B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 6, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team has announced its preliminary 25-man roster for the 2011 FIVB World League, which begins on May 27.
This roster will be trimmed to 20 (including two liberos) players by May 4. The team must submit a roster of 12-14 players (with 14 there must be two liberos) taken from that 20-man pool prior to each World League weekend.
U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) points out that this will be an important World League for players who want to be part of the team that will try to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.
“There is no big shock that we are looking to tighten things up and trim the fat as we identify the nucleus of that group,” he said. “When you look at Year 3 of the quad, that’s an important year.”
Nine players return from the 2008 U.S. Men’s Team that won the FIVB World League and the Olympic gold medal. One of these is opposite Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.), who has not played with the U.S. Men since the 2008 Olympic Games. However Gardner has played overseas in Russia and Italy since 2008.
“Gabe’s a real good volleyball player,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.). “I don’t think Gabe was ever fully retired in his mind. We definitely could fill some gaps in that position.
“Hopefully he will provide us with some different looks. There’s a lot of competition at that spot and that is good for our team.”
There are four opposites looking to make the squad: Gardner, Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.), who was on the 2010 FIVB World Championship roster and is finishing his junior season at UC Irvine, Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.), who has been on the last two World League rosters and 2008 Olympic MVP Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii).
Also returning from the 2008 team are setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.), middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah), outside hitter and current team captain Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.).
The roster includes six setters: Hansen, Tyler Hildebrand (Tempe, Ariz.), Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), 2004 Olympian Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania), Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) and Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif.).
“We kept a few extra setters,” Knipe said. “We’ve dealt with some injury issues at that spot. You look at those guys and they are all quality players.”
The six middle blockers vying for a slot are Andy Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.), Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.), Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio), Lee, Millar and David Smith (Saugus, Calif.).
Seven outside hitters are on the preliminary roster: Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.), Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.), Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), Priddy, Rooney, Robert Tarr (Cape Canaveral, Fla.) and Touzinsky.
Finally, the two liberos are Lambourne and Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.).
The FIVB World League is an elite men’s volleyball competition in which the world’s 16 best teams are divided into four pools and play an Intercontinental Round for six straight weekends from May 27 to July 3. Each team plays every other team in the pool for two matches at home and two matches away.
The four pool winners and the four second-place teams advance to the Final Round, which will be held July 6-10 in Gdansk, Poland. As the host country, Poland will automatically advance to the final round, so only the winner or second-place team from its pool will advance.
For more information, visit the USA Volleyball World League web site.
2011 FIVB World League Preliminary Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
Carson Clark (Opp, 6-5, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
Gabe Gardner (Opp, 6-8, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
Andy Hein (MB, 6-11, Carols Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-5, Mesa, Ariz., Long Beach State)
Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Utah, BYU)
Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawaii)
Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
Robert Tarr (OH, 6-6, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)
Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)
Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
Jonathan Winder (S, 6-8, Irvine, Calif., Pepperdine)
Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)
U.S. Men’s Schedule for the 2011 FIVB World League
Continental Round (pool play)
Date: May 27-28
Location: Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland
Date: June 3-4
Opponant: Puerto Rico
Location: Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Date: June 11-12
Location: Mineirinho in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Date: June 24-25 (7 p.m. both nights)
Location: Reynolds Center at the University of Tulsa (Okla.)
Date: July 13-17
Opponant: Teams must qualify
Location: Gdansk-Sopot, Poland