U.S. Men Defeat Finland in World League Opening Match

June 13, 2008, 6:47 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 13, 2008) - Friday the 13th was not unlucky for the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team, ranked third in the world, as it defeated Finland, 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20), in its opening match of the 2008 FIVB World League in Espoo, Finland.

The two teams will play a second match on Saturday (June 14) at 8:30 a.m. PDT.

The United States' offensive attack was helped by Finland's 38 team errors, including 21 errors in the first two sets. The U.S. Men converted 54 percent of their kill attempts into points as opposed to 45 percent for Finland. Team USA was 60 percent "excellent" on serve receptions as opposed to 52 percent for Finland.

"For us, this was the beginning of our Olympic Games development," U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. "Obviously Finland was not at its best in the first and the second sets. In the third set they started to play much better. This was a nice battle and I think it was good volleyball."

Unofficially, David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored 15 points for the U.S. Men on 10 kills, four blocks and one ace. Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) contributed 12 points on 12 kills. Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) added 11 points on nine kills and two blocks. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) tallied 10 points on nine kills and one block.

Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) scored nine points on nine kills. Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai'i) had four points on four kills.

Setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) scored three points on three kills and also had 22 assists.

Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with one point on one kill, 12 digs and eight positive serve receptions out of 14 attempts.

McCutcheon started Priddy and Salmon at outside hitter, Lee and Millar at middle blocker, Hansen at setter, Gardner at opposite and Labourne at libero. Stanley played the fourth set for Gardner. Delano Thomas (Sacramento, Calif.) also substituted into the match.

Taking advantage of Finland's early mistakes in the first set, the United States held a lead of 8-5 at the first technical timeout and increased it to 12-7 when Finland Head Coach Mauro Berruto took a timeout. The United States' lead was 16-10 at the second technical timeout and the United States' went on to win, 25-18.

The United States led 20-12 in the second set when Finland called a timeout and then started to whittle away at the lead. Three Finland kills in a row cut the U.S. lead to 20-15. Later, with the score 22-18, McCutcheon called a timeout to get his team back on track. It worked, and the U.S. Men went on to win 25-19.

Finland came out attacking in the third set and jumped to an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout. With Finland leading 10-6, McCutcheon called a timeout to try to bring the U.S. offense back to life. A kill from Priddy and two from Lee combined with Finland's errors tied the score at 11-11, but Finland scored two straight points to get back in control. Finland reached set point first at 24-22. A Priddy kill made it 24-23, but Jukka Lehtonen's kill settled the matter.

The excitement continued in the fourth set as the U.S. Men held a slim 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout and 16-14 at the second. With Team USA leading 20-18, Finland committed a serve error and two attack errors to hand the United States a five-point lead that it never relinquished.

The World League is a six-weekend tournament with matches being played both in the United States and abroad, culminating in a final round on July 23-27 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The World League has a total prize purse in excess of $20 million.

WORLD LEAGUE TICKETS: Tickets for the FIVB World League matches in Hoffman Estates, Ill. (June 20-21 vs. Bulgaria), Green Bay, Wis. (June 27-28 vs. Finland) and Bloomington, Ill. (July 11-12 vs. Spain) are now on sale. To purchase tickets, go to the USA Volleyball World League site at www.usavolleyball.org/national/08WL.asp.

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. Roster for June 13-14
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)
8 Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Palmdale, Calif., BYU)
C 10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
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)
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: Michael Terry
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

FIVB 2008 World League Standings as of June 13 (click on link to view team profile):

Pool A
Brazil 0-0
France 0-0
Serbia 0-0
Venezuela 0-0

Pool B
Cuba 0-0
Italy  0-0
Korea 0-0
Russia 0-0

Pool C
USA 1-0
Finland 0-1
Bulgaria 0-0
Spain 0-0

Pool D
Egypt 1-0
Poland 0-1
Japan 0-0
China 0-0

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)

Date: June 20-21 (7 p.m. local both nights)
Opponent: Bulgaria
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Date: June 27-28 (7 p.m. local both nights)
Opponent: Finland
Location: Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.

Date: July 4 and 6
Opponent: Spain
Location: Madrid, Spain

Date: July 11-12 (7 p.m. local both nights)
Opponent: Spain
Location: U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill.

Date: July 18-19
Opponent: Bulgaria
Location: Varna, Bulgaria

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