Rooney Leads U.S. Men Past Italy in World League

June 19, 2009, 3:54 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 19, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team used 19 points from Sean Rooney to defeat Italy on Friday, 3-1 (25-21, 30-28, 21-25, 25-21) in an FIVB World League match in Florence.

The U.S. Men improve their record to 2-1 in Group A. Italy falls to 1-2. The two teams will play again on Sunday at 9 a.m. PDT in Catania.

Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) scored on 18 kills and one ace. He converted 55 percent of his kill attempts. He was also targeted by Italy’s servers and came away with 22 receptions, including 12 “excellent”.

Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) added 17 points on 15 kills and two aces. He was credited with 11 digs.

David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored 12 points on four kills, six blocks and two aces. Andrew Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) scored 10 points on 10 kills.

Cristian Savani led Italy with 19 points on 18 kills and one block. Mauro Gavotto added 18 points on 18 kills. No other Italian player scored in double figures.

“We played with great intensity,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said in an FIVB press release. “On receiving skills, we played a great game. Italy had great players. Gavotto and Savani played a great game. It was a match we could have gone to the tie break.”

As a team, the U.S. Men were credited with 54 serve receptions, including 32 “excellent,” on 80 attempts.

Team USA out-blocked Italy 10-7 and had five aces as compared with Italy’s one.

Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) scored nine points on seven kills and two blocks. Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) had five points on five kills and Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) finished with three points on two kills and one block. Suxho was credited with 31 running sets (assists) and one fault on 97 attempts.

U.S. Men’s Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) started Rooney and Anderson at outside hitter, Hein and Lee at middle blocker, Patak at opposite, Suxho at setter and Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) at libero. Lambourne was credited with 10 digs and 11 serve receptions, including six excellent.

Jablonsky substituted for Anderson in the third set and played the entire fourth set. David Smith (Saugus, Calif.), Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) all played as substitutes.

In the first set, the U.S. Men led 8-7 at the first technical timeout (TTO) and 16-14 at the second. Team USA built the lead to 19-16 before Italy began a comeback. Savani’s back-row attack was the key to Italy’s comeback, but the defense struggled and the United States won, 25-21.

The U.S. Men led 8-7 at the first TTO of the second set, but Italy stayed close and held a one-point lead at the second. At the end of the set, the two teams traded set points. With the scored tied 28-28, kills by Rooney and Lee gave the United States the victory.

Italy shuffled its lineup somewhat in the third set and held an 8-5 lead at the first TTO and a 16-15 edge at the second. Italian attacks combined with U.S. errors helped Italy reach a 22-19 lead. Knipe subbed Jablonsky for Anderson, but the U.S. could not mount a comeback and fell 25-21.

Team USA did not let up and led 8-6 at the first TTO of the fourth set. Italy came back with one point before the United States went on a tear behind the serving of Lee and increased the lead to 14-7. Patak had three kills during the run and Lee served his second ace of the match. Italy came back to make it 14-10 and later pulled to within two points at 20-18. But the U.S. Men kept up the pressure while Italy struggled with mistakes and Team USA took the set and match.

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

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
June 19: USA def. Italy, 3-1 (25-21, 30-28, 21-25, 25-21)

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