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Mar 07 U.S. Men Finally Finish Off Finland in Fourth Set

June 12, 2010, 3:07 p.m. (ET)

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

Official Statistics * Unofficial DataVolley Statistics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 12, 2010) – Getting great play in the fourth set from some of its younger athletes, the U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team held off three set points to defeat Finland, 3-1 (18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 28-26) on Saturday in an FIVB World League match in Tampere, Finland.

The U.S. Men improved their record to 2-2 in Group C and they sit in second place as they return to the United States to play two pool play matches against Egypt (1-3) on June 18-19 in Concord, N.C. (buy tickets). Finland fell to 1-3 and is in third place in Group C.

In the other Group C match on Saturday, Russia improved its record to 4-0 with a 3-2 (23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 15-8) over a scrappy Egyptian team.

In Finland, outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) led the U.S. Men in scoring for the second night in a row with 18 points on 15 kills (0.52 kill percentage), two blocks and one ace. Opposite Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) added 13 points on 10 kills (0.40 kill percentage), two blocks and one ace.

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) once again led all players in blocks with six. He added five kills and an ace for 12 total points. Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) also scored 12 points on 12 kills (0.52 kill percentage).

Finland’s Antti Siltala led all scorers with 22 points on a match-high 19 kills, two blocks and one ace.

“Finland played great. They definitely gave us all we could handle,” said Millar, who is acting as U.S. team captain while Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) remains away from the team due to a family emergency. “The fourth set ended up being a huge set.”

The match looked to be going to a fifth set as Finland reached set point at 24-22. However Lotman came up big, scoring on two straight kills, the second on a Finland overpass, to fight off two set point opportunities and tie the score at 24-24. Finland took set point again at 25-24 with a kill that the official said was off a Team USA tip. The U.S. protested to no avail, and so came back with a Patak kill to tie the score at 25-25. The U.S. Men then reached match point on a Rooney pipe kill that was off Patak’s bump set from out of bounds.

Finland Head Coach Mauro Berruto called timeout and Finland responded with a kill for a 26-26 tie. But Patak was not finished, using a kill to give the U.S. match point. Patak then went back to serve and gave Finland a ball that it could only pass right back to the United States. Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) gave the ball to Patak who emerged from the back row to send it down the line for the U.S. victory.

The U.S. Men out-blocked Finland 16-11. The teams were tied in aces with five apiece. Finland led in kills with 65 as compared with 51 for the United States. But Finland was hurt by 24 team errors that often came at the worst times while the U.S. committed only 14.

Among other U.S. scorers, Millar had 10 points on four kills, four blocks and two aces. Suxho scored four points on two kills and two blocks. Opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) totaled two points on two kills and middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored one point on an important kill in the fourth set.

Suxho was credited with 25 running sets and one fault in 94 attempts and set the U.S. to a 0.44 kill percentage and a 0.28 hitting percentage. 

U.S. libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with 15 “excellent” receptions and no faults on 23 attempts. He also had four digs and five faults on nine attempts. Patak led the team in digs with eight in nine attempts.

U.S. Men’s Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) started Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) and Rooney at outside hitter, Lee and Millar at middle blocker, Anderson at opposite and Lambourne at libero.

Lotman substituted for Salmon in the first set and played the rest of the match. Patak substituted in the first three sets and started for Anderson in the fourth. Holt also played as a substitute.

Finland started out strong in the first set, jumping to an 11-2 lead, including four kills by Siltala and two kills and two blocks by Mikko Oivanen. Team USA finally scored three points in a row on two Rooney kills and a Finland error to cut Finland’s lead to 11-5. But Finland reached the second technical timeout (TTO) with a 16-7 lead, which it increased to 17-7. Knipe substituted Salmon for Lotman and the U.S. used a 3-1 run, including a Lee kill, to cut Finland’s lead to 18-10. But Finland kept up the pressure and was leading 21-13 when Knipe substituted Patak for Anderson. Team USA couldn’t put together a run of points and Finland reached set point first at 24-16. A block by Lee and Finland error cut the lead to 24-18 before Urpo Sivula ended the set with a kill.

Finland again took control in the second set and held an 8-5 lead at the first TTO, the U.S. scoring its only real points on a Millar block and Lotman kill. With Finland’s lead at 9-6, Rooney sparked a five-point U.S. run with a kill. Lee added two blocks. Suxho added one and Patak, who had substituted for Anderson, who had started the second set, go his first kill to take an 11-9 lead. Finland tied it at 11-11 and the teams traded points until it was 13-13. The U.S. put together four more straight points, including a Lee ace and Patak kill, to lead 17-13 and causing Finland Head Coach Mauro Berruto to call timeout. Finland came back with two kills, but couldn’t cut the U.S. lead further. With the U.S. leading 23-19, Finland scored three straight points to pull to within one point. But the run ended with a Finland error that gave U.S. set point. Finland pulled to within one with a kill, but a Lotman kill gave Team USA the set victory.

Finland took a 10-6 lead in the third set, with the U.S. scoring on kills by Lee, Patak, Rooney and Lotman and a block by Millar while Finland had three points from Siltala and two by Sivula. Team USA stayed in it with three straight points on a kill and block from Millar and kill by Suxho. Finland increased its lead to 11-9 with two straight points. The teams traded points until Finland led 13-11. Team USA scored three straight points on Finland error, a kill from Lotman and an ace by Rooney to take a 14-13 lead. Finland reached the second TTO with a 16-15 lead, but Team USA came out of the break and scored four straight points, including kills by Lotman and Rooney and a Patak ace to lead 19-16. Berruto called timeout and Siltala responded with a kill. But the U.S. still led 20-18 when it got three straight points, including a kill by Suxho and ace from Millar, to lead 23-18. Finland came back with three straight points of its own to cut the lead to 23-21 and forcing Knipe to call timeout. Rooney came out with a kill and a Finland hitting error sealed the set victory for the United States.

The momentum seemed to be with the U.S. in the fourth quarter as it took an 8-7 lead at the first TTO after scoring on two kills by Lotman, a block and an ace from Millar and kill from Patak, Rooney and Lee. But with the U.S. leading 10-9, Finland score four straight points, including two U.S. errors, to lead 13-10. A Rooney kill and block pulled Team USA back to within one point. But with Finland leading 14-13, it went on a 6-2 run to extend its lead to 20-15. The match looked to be going to a fifth set when Finland led 22-17. But after a Finland service error made it 22-18, Millar took the serve and the U.S. scored two points on a kill by Holt block by Lee. Finland scored with a kill, but Rooney came back with a kill of his own to make it 23-21. A Patak block brought the U.S. to within one at 23-22, but Finland reached set point with a kill. That’s when Lotman came up big, scoring on two straight kills, the second on a Finland overpass, to fight off two set point opportunities and tie the score at 24-24. Finland took set point again at 25-24 with a kill that the official said was off the fingers of the United States. The U.S. protested to no avail, and so came back with a Patak kill to tie the score at 25-25. The U.S. Men then reached match point on a Rooney pipe kill that was off Patak’s bump set from out of bounds.

Berruto called timeout and Finland responded with a kill for a 26-26 tie. But Patak was not finished, using a kill to give the U.S. match point. Patak then went back to serve and gave Finland a ball that it could only pass right back to the United States. Suxho gave the ball to Patak who emerged from the back row to send it down the line for the U.S. victory.

For the U.S. Men's World League Media Guide, click here.

To view a match photo gallery, click here.

To read Rob Browning’s World League blog, click here.

The USA Volleyball page for World League information is http://usavolleyball.org/events/2878.

To visit the FIVB World League page with photos, statistics and live scoring, click here.

2010 FIVB World League
June 11-12 in Tampere, Finland

U.S. Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
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)
6 Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7 Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
8 C Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Utah, BYU)
10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
17 Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Leader: Rob Browning (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Trainer: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

Pool C Standings (As of June 12)
Country (points) record
Russia (11) 4-0
USA (6) 2-2
Finland (4) 1-3
Egypt (3) 1-2

Note: Match won 3-0 or 3-1:  3 points for the winner, 0 point for the loser
Match won 3-2:  2 points for the winner, 1 point for the loser
In case of tie, the teams will be classified according to the following criteria: number of matches won, points ratio and sets ratio

2010 U.S. World League Schedule and Results

Date: June 4-5
Location: Ekaterinburg, Russia
June 4: Russia def. United States, 25-15, 26-24, 25-14
June 5:
Russia def. United States, 25-14, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21

Date: June 11-12
Opponent: Finland
Location: Tampere, Finland
June 11: United States def. Finland, 25-27, 25-18, 27-25, 25-28
June 12: United States def. Finland, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 28-26

Date: June 18-19 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Egypt
Location: Cabarrus Arena in Concord, N.C. - www.visitcabarrus.com
BUY TICKETS!

Date: June 25-26 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Finland
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
BUY TICKETS!

Date: July 2-3
Opponent: Egypt
Location: Cairo, Egypt

Date: July 9 at 7 p.m.; July 10 at 6 p.m.
Opponent: Russia
Location: Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan. - www.wichitasports.com/
BUY TICKETS!

Final Round (must qualify)
Date: July 21-25
Location: Cordoba, Argentina

Other Pool C Results
June 5: Egypt def. Finland, 23-25, 26-24, 25-16, 20-25, 15-13
June 6: Finland def. Egypt, 25-22. 23-25, 25-20, 25-19
June 11: Russia def. Egypt, 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15
June 12: Russia def. Egypt, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 15-8

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