U.S. Men Beat Czech Republic at Four Nations Tourney

May 11, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

ANAHEIM, Calif. (May 11, 2008) - The U.S. Men's National Team, ranked third in the world, defeated the Czech Republic (25-20, 20-25, 26-24, 26-24) on Sunday at the Four Nations Tournament in Leipzig, Germany.

Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) led the U.S. Men with 22 points on 19 kills and three blocks. Delano Thomas (Sacramento, Calif.) and Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) each added 15 points. Each had two aces. Thomas had 13 kills while Touzinsky had 12 kills and one block. Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) scored 13 points on 10 kills and three blocks. Phil Eatherton (Glencoe, Mo.) scored nine points on seven kills and two blocks and setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) scored three points on two blocks and one ace while setting the entire match. Ji'i Novak led Czech Republic with 17 points on 14 kills, two blocks and one ace.

U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) started Rooney and Touzinsky at outside hitter, Thomas and Eatherton at middle blocker, Gardner at opposite, Hanson at setter and Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) at libero. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) substituted in each set and Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) entered the match as a serving substitute.

In the first set, Czech Republic held an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout as the two teams traded points. With the scored tied at 12-12, Thomas put the U.S. Men ahead on a quick attack, followed by two straight kills from Gardner to make it 15-12. Another Thomas quick attack put Team USA ahead 16-12 at the second timeout and Czech Republic never recovered.

Czech Republic jumped to an 8-5 lead in the second set as the U.S. attack went cold. The U.S. Men pulled to within one at 16-17, but Ondrej Hudecek's two straight kills put Czech Republic back up by three. Czech Republic went on to win the set 25-20.

The two teams continued to battle in the fourth set as Czech Republic led 8-7 at the first timeout and the United States led 16-15 at the second. The Czech Republic gained a two-point advantage at 23-21, but a Thomas kill cut the U.S. deficit to one and two kills in a row from Rooney gave Team USA the set point. A kill by Novak tied the score at 24-24, but Rooney's block of Hudecek gave the U.S. Men another set point and Gardner's block put the United States on top 26-24.

In the fourth set, the teams again battled back and forth, but the Czech Republic eventually worked its way to a 24-21 set point. However, it would not score again in the match. A Touzinsky kill followed by two Rooney blocks on Novak tied the score at 24-24. Rooney's kill made it 25-24 and a block by Gardner gave the United States the match victory.

Germany defeated China 3-1 (33-31, 26-28, 25-22, 25-19) in Sunday's other match. The U.S. Men will play China on Monday and Germany on Tuesday. Following the tournament, the U.S. Men will play an exhibition match against the German men's national team on May 15 in Chemnitz, Germany.

UPCOMING U.S. EVENTS: The U.S. Men will be playing the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Exhibition for Volleyball against Argentina at 7 p.m. on May 27 at the Bren Events Center in Irvine, Calif. Click here for details and ticket information. 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.

U.S. Men's Team Roster
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
4 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
6 Phil Eatherton (MB, 6-9, Glencoe, Mo., Ball State)
7 Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC bv)
10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
11 Brook Billings (Opp, 6-5, Santa Barbara, Calif., USC)
12 Andrew Hein (MB, 6-11, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Gabe Gardner (Opp, 6-9, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
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: Russell Rose
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen
Assistant Coach: Jay Hosack
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Medical Support: Aaron Brock

Four Nations Tournament Results and Schedule All times PDT
May 11
USA def. Czech Republic, 20-25, 25-20, 26-24, 26-24
Germany def. China, 33-31, 26-28, 25-22, 25-19

May 12
7 a.m.: USA vs. China
9:30 a.m.: Germany vs. Czech Republic

May 13
8 a.m.: China vs. Czech Republic
10:30 a.m.: USA vs. Germany