U.S. Men's Update: What's Happening OverseasB.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
ANAHEIM, Calif. (March 13, 2008) - Later this summer, the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team will participate in the 2008 FIVB World League and the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. However, this winter most of the U.S. Men's players are competing for their professional club teams in various leagues around the world. Here's a look at how some of those players and teams are doing.
Polish League: The Polish club AZS Czestochowa, which includes U.S. National Team members Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Phil Eatherton (Glencoe, Mo.), won the Polish Cup on March 9 for the first time in 10 years. Czestochowa defeated Jastrzebski Wegiel 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 32-30) in the final match. Billings was named best spiker and received 5,000 Polish zloty (approximately $2,200). Czestochowa's setter Pawel Woicki was named MVP. View a photo gallery of the final match at http://www.azsczestochowa.pl/galeria/93.php.
Indesit European Champions League: Dinamo-Tattransgaz Kazan, the Russian League team that U.S. Men's Team members Lloy Ball (Woodburn, Ind.) and Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai'i) both play for, has made it to the "final four" of the Indesit European Champions League. Dinamo Kazan will play Poland's PGE Skra Belchatow, which is hosting the final rounds, in the semifinal on March 29. Dinamo, the defending Russian League champion, sits in fourth place in the 12-team league this year. Stanley, an opposite, ranks eighth among servers in the European Champions League with 11 aces in 17 sets for an average of 0.65 per set. Among other U.S. players in the Russian League, Reid Priddy's (Richmond, Va.) Lokomotiv Novosibirsk is in third place in the league, Tom Hoff's (Park Ridge, Ill.) Fakel Novy Urengoy is in eighth and Sean Rooney's (Wheaton, Ill.) Dynamo Yantar Kaliningrad is in 10th.
European Challenge Cup: France's Stade Poitevin Poitiers, which features U.S. setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), has made it to the final of the Challenge Cup and will play Russia's Lokomotiv-Izumrud Ekaterinburg in the semifinals on March 22 in Rzeszow, Poland. Stade Poitevin is third among the teams in the French League. Italian Leagues: U.S. middle blocker Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.), who plays for Sparkling Milano in Italy's Serie A League, is fifth among middle blockers in scoring, averaging 2.27 points per set. He has 56 scoring blocks this season for an average of 0.66 per set. Millar's Sparkling Milano teammate, Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.), who plays opposite for the U.S. Men, is 22nd among outside hitters in the league, averaging 3.73 points per set. Gardner is averaging 3.36 kills per set. Sparkling Milano is in eighth place out of 14 teams in the league. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas), who plays for Andreoli Latina in the Serie A League, is ranked 36th among outside hitters, averaging 2.29 points per set. He is averaging 2.07 kills per set. Andreoli Latina is last out of the 14 teams in the league. Matt Proper (Guy Mills, Pa.) plays for RPA-LuigiBacchi.it Perugia, which is in 12th place.