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Mar 07 Poland Matches will be Key for U.S. Men

June 15, 2011, 9:31 p.m. (ET)

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

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (June 15, 2011) – With six FIVB Volleyball World League matches down and six to go, the U.S. Men’s National Team is in Hoffman Estates, Ill., for its most important matches of the tournament so far on June 17-18 against Poland at the Sears Centre Arena.

The U.S. Men sit in second place at 4-2 in Pool A while Brazil leads the group at 5-1 with Poland third at 3-3. To make it to the World League Final Round on July 6-10 in Poland, the United States must finish ahead of Poland, which, as the host country, gets an automatic bid to the Final Round.

The U.S. went 1-1 against Poland in their first two World League matches, played on May 27-28 in Lodz, Poland. Although he was happy the United States came back to win the second match, U.S. Men’s Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was frustrated with his team’s loss in the first match.

“We’ve got to do a better job in our first match in World League,” he said. “It took a while to get back into team competition mode. We did some good things the first night, but we weren’t able to sustain them.”

Since that first match in Poland, Knipe has been happy with his team’s progress, particularly a victory over Brazil on June 12 that was the South American country’s first 2011 World League loss.

But he suspects that Poland will also be an improved team and will attract a large Polish crowd from nearby Chicago.

“They’ve had a nice first half and gotten some good wins,” Knipe said of Poland. “They know they’re hosting. They are working toward the Final Round. I expect them to play better.”

Poland is being led by Bartosz Kurek, who leads all World League scorers with 104 points on 84 kills, 15 blocks and five aces. Zbigniew Barton is second with 82 points on 72 kills, nine blocks and one ace. Marcin Mozdzonek is third among all blockers with 18 blocks (14 faults) on 57 attempts and an average of 0.95 blocks per set.

Poland libero Krzysztof Ignaczak leads all World League diggers with 73 digs (27 faults) on 114 attempts and an average of 3.84 digs per set.

Since those first two matches in Poland, the biggest change for the United States has come at setter. Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) was brought in during the second set of the first U.S. match against Puerto Rico and has started in the position ever since, ahead of Olympians Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) and Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.).

“He’s setting with a lot of confidence right now,” Knipe said. “He’s setting with good location. He is the product of some good opportunity with Donny continuing to make strides (coming back from a 2010 knee injury) and Kevin coming back from an emergency appendectomy and the birth of his daughter.”

The trip to Hoffman Estates will also see the return of outside hitter Sean Rooney to the team. Rooney grew up in nearby Wheaton.

Among the best players in the FIVB World League so far, Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) is the top libero. Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) is second among servers with 12 aces (20 faults) on 95 attempts and an average of 0.55 aces per set.

Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) is the United States’ leading scorer and fifth overall with 82 kills, nine blocks and six aces for a total of 97 points. Priddy’s overall kill percent is 49.4 putting him ninth among all World League spikers.

David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) is fifth among all blockers with 20 blocks (36 faults) on 86 attempts and an average of 0.91 blocks per set. Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) is seventh among all blockers with 19 blocks (28 faults) on 93 attempts and an average of 0.86 blocks per set.

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

TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE

Tickets to see the U.S. Men play Poland at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates are available at the Sears Centre Arena Box Office (5333 Prairie Stone Parkway), online at SearsCentre.com or by calling (888) SEARSTIX (732-7784).

Tickets to see the U.S. Men take on world No. 1 Brazil in Tulsa at the Reynolds Center at the University of Tulsa are available online at TulsaHurricane.com. Tickets are available at the box office (800 South Tucker Drive) by calling (918) 631-4688 or in person (office hours 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday-Friday).

Tickets to see the U.S. Men play Puerto Rico on July 1-2 (7 p.m. PT both nights) at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach can be purchased by visiting the Long Beach State athletics web site, by calling the ticket office at (562) 985-4949 or by visiting the box office (open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. starting June 6; the address is 1250 Bellflower Blvd.).

For more information, visit the USA Volleyball World League web site.

2011 FIVB World League
14-Player Roster for June 17-18 in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
(12-player rosters for each match are announced shortly prior)

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 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)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Leader: John Hawks (Huntington Beach, Calf.)
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Medical Doctor: Michael Terry (Burr Ridge, Ill.)
Trainer: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

Pool A Standings
Team record (points)
1. Brazil 5-1 (15)
3. USA 4-2 (12)
2. Poland 3-3 (9)
4. Puerto Rico 0-6 (0)

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 (7 p.m. both nights)
Opponent: Poland
Location: 
Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. - BUY TICKETS

Date: June 24-25 (7 p.m. both nights)
Opponent: Brazil
Location: 
Reynolds Center at the University of Tulsa (Okla.)  - BUY TICKETS

Date: July 1-2 (7 p.m. both nights)
Opponent: Puerto Rico
Location: Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. - BUY TICKETS

Date: July 6-10
Opponent: Teams must qualify
Location: Gdansk-Sopot, Poland

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