ANAHEIM, Calif. (April 22, 2008) - Players for the U.S. Men's National Team are finishing their time with teams overseas and returning to their home base at the American Sports Center to begin preparations for a busy summer season.
National team players who are back in the gym this week are opposite Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.), middle blocker Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) - who both played for Sparkling Milan in Italy - and outside hitter Jim Polster (Laguna Niguel, Calif.). Also training in Anaheim are libero Aaron Mansfield (Sunnyvale, Calif.), libero Paul Muñoz (Huntington Beach, Calif.), setter Tyler Hildebrand (Mesa, Ariz.) and outside hitter Robert Tarr (Rockledge, Fla.).
Outside hitter Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) is expected back in the gym soon after completing the season in Italy.
Opposite Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and middle blocker Phil Eatherton (Glencoe, Mo.) should be back in Anaheim soon after their Polish team, AZS Czestochowa, finished second to Skra Belchatów in the Polish league playoffs. U.S. libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) played for Mlekpol AZS Olsztyn, which placed third.
Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) could be seeing each other in the finals of the Turkish league playoffs. Lee's team, Halkbank, which is based in Ankara, has made it to the semifinals, where it will play Istanbul B.S.Bld. Suxho's team, Arkas, based in Izmir, will play Istanbul's Fenerbahçe in the other semifinal. The semifinals begin Tuesday (April 22).
Setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), who plays for Stade Poitevin VB Poitiers, will be competing in the finals of the French league against Paris Volley. The final round begins on April 26 in France.
Setter Brandon Taliaferro (San Clemente, Calif.), middle blocker Delano Thomas (Sacramento, Calif.) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) are all playing in the final of the Slovenian championship. Their team, ACH Volley, based in Palmares, leads the championship round 2-1 against Salonit Anhovo out of Kanal. The next match will be played April 23.
In the Russian Super League, Dynamo TatTransGaz Kazan, which features setter Lloy Ball (Woodburn, Ind.) and opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai'i), will be playing Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, which features outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), in a playoff series to decide third place. The series will begin April 23.
Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.), who played for the Russian club Fakel New Urengoy this winter, and Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), who played for Dinamo-Yantar Kaliningrad, are both done as their teams failed to make the playoffs.