BEIJING (Aug. 12, 2008) – Another day with a good report on Barb's progress. She continues to improve and there's nothing that could make us happier than that.
*USA** 3 Italy 1*
In 2000 we lost to Italy in the last match of our group. At 0-4 we had already been eliminated the previous match by losing to Korea 2-3. Italy went on to win the bronze medal. In 2004 we again lost to Italy in our group, then went on to beat the Netherlands, Australia and Brazil before beating Greece in what must be the greatest comeback in the history of USA Volleyball to advance to the semis. Today the USA men's team finally beat Italy in the Olympics.
Many of our USA players have played over in Italy's pro leagues. The men's league over there has been the premiere professional volleyball league in the world for many years. Recently, though, it has lost some of its luster. The Russian league is probably the most prestigious now, paying upwards of $500,000 a season for top players. Poland and Korea are also paying big salaries.
Clay Stanley, Lloy Ball, Sean Rooney, Kevin Hansen, Gabe Gardner and Reid Priddy are all playing in Russia this coming winter. Riley Salmon and Ryan Millar will play in Turkey, and David Lee will be in Italy.
*Riley Salmon on beating Italy*
It has been a long time coming for us to beat these guys in a major competition. Since I have been on the team, I can't remember it happening. We played a tight 1st set then everyone loosened up and we seemed to really gel in the next three sets. After spending all year in Italy as I did this year and losing to these guys on a consistent basis, it was great to finally chalk one up for the good guys. As a group we out-hustled and out-teamed them tonight. We will celebrate a nice win tonight but in the morning it is onward toward preparing for Bulgaria.