U.S. Men One Win Away from Trip to Beijing

Jan. 11, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 10, 2008) - The U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team will have to defeat Puerto Rico one more time to earn a trip to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The U.S. Men (4-0) advanced to the championship match of the 2008 NORCECA Continental Olympic Qualifying Championship by defeating Cuba (25-22, 27-25, 25-18) on Thursday at Hector Sola Bezares Coliseum the in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico (4-1) then defeated Canada (41-39, 25-21, 25-19) to advance to the final. The two teams will square off on Friday at 4 p.m. PST. The match will be streamed live on the Internet at www.mediasports.tv/.

"This was not the best of our matches and hopefully we have reserved our best for the last day," said Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.), the U.S. team captain. "Today we served well and controlled the ball better."

"We played well for the first two sets, but could not make the plays at the end, which USA did," said Cuba's captain Roberlandy Simon. "In the third set, the Americans served, blocked and defended better than us."

Cuba out-killed the U.S. Men 43-39 and out-blocked them 7-5. However Team USA finished with five aces while Cuba had none and was hurt by 17 service errors.

Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai'i) led the U.S. effort Thursday with 12 points on nine kills and three aces. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) scored eight points on six kills, one block and one ace. Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) added eight points on eight kills. Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) scored eight points on six kills and two blocks. David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored six points on six kills and Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) had five points on four kills and one block.

Setter Lloy Ball (Woodburn, Ind.) scored one point on an ace and was also credited with 21 assists. Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with four digs and seven receptions. Raydel Corrales led Cuba with 12 points on 12 kills and two blocks. Simon added 10 points on nine kills and one block. Stanley's serving proved to be the difference in the first set, combined with Cuba's service errors. Cuba missed two chances to win the second set when Corrales and Odelvis Dominico had service errors. Team USA won its first chance when Hoff's block was followed by Rooney's kill. Stanley scored the final two points for the United States in the third set with his third ace and closed with a laser shot from the right side.

Friday's match between the United States and Puerto Rico will be the fifth meeting of the teams in the past five months. In September, the United States won the NORCECA Men's Continental Championship by defeating Puerto Rico in pool play (25-19, 27-25, 25-18) and again in the championship match (25-20, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23). However, Puerto Rico came back to defeat the United States in the second match of the World Cup (25-21, 20-25, 25-17, 25-22) bringing Team USA back down to Earth after it had defeated Brazil the day before. On Tuesday, the U.S. Men defeated Puerto Rico (25-21, 25-23, 25-22) in pool play at the NORCECA Olympic Qualifier.

2008 NORCECA Men's Continental Olympic Qualification Championship U.S. Men's National Team
(No., Name, Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Lloy Ball (S, 6-8, Woodburn, Ind., Indiana-Purdue, Fort Wayne)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
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 (OPP, 6-9, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-7, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon
Team Manager: Robert Browning
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen
Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Doctor: Dr. Andrew Gregory
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Medical Support: Aaron Brock

Group A
United States 3-0
Puerto Rico 2-1
Dominican Republic 1-2
Barbados 0-3

Group B
Canada 3-0
Cuba 2-1
Mexico 1-2
Trinidad & Tobago 0-3

Tournament Schedule (all times PST) and Results Preliminary Round
Jan. 6
Canada def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-9, 25-14, 25-15
USA def. Dominican Republic, 25-13, 25-19, 25-19
Cuba def. Mexico, 25-19, 25-23, 25-20
Puerto Rico def. Barbados, 25-13, 25-12, 25-19

Jan. 7
Mexico def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-20, 25-13, 25-11
USA def. Barbados, 25-14, 25-10, 25-16
Canada def. Cuba, 25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 25-20
Puerto Rico def. Dominican Republic, 28-26, 25-21, 38-36

Jan. 8
Cuba def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-13, 25-8, 25-15 Dominican Republic def. Barbados, 25-19, 25-19, 25-17 Canada def. Mexico, 25-21, 25-19, 25-20
USA def. Puerto Rico, 25-21, 25-23, 25-22

Final Round
Jan. 9
Cuba def. Dominican Republic, 25-15, 25-21, 25-23 Puerto Rico def. Mexico, 25-23, 30-28, 22-25, 19-25, 15-11

Jan. 10
Mexico def. Barbados, 25-13, 25-17, 25-15
Dominican Republic def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-17, 25-22, 28-26
USA def. Cuba, 25-22, 27-25, 25-18
Puerto Rico def. Canada, 41-39, 25-21, 25-19

Jan. 11
10 a.m.: 7th Place - Barbados vs. Trinidad & Tobago Noon: 5th Place - Mexico vs. Dominican Republic
2 p.m.: 3rd Place - Cuba vs. Canada
4 p.m.: Championship - USA vs. Puerto Rico