U.S. Men Expecting a World League Battle with Bulgaria

June 20, 2008, 1:32 a.m. (ET)

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

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 18, 2008) - The U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team, ranked No. 3 in the world, plays its first domestic matches of the 2008 World League this Friday and Saturday when it will face No. 4 Bulgaria at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

The U.S. Men are coming off a two-match sweep of host Finland on June 13-14. U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) was pleased with his team's efforts in Espoo.

"I thought it was a good start to the tournament," McCutcheon said. "Most importantly, I thought we played a lot better the second night than the first. That's really all we're looking for at this stage."

Bulgaria is coming off a two-match sweep of visiting Spain in its first two 2007 World League matches. Although the teams are tied atop Pool C with 2-0 records, the United States leads the points ratio by .042.

Bulgaria has never medaled in World League. It finished fifth last year while the U.S. Men placed third.

"Bulgaria is very good," McCutcheon said. "We expect some tough matches this weekend.  They're a strong serve and side-out team."

The U.S. Men have only played Bulgaria twice since 2004. At the 2006 FIVB World Championships, Bulgaria defeated the United States, 3-0 (30-28, 25-22, 25-21). The U.S. Men went on to finish 10th while Bulgaria won the bronze.

At the 2007 World Cup, Team USA defeated Bulgaria, 3-2 (29-27, 20-25, 28-30, 25-22, 15-12) in a match it had to win if it hoped to reach the podium. Despite the victory, the United States went on to finish fourth at World Cup while Bulgaria finished third and qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Among Bulgaria's top players is 6-foot-7 Matey Kaziyski, who was the third-leading scorer at the 2007 World Cup. Bulgaria also relies on 6-7 Danail Milushev, who scored 23 points in Bulgaria's four-set win over Spain (19-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-13).

Longtime Bulgarian veteran Plamen Konstantinov, 6-7, was not on the team's roster for its matches against Spain. He celebrated his 35th birthday on Saturday.

The U.S. Men were led by 6-5 outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) in their victories over Finland as he was officially credited with 15 points in the first match and 17 in the second. U.S. 6-8 middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) also had good matches against Finland, scoring 13 points in the first match and six in the second.

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 still available. 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.

View the event media guide at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/08WL_FiVBmediakit1.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: Arnie Ball
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen
Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Team Doctor: Michael Terry/William Briner
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

FIVB 2008 World League Standings as of June 17 (click on link to view team profile):

Pool A
France 2-0
Brazil 2-0
Serbia 0-2
Venezuela 0-2

Pool B
Russia 2-0
Italy 1-1
Cuba 1-1
Korea 0-2

Pool C
USA 2-0
Bulgaria 2-0
Spain 0-2
Finland 0-2

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

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 (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