U.S. Men Fall in Four to Bulgaria at World League

July 19, 2008, 3:01 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800       
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org  

ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 19, 2008) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team fought the good fight but again came up short against Bulgaria on Saturday, and lost a two-hour, four-set match (20-25, 25-20, 20-25, 33-35) in an FIVB World League match in Varna, Bulgaria.

After losses on Friday and Saturday, the U.S. Men finish World League intercontinental pool play with a 9-3 record and win Pool C. Bulgaria finishes second with a record of 8-4. The United States will travel straight from Bulgaria to Rio de Janeiro for the World League final round on July 23-27. In the other Pool C match played Saturday, Finland defeated Spain, 3-0, and finished pool play in third place.

Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov attended Saturday’s match along with approximately 6,600 other spectators to watch the two Olympic qualifiers, ranked No. 3 (United States) and No. 4 (Bulgaria) in the world, battle it out.  The U.S. Men will play Bulgaria at the 2008 Olympic Games on Aug. 14 at Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing. Both teams are in Pool A.

“Of course I don’t like losing, but generally we reached our goals,” U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “Young players have gained a lot of useful experience and Tom Hoff and Gabe Gardner came back after injury troubles.”

 “There is no shame to be defeated in an arena with so many people cheering against us,” U.S. Team Captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) said. “Bulgaria played better volleyball than yesterday. We made it hard for them to close the match. Our coach is always preaching to us to fight for every ball; so we did that in the fourth set.”

Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) led the U.S. Men on Saturday with 21 points on 19 kills and two blocks. Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) added 17 points on 15 kills and two blocks. Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) scored 12 points on 11 kills and one block.

Delano Thomas (Sacramento, Calif.) scored nine points on nine kills. Phil Eatherton (Glencoe, Mo.) added six points on five kills and one block. Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) totaled three points on one kill and two blocks and Hoff finished with one point on one kill.

Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with eight digs in 17 attempts and 14 “excellent” serve receptions. Rooney had 23 “excellent” serve receptions and no faults in 34 attempts.

Bulgaria’s Danail Milushev led all scorers with 20 points on a match-high 20 kills.

Bulgaria converted 48 percent of its attack attempts (59/122) while the U.S. Men converted 46 percent (61/132). Bulgaria out-blocked the United States 10-8 and had three aces while Team USA had none. The United States struggled with 23 service errors.

McCutcheon started Rooney and Touzinsky at outside hitter, Hoff and Thomas at middle blocker, Gardner at opposite, Hansen at setter and Lambourne at libero.

Eatherton started for Hoff in the second set and played the rest of the match. Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Brandon Taliaferro (San Clemente, Calif.) played as substitutes.

View the U.S. Men's World League Media Guide at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/08WL_MNTMediaGuide.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

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)
6 Phil Eatherton (MB, 6-9, Glencoe, Mo., Ball State)
7 10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
11 Brook Billings (Opp, 6-5, Santa Barbara, Calif., USC)
12 C Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Gabe Gardner (Opp, 6-9, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
16 Brandon Taliaferro (S, 6-5, San Clemente, Calif., UCLA)
17 Delano Thomas (MB, 6-7, Sacramento, Calif., Hawai’i)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon
Team Manager: Marv Dunphy
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen
Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Team Doctor: William Briner, Jr.
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

FIVB 2008 World League Standings as of July 19 (click on link to view team profile):

Pool A
Brazil 10-2
France 6-5
Serbia 6-5
Venezuela 1-11

Pool B
Russia 10-2
Italy 7-4
Cuba 5-6
Korea 1-11

Pool C
USA 9-3
Bulgaria 8-4
Finland 4-8
Spain 3-9

Pool D
Poland 9-3
China 5-6
Japan 5-6
Egypt 4-8

U.S. World League Schedule and Results

Date: June 13-14
Opponent: Finland
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
Opponent: Bulgaria
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
Opponent: Finland
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
Opponent: Spain
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
Opponent: Spain
Location: U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill.
July 11: USA def. Spain, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 27-25)
July 12: USA def. Spain, 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-13, 25-18)

Date: July 18-19
Opponent: Bulgaria
Location: Varna, Bulgaria
July 18: Bulgaria def. USA, 3-2 (25-22, 24-26, 25-16, 23-25, 15-10)
July 19: Bulgaria def. USA, 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-20, 35-33)

Date: July 23-27
Event: World League Final
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil