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U.S. Men's Update: Reft Retires to Colder Climes

March 04, 2011, 5:38 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 3, 2011) – U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team libero Alfee Reft has officially retired as a player and will be a new assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team at the University of Minnesota.

Reft (Oxnard, Calif.) will join former U.S. Men’s and current U.S. Women’s Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) when he becomes the women’s head coach at Minnesota following the 2012 Olympic Games, on Sept. 1, 2012.

Reft joined the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2006 after two years playing at the University of Hawaii (Reft transferred from UC Santa Barbara).

He was the starting libero for the 2008 team that won the gold medal at the Pan American Cup and was the alternate libero for the 2008 Olympic Team that won the gold medal in Beijing. He continued to serve as the backup libero for the U.S. Men in 2009-10.

"Alfee was a great volleyball player, but he's a better volleyball coach," McCutcheon said in a release put out by the University of Minnesota. "I could not be happier with his decision to join the Gopher Volleyball coaching staff. The knowledge and experience he brings will be invaluable."

Reft was an assistant coach for the 18-1s and head coach for the 13-2s Laguna Beach Volleyball Club teams in 2009 and 2010. He was also a coach with the TCA Club Volleyball program from 2006 to 2009.

GREECE

U.S. outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Olympiacos will face Iraklis, including U.S. opposite Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and outside hitter Ryan Owens (Evanston, Ill.), in the final of the Greek Cup on March 19.

Olympiacos advanced by defeating Panathinaikos in a March 2 semifinal, 3-2 (20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 17-25, 19-17). Jablonsky scored five points on three kills and two blocks for Olympiacos.

On March 3, Iraklis defeated U.S. setter Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif.) and PAOK in the other semifinal, 27-25, 25-16, 25-22. Billings led all scorers with 18 points and Owens added 13. Winder had two points for PAOK. The match, which was at PAOK’s gym, had to be stopped several times due to unruly fans throwing objects on the floor.

To read Brook Billings’ blog about the match, click here.

Meanwhile, PAOK won its fifth Greek league match in a row on Feb. 26 with a 3-1 (25-20, 16-25, 25-22, 25-14) defeat of Panellinios Athens. Winder scored two points while U.S. outside hitter Kris Berzins (Brinklow, Md.) scored five points on five kills for Panellinios.

Iraklis defeated Aris Thessaloniki, 3-2 (25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 15-13) on Jan. 26. Owens led all scorers with 21 points on 13 kills, seven aces and one block. Billings added 14 points on 11 kills and three blocks.

Olympiacos defeated Apollon Kalamarias, 3-1 (25-18, 25-22, 19-25, 25-22) on Feb. 26. Jablonsky played as a substitute.

U.S. opposite Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.) and GS Lamia fell to Panathinaikos on Feb. 25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-23. Price scored 11 points on 11 kills.

In the league standings, Iraklis is in second behind Panathinaikos. Olympiacos is third, PAOK is fourth and GS Lamia is sixth.

ITALY

U.S. outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) was named the Most Valuable Player as his Italian Serie A league team Tonno Callipo Vibo Valentia defeated Yoga Forlì, 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 24-26, 16-14) on Feb. 27.

Anderson led his team with 25 points on 24 kills (0.59 hitting percentage) and one block. He was also credited with 28 receptions, 61 percent positive and 46 percent excellent.

In a match between two teams with U.S. Men’s National Team players, U.S. outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) and his team Acqua Paradiso Monza Brianza defeated Marmi Lanza Verona, including U.S. middle blocker Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) and outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), 3-1 (22-25, 25-19, 26-24, 25-18) on Feb. 27.

Rooney finished with eight points on six kills, one block and one ace. He was also credited with 15 receptions, 80 percent positive and 60 percent excellent. Lotman scored nine points on eight kills and one block. He was credited with 21 receptions, 62 percent positive and 33 percent excellent. Brunner added six points on five kills and one block.

U.S. middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and his Italian team Copra Morpho Piacenza fell to Bcc-Nep Castellana Grotte, 3-1 (27-29, 25-22, 25-14, 25-20) on Feb. 27.

Holt scored 10 points on six kills (0.75 hitting percentage), two blocks and two aces.

U.S. opposite Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) and his Italian Serie A2 league team Sir Safety Perugia swept Globo Banca Popolare Del Frusinate Sora, 25-21, 28-26, 25-20 on Feb. 27. Gardner started the first two sets and finished with five points on three kills and two blocks.

CEV CUP UPDATE

Zenit Kazan, the Russian Super League team of U.S. setter Lloy Ball (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), won its first CEV Champions League playoff match of the six-team round against Poland’s Skra Belchatow, 3-2 (17-25, 29-27, 21-25, 25-17, 15-8) on March 2 in Poland.

Priddy was credited with nine kills (0.53 hitting percentage) and four blocks. Ball was credited with one kill and set the team to a 0.49 hitting percentage.

To view photos from the match, click here.

To read a translation of a Polish interview with Ball, click here.

The two teams will play again in Kazan on March 9 with the winner moving on to play Italy’s Trentino BetClic in the semifinals. Matches can be viewed at www.laola1.tv.

U.S. middle blocker Ryan Millar and his Polish league team Asseco Resovia Rzeszów are out of the CEV Cup tournament after losing a second semifinal match to Italy’s Sisley Treviso, 3-1 (26-28, 25-21, 25-21, 26-24) on Feb. 26.

To view photos from the match, click here.  

KOREA

U.S. opposite Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) led his Korean league team Korean Air to a sweep of Sangmu, 25-19, 25-17, 25-19 on Feb. 26. Patak led all scorers with 17 points on 14 kills, two aces and two blocks.

On March 1, KAL followed that up with a 25-19, 25-20, 25-23 sweep of Woori. Patak scored 16 points on 14 kills and two blocks.

SPAIN

Unicaja Almeria, the Spanish league team of U.S. middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and outside hitter Riley Salmon (League City, Texas), swept CV 7 Islas Vecindario, 25-21, 25-15, 25-22 on Feb. 26.

Smith started the first two sets and substituted in the third, scoring seven points on four kills and three blocks. Salmon substituted in the second set and started the third, scoring three points on two kills and one ace.

FRANCE

U.S. setter Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) and outside hitter Eric Vance (Camarillo, Calif.) and their French B league team Chaumont suffered a 25-17, 28-26, 25-20 loss to Martigues on Feb. 26.

Vance started the first two sets and scored three points. Thornton started all three sets and did not score but set the team to a 0.47 kill percentage.

ROMANIA

U.S. National Team setter Tyler Hildebrand (Mesa, Ariz.) is playing for CVM Tomis Constanta, which is in third place in the Romanian league.

U.S. setter Chris Seiffert (Laguna Niguel, Calif.) is playing for Remat Zalau, which leads the league.

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