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U.S. Men Ready for Final Round Challenges

July 04, 2011, 5:15 p.m. (ET)

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

To view the U.S. Men's 2011 FIVB World League Media Guide, click here.

To view the World League television schedule on Versus, click here.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (July 4, 2011) – It is not exaggerating to say that the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team finds itself in the more difficult of the two pools of the 2011 FIVB World League Final Round, which will be played July 6-10 in Gdansk and Sopot, Poland.

The United States’ Pool F competitors, Brazil, Russia and Cuba, are ranked first, second and fourth in the world, respectively. The United States is ranked fifth. On the other side in Pool E, Italy is ranked sixth in the world, Bulgaria is seventh, Argentina is eighth and host Poland is 10th.

“With the teams that are there, they are all going to be tough matches,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “We’re moving on to the second stage, so we’re excited. We’re looking forward to it.”

The U.S. was the last team to arrive in Poland after playing its final two matches against Puerto Rico on July 1-2 in Long Beach. All the other World League pools were finished on July 1.

The United States will play the first match of the Final Round on Wednesday (July 6) at 11 a.m. local time (2 a.m. PT) against Russia at Ergo Arena in Gdansk. On Thursday (July 7), it will face Brazil at 1:30 p.m. local time (4:30 a.m. PT) and on Friday (July 8), it will play Cuba at 11 a.m. (2 a.m. PT).

The top two teams from each pool will advance to the semifinals on Saturday (July 9) in Sopot. The medal matches will be played Sunday (July 10). The World League champion wins $1 million.

Despite the difficult pool and schedule, U.S. middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) knows his team can do what it takes to succeed in the Final Round.

“I’m really satisfied with where we stand right now,” he said. “To take down Brazil twice (in pool play), we are moving in the right direction.”

The U.S. Men finished the Intercontinental Round at 8-4, winning second-night matches against Poland (both in Poland and in the United States) and against Brazil (both in Brazil and the United States). The United States defeated Puerto Rico all four times the teams played. The last time the U.S. Men advanced to the World League Final Round was in 2009, where they finished sixth. They won the Final Round in 2008 and finished third in 1992 and 2007.

Brazil (10-2 in the Intercontinental Round) has won the World League final round the last two years and nine times in the last 11 years. It also won the 2010 World Championship and the 2009 Grand Champions Cup. The United States defeated the South American side twice in pool play, including a 25-21, 25-22, 16-25, 26-24 victory in front of 17,800 fans in Brazil.

Russia (11-1), the Pool B winner, was the 2010 World League runner-up. It almost went undefeated during the 2011 World League Intercontinental Round, but lost its penultimate pool play match to Bulgaria. The last time the U.S. Men went 3-1 against Russia when they were in the same pool during the 2010 World League. The last time the United States faced Russia was in the fifth-place match at the 2010 World Championships, where Russia won, 25-19, 25-21, 25-19.

Cuba (8-4), which finished second in Pool D, was the runner-up at the 2009 Grand Champions Cup and the 2010 World Championship. During the 2011 World League Intercontinental Round, it lost once to Korea and three times to Italy. The last time the U.S. played Cuba was in the final of the 2009 NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship, where Cuba won, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22.

There are challenges to playing in the most difficult pool of the Final Round, but there are also positives. Perhaps the greatest one for the United States is that it has the chance to play the world’s best teams in a tournament for money shortly before it has to play them in a tournament for Olympic qualification.

The winner of the World League Final Round wins $1 million.

The top three finishers at the 2011 FIVB World Cup, which is Nov. 20-Dec. 4 in Japan, qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

INTERCONTINENTAL ROUND BEST PLAYERS

The United States’ Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) finished as the best server of the Intercontinental Round with 25 aces on 193 attempts and an average of 0.56 aces per set.

Lee placed second among all blockers with 43 blocks on 160 attempts and an average of 0.96 blocks per set. Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) finished eighth among all blockers with 33 blocks on 147 attempts and an average of 0.73 blocks per set.

Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) placed third among all diggers with 132 digs on 214 attempts and an average of 2.93 digs per set. He was also third among all liberos with 278 “excellent” passes for an average of 6.18 per set. Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) placed 10th among all diggers with an average of 1.93 digs per set. Stanley was 11th at 1.83 digs per set.

Priddy was third among all receivers with a 66.82 efficiency percent. Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) was sixth with an efficiency percent of 61.81.

Priddy was the United States’ leading scorer and seventh overall with 188 points on 158 kills, 19 blocks and 11 aces. Stanley was the team’s second-leading scorer and tied for 20th overall with 156 points on 112 kills, 19 blocks and 25 aces.

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

2011 FIVB World League
14-Player Roster for the Final Round in Gdansk, Poland

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)
8 Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Utah, BYU)
10 Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
12 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-7, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
13 Clay Stanley (Opp, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawaii)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
17 Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Manager: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Assistant Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Therapist/Trainer: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

World League Final Round Schedule (All times PT)

Pool F
July 6 at 2 a.m.: Russia vs. USA
July 6 at 4:30 a.m.: Brazil vs. Cuba
July 7 at 2 a.m.: Cuba vs. Russia
July 7 at 4:30 a.m.: USA vs. Brazil
July 8 at 2 a.m.: USA vs. Cuba
July 8 at 4:30 a.m.: Brazil vs. Russia

Pool E
July 6 at 8:15 a.m.: Argentina vs. Italy
July 6 at 11 a.m.: Poland vs. Bulgaria
July 7 at 8:15 a.m.: Bulgaria vs. Argentina
July 7 at 11 a.m.: Italy vs. Poland
July 8 at 8:15 a.m.: Italy vs. Bulgaria
July 8 at 11 a.m.: Poland vs. Argentina

Pool A Standings
Team record (points)
1. Brazil 10-2 (30)
2. USA 8-4 (23)
3. Poland 6-6 (18)
4. Puerto Rico 0-12 (1)

U.S. Schedule and Results

Date: May 27-28
Opponent: Poland
Location: Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland
May 27: Poland def. USA, 25-20, 25-22, 25-19
May 28: USA def. Poland, 25-22, 25-19, 37-35

Date: June 3-4
Opponent: Puerto Rico
Location: Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico
June 3: USA def. Puerto Rico, 24-26, 29-27, 25-17, 25-17
June 4: USA def. Puerto Rico, 25-23, 26-24, 22-25, 25-12

Date: June 11-12
Opponent: Brazil
Location: Mineirinho in Belo Horizonte, Brazil
June 11: Brazil def. USA, 19-25, 25-21, 25-19, 25-21
June 12: USA def. Brazil, 25-21, 25-22, 16-25, 26-24

Date: June 17-18
Opponent: Poland
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
June 17: Poland def. USA, 25-22, 25-19, 25-20
June 18: USA def. Poland, 25-21, 15-25, 25-18, 25-22

Date: June 24-25 (7 p.m. both nights)
Opponent: Brazil
Location: Reynolds Center at the University of Tulsa (Okla.)
June 24: Brazil def. USA, 25-21, 25-20, 21-25, 25-19
June 25: USA def. Brazil, 25-20, 25-23, 22-25, 25-23

Date: July 1-2 (7 p.m. both nights)
Opponent: Puerto Rico
Location: Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.
July 1: USA def. Puerto Rico, 25-27, 25-22, 25-12, 25-27, 15-8
July 2: USA def. Puerto Rico, 25-13, 25-22, 25-19

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