U.S. Men Move on to Italy for World League

June 18, 2009, 2:07 p.m. (ET)

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

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 18, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s National Team arrived Tuesday in Italy where it will play two World League matches on June 19 in Florence and June 21 in Catania.

The June 19 match will be at 10:30 a.m. PDT. The June 21 match will be at 9 a.m. PDT. Live scoring is available on the FIVB World League web site.

The two teams will play again on July 10-11 in at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Italy, ranked sixth in the world, is coming off a split of matches with visiting China, ranked eighth, on June 12-13. It defeated China 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-16) in the first match, but fell 0-3 (21-25, 23-25, 32-34) in the second.

"We were not so efficient like in the first match,” Italian Head Coach Andrea Anastasi said in an FIVB press release following the second match. “It was a very heavy defeat. We lost to a better Chinese team that put us under terrible pressure.”

Italy’s leading World League scorer thus far is outside hitter Cristian Savani, who scored 35 points on 28 kills, five blocks and two aces over the two matches with China. Opposite Mauro Gavotto is second with 29 points on 25 kills, two blocks and two aces.

The last time the United States played Italy was in pool play at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where the U.S. Men won 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21). Italy went on to finish fourth while Team USA won the gold medal.

The U.S. Men went 4-0 against Italy in the 2007 World League and went on to finish third in the final round.

However the United States is 20-37 against Italy since 1981. Italy has won eight World League gold medals, three silver and two bronze and should never be counted out.

The U.S. Men are the World League defending champions, but find themselves in last place in their pool thanks to their struggles against Netherlands.

After losing the first match 0-3 (22-25, 19-25, 24-26), Team USA came back to win, 3-2 (25-16, 30-32, 25-17, 20-25, 15-6).

"It was a completely different match than the first one,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said in an FIVB press release following the match. “We regrouped just in time. My team showed a lot of character, I am very proud."

Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) led the team in scoring over the two matches and finished with 32 points on 26 kills, two blocks and four aces. Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) is second with 27 points on 26 kills and one block.

Smith Added to Roster

Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) was added to the preliminary U.S. World League roster last week shortly before the team left for Netherlands. He replaced outside hitter Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) who cannot play due to injury.

Smith ended up traveling to Netherlands and playing as a substitute.

U.S. Players Among World League Leaders

U.S. libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.), who has won the Best Libero award at the last two World League final rounds, is second among World League diggers with 30 digs and four faults on 34 attempts for a 3.75 average.

Patak is sixth among all World League players in serving. He has four aces and four faults in 32 total attempts.

World League Tickets

Tickets for the World League matches in San Jose, Calif., (June 26-27 against China), Hoffman Estates, Ill., (July 10-11 against Italy) and Wichita, Kan., (July 17-18 against Netherlands) are on sale.

For San Jose tickets, click here.

For Hoffman Estates tickets, click here.

For Wichita tickets, click here.

For more information on World League, please visit USA Volleyball’s World League web site at http://usavolleyball.org/event/event/573.

To visit the FIVB World League web site, click here.

2009 U.S. World League Roster for June 19 and 21

1 Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
7 Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
8 Andrew Hein (MB, 6-11, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
10 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
11 Brook Billings (Opp, 6-5, Santa Barbara, Calif., USC)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato
Assistant Coach:
John Hawks
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson
Team Doctor:
Michael Terry
Medical Support: Aaron Brock

2009 FIVB World League Schedule and Results

Date: June 13-14
Opponent: Netherlands
Location: Rotterdam
June 13: Netherlands def. USA, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 26-24)
June 14: USA def. Netherlands, 3-2 (25-16, 30-32, 25-17, 20-25, 15-6)

Date: June 19 and 21
Opponent: Italy
Location: Florence and Catania

Date: June 26-27 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: China
Location: San Jose State University Event Center Arena in San Jose, Calif.

Date: July 4-5
Opponent: China
Location: Nanjing

Date: July 10-11 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Italy
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Date: July 17-18 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Netherlands
Location: Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Date: July 22-26
Event: Final Round (teams must qualify)
Opponents: TBD
Location: Belgrade, Serbia