U.S. Men Fall to China at Four Nations Tournament

May 12, 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 12, 2008) - The U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team fell to China 0-3 (19-25, 22-25, 21-25) on Monday at the Four Nations Tournament in Leipzig, Germany. The U.S. Men's record is now 1-1 after they defeated Czech Republic 3-1 (25-20, 20-25, 26-24, 26-24) on Sunday. They will play host Germany on Tuesday. Germany is undefeated after beating Czech Republic, 3-1 (25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22) in Monday's other match.

Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) led the U.S. Men on Monday with 10 points on eight kills and two blocks. Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) added nine points on nine kills. Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.), who played only the third set, scored eight points on seven kills and one block. Phil Eatherton (Glencoe, Mo.) tallied five points on five kills. Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.), Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Delano Thomas (Sacramento, Calif.) each scored four points. Patak had four kills while Billings and Thomas each had three kills and one block. Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) scored three points on one ace, one kill and one block.

Using a different lineup from Sunday, U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) started Salmon and Touzinsky at outside hitter, Thomas and Eatherton at middle blocker, Billings at opposite, Suxho at setter and Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) at libero. Patak came in as a substitute in the first two sets and Gardner replace Billings at opposite in the third set.

"China played very well tonight," McCutcheon said. "We used a different lineup and never really found our rhythm. It's disappointing to lose; but we're learning a lot about this group, which is ultimately why we're here."

It was a tough night of hitting for Team USA, with a hitting percentage of 34 percent while China's percentage was 40. The U.S. Men were also 55 percent excellent on serve reception as compared with China's 67 percent. China had three aces while the U.S. Men had one. Qiong Shen led China's scoring with 16 points on 15 kills and one block.

Leading 6-4 in the first set, China went on a four-point run, including a kill and a block and two U.S. errors, to take a six-point lead. The U.S. Men never got closer than five points down after that. Team USA kept the score closer in the second set, but China led 8-5 at the first technical timeout and 16-12 at the second. With China leading 19-16, a kill by Patak pulled the U.S. Men to within two points. But China scored three-straight points to make it 22-17. China reached set point first at 24-19. Team USA held off the set loss for three serves thanks to two kills from Patak and a Chinese attacking error. But a quick kill by Hongmin Bian ended the match at 25-22. Gardner seemed to give the U.S. Men a boost in the third set as he scored on two kills and a block in helping the team to an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout. China led 16-14 at the second technical timeout, but then committed two straight errors to tie the score at 16-16. China called a timeout and came out firing, reeling off the next five points on two kills, a block and an ace to take the 21-16 lead and put the set and match out of reach.

Hugh McCutcheon on Sunday's victory over the Czech Republic:

"I thought the team fought hard tonight. We didn't play great, but we were able to find ways to win. Obviously, our arriving one day prior to the beginning of the tournament is not ideal preparation, but the guys dealt with the adversity well."

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. Go to www.usavolleyball.org/National/2008_MNTOlympicExhibition.asp
for more 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
China def. USA, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21
Germany def. Czech Republic, 25-19, 25-21, 19-25, 25-22

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