B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 8, 2008) – Heading into the second-to-last weekend of pool play in the FIVB World League, the U.S. Men's National Team finds itself right where it wants to be - in charge of its own fate.
With a record of 7-1 going into Friday and Saturday's matches against Spain at U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill., all Team USA has to do is win three of its final four contests and it is assured a pool victory.
But winning is far easier said than done. Even though the United States defeated Spain twice last weekend in Madrid, U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon and his team fully expect to be challenged this Friday and Saturday.
"Spain is a very good team. They run a very fast offense and they are a pretty well-rounded group," McCutcheon said.
Spain has a different look from the team that the United States faced in Madrid. Setter Miguel Angel Falasca, outside hitter Enrique De la Fuente and outside hitter Israel Rodriguez – all of whom saw significant playing time in Spain – did not make the trip to Bloomington, Ill.
The U.S. Men looked like two different teams in Madrid. On Friday (July 4), they struggled, particularly with serving, and allowed Spain to run its system, which depends on good passes. After winning the first two sets, the United States dropped the second two and barely pulled out the 25-23, 25-22, 29-31, 20-25, 18-16 victory.
After some rest on the off day on Saturday, Team USA regrouped to take a 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 victory on Sunday.
"It's tough to get off a plane and play right away," McCutcheon said. "I think the guys were more dialed in on Sunday."
Following its matches in Bloomington, the U.S. Men will have to travel to Bulgaria for its two final matches. Bulgaria is in second place in Pool C at 5-3 and will be hoping to take a trip to the World League Final Round away from the United States.
As World League has progressed, McCutcheon says the focus is less on finding the right players for the team and more about improving the team's performance.
"It now becomes an issue to get the team to gel and work on the little things," McCutcheon said. "They can have importance down the road."
And "down the road," a month away, are the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
WORLD LEAGUE LEADERS: Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) leads all World League blockers with an average of 0.81 blocks per set. David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) is 10th among all blockers with an average of 0.55 blocks per set.
Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai’i) is fourth among servers with an average of 0.35 aces per set. Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) is sixth with an average of 0.29.
Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) is fourth in serve receive with 101 “excellent” receptions in 149 attempts for an efficiency percentage of 65.10. An “excellent” reception is one in which the receiving player places the ball within the reach of the setter at the net who can handle it to prepare any attack by all of the hitters.
Priddy is fifth among World League spikers, with 89 spikes and 13 faults in 154 attempts for a success percentage of 53.25.
Lloy Ball (Woodburn, Ind.) is ninth among setters with an average of 5.68 running sets per set. A running set is defined as a set from a player that puts their hitter against one blocker or none.
WORLD LEAGUE TICKETS: Tickets for the FIVB World League matches in Bloomington, Ill., (July 11-12 vs. Spain) are still available. To purchase tickets, go to http://www.uscellularcoliseum.com/.
View the U.S. Men's World League Media Guide at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/08WL_MNTMediaGuide.pdf.
View the Bloomington Event Media Guide at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/08WL_mediakit3.pdf
The U.S. World League site is www.usavolleyball.org/national/08WL.asp.
The FIVB World League site is www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2008.
2008 FIVB World League
U.S. Men's Roster
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 C 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, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)
Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon
Team Manager: Bob Gambardella
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen
Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Team Doctor: Jonathan Reeser
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
FIVB 2008 World League Standings as of July 10 (click on link to view team profile):
U.S. World League Schedule and Results
Date: June 13-14
Location: Helsinki, Finland (LänsiAuto Arena)
June 13: USA def. Finland, 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20)
June 14: USA def. Finland, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-16)
Date: June 20-21
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
June 20: USA def. Bulgaria, 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-16)
June 21: Bulgaria def. USA, 3-2 (12-25, 25-16, 25-20, 12-25, 15-13)
Date: June 27-28
Location: Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.
June 27: USA def. Finland, 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20)
June 28: USA def. Finland, 3-1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18)
Date: July 4 and 6
Location: Madrid, Spain
July 4: USA def. Spain, 3-2 (25-23, 25-22, 29-31, 20-25, 18-16)
July 6: USA def. Spain, 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-23)
Date: July 11-12 (7 p.m. local both nights)
Location: U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill.
Date: July 18-19
Location: Varna, Bulgaria
Date: July 23-27
Event: World League Final (must qualify)
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil