better."

France was led by Oliver Kieffer with 17 points on 11 kills and six blocks. Guillame Samica scored 15 points on kills and Frantz Granvorka scored 12 points on 10 kills and two blocks.

Improvement in serving proved to be a key for the U.S. Men, who equaled the number of aces from Saturday with five, but had five fewer errors. Meanwhile, France had no aces on Sunday and 13 service errors.

French Head Coach Philippe Blain was satisfied with the weekend match split.

"When we arrived in Portland, we knew we were not ready to play at a high level," he said. "We knew we wanted to fight. Tonight, we made a lot of mistakes."

The two teams battled back and forth in the first set, although France led 8-7 at the first technical timeout and 16-15 at the second.

With France ahead 20-19, France's Frantz Granvorka served into the net to tie the score. Gardner served for the next three points, including an ace, to give the U.S. Men a 23-20 lead. France scored two more points on a kill and a block before the United States took a timeout to regroup. Priddy's back-row kill brought Team USA to match point and France hit long to give the U.S. Men the victory.

The battle continued in the second set, but this time the United States led at both technical timeouts. Team USA seemed to have everything under control with a 23-18 lead, but France took a timeout, and then fought back with a three kills, a block to tie the score at 23-23. The United States took a timeout and came back with two kills from Gardner to win the set.

After falling in the first two sets, France rallied in the third set. With the score tied 15-15, Vincent Montmeat got the serve and scored the next four points. France never trailed again.

The fourth set saw the United States take a 21-15 lead. France pulled back to within four points at 24-20 before French setter Pierre Pujol hit his serve long, giving Team USA the victory.

The U.S. Men will return to their training base in Anaheim, Calif., on Monday for a few days of practice before heading to Green Bay, Wis., on Wednesday for matches against Japan on June 1-2.

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.

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

The FIVB World League Web Site is www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2007.

2007 FIVB World League

Standings

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

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

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

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

U.S. Roster
France at USA
May 26-27, 2007 in Portland, Ore.
(Twelve-man rosters can be updated between World League weekends)

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)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Gabe Gardner (OPP, 6-9, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
16 Dave McKienzie (OPP, 6-4, Littleton, Colo., Long Beach State)

2007 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

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
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