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Mar 07 U.S. Men's Update: Drinking from the Greek Cup

March 24, 2011, 1:21 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 23, 2011) – It’s another week of updates on U.S. Men’s National and A2 Team players competing around the world.

GREECE

Outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Olympiacos won the Greek Cup on March 20 with a 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 25-12 victory over Iraklis, including U.S. opposite Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and outside hitter Ryan Owens (Evanston, Ill.).

Jablonsky scored one point with a block. Owens had 14 points on 13 kills and one ace. Billings scored 12 points on 12 kills.

According to SportinGreece.com: The final at the city (Orestiada) that historically has a great affection for volleyball was marred by clashes between fans of the two finalists at the city centre and outside the court. Reports suggested police made a number of arrests.

In Hellenic league play on March 23, Iraklis secured its hold on first place in the league with a 25-20, 25-22, 29-27 defeat of Panathinaikos. Billings led all scorers with 19 points on 15 kills (0.48 hitting percentage), three blocks and one ace. Owens added 15 points on 12 kills (0.63 hitting percentage), one block and two aces. Owens was also credited with 21 receptions, 48 percent positive and 19 percent excellent.

Owens was named a most valuable player at outside hitter for the weekend.

Panathinaikos fell to fourth place in the league behind second-place PAOK and third-place Olympiacos.

U.S. setter Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif.) and PAOK won their eighth straight Hellenic league match on March 23 with a 25-18, 25-15, 25-17 victory over Ethnikos Alexandroupolis. Winder scored five points on three kills and two blocks and set the team to a 0.48 hitting percentage.

Olympiacos defeated ESOP Epikouros, 25-22, 29-31, 25-15, 25-22 on March 23. Jablonsky started the first, second and fourth sets and scored eight points on seven kills and one block. He was credited with 22 receptions, 64 percent positive and 32 percent excellent.

Led by U.S. opposite Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.) who had 31 points, GS Lamia defeated EA Patron Lux, 25-20, 23-25, 25-18, 25-21 on March 23. Price led all scorers, connecting on 23 kills (0.43 hitting percentage), three blocks and five aces.

Price was named the league’s most valuable player for the weekend. Lamia is in sixth place in the league.

RUSSIA

The Russian Super League completed its regular season last week. Each team played two final matches.

Zenit Kazan, the Russian Super League team of U.S. setter Lloy Ball (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), lost its final two matches and finished the regular season in second place.

On March 19, Iskra Odintsovo defeated Kazan, 25-15, 25-27, 25-22, 19-25, 15-12. Odintsovo went on to win the regular season league title. Priddy started the final four sets and scored 16 points on 14 kills (0.50 hitting percentage), one block and one ace. Ball started the first three sets and substituted in the fourth. He scored one point on a block and helped set the team to a 0.34 hitting percentage.

To view photos from the match, click here.

Neither Ball nor Priddy was on the roster for Kazan’s final regular season match against U.S. middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and his team Kuzbass Kemerovo, which Kemerovo won 25-14, 24-26, 25-12, 25-22. Lee was on Kemerovo’s roster, but did not play.

U.S. setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Fakel Novy Urengoi won their last two matches of the season and finished in fourth place.

On March 19, Hansen helped Novy Urengoi come back from two sets down to beat Ural Ufa, the Russian team of U.S. opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii), 23-25, 15-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-13.

Hansen entered the game in the second set as a substitute and started the last three sets. He scored five points on one kill and four blocks and helped set the team to a 0.37 hitting percentage. Stanley led all scorers with 25 points on 22 kills (0.43 hitting percentage), one block and two aces.

To view photos from the match, click here.

On March 22, Novy Urengoi won its final regular season match against Dynamo-Yantar Kaliningrad, 25-22, 25-19, 25-15. Hansen started the first set but did not score.

Stanley and Ufa lost their final match of the regular season to Dynamo Krasnodar, 25-19, 25-16, 25-22. Stanley led all scorers with 14 points on 12 kills (0.38 hitting percentage) and two blocks.

To view photos from the match, click here.

Ufa finished the regular season in 10th place. Lee and Kemerovo finished in 11th.

U.S. middle blocker Andy Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) got some playing time with Yaroslavich Yaroslavl during its 25-11, 25-14, 23-25, 25-21 victory over Lokomotiv Belogorie on March 22. Hein started the third set and scored two points on two blocks.

The Super League playoffs will begin March 30 with the top eight teams competing in best-of-five series. Kazan will face Yaroslavl and Novy Urengoi will play Dynamo Moscow.

Prior to the playoffs, Kazan will compete in the CEV Champions Cup semifinals. Kazan will play its Russian Super League foe Dynamo Moscow in the first match on March 26. Poland’s Jastrzebeski Wegiel will play Italy’s Trentino BetClic in the other semifinal. The medal matches will be played on March 27.

The Champions League matches will be streamed live at laola1.tv.

To read an interview with Lloy Ball about the Champions League, click here.

BRAZIL

U.S. middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) scored 14 points on seven kills, six blocks and one ace as his Brazilian Superleague team Vivo/Minas won its first match of the quarterfinal playoff series against BMG Montes Claros, 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-20.

The two teams will play again on March 24 in the best-of-three series that will send the winner to the league semifinals. Vivo/Minas finished the regular season in fifth place in the league.

POLAND

In the playoff for first-sixth place in the Polish league, U.S. middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) and his Polish league team Asseco Resovia Rzeszów fell to league-leader PGE Skra Bełchatów, 19-25, 27-25, 16-25, 25-16, 15-13 on March 19.

Millar scored eight points on seven kills and one block.

Asseco Resovia Rzeszów came back on March 23 to beat Delecta Bydgoszcz, 25-15, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19. Millar did not play in the match.

In the battle for seventh-10th place in the Polish league, Fart Kielce, including U.S. libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) fell to Indykpol AZS UWM Olsztyn, 14-25, 25-21, 26-24, 22-25, 15-11.

Lambourne was credited with 20 receptions, 40 percent positive and 30 percent excellent.

ITALY

U.S. outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and his Italian Serie A league team Tonno Callipo Vibo Valentia swept U.S. middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and his Italian team Copra Morpho Piacenza, 25-23, 28-26, 25-17 on March 20.

Anderson and Holt were teammates on the Penn State men’s volleyball team that won the 2008 NCAA Men’s National Championship.

Anderson finished the match with 11 points on nine kills (0.41 hitting percentage) and two blocks. He was credited with 23 receptions, 69 percent positive and 30 percent excellent. Holt scored eight points on three kills, three blocks and two aces.

U.S. outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) led his team with 18 points, but Acqua Paradiso Monza Brianza fell to RPA-LuigiBacchi.It San Giustino, 21-15, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 on March 20. Rooney scored on 16 kills (0.56 hitting percentage), one block and one ace. He was also credited with 24 receptions, 54 percent positive and 38 percent excellent.

Marmi Lanza Verona, including U.S. middle blocker Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.), fell to Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo, 25-22, 25-19, 25-17 on March 20. Brunner scored eight points on eight kills (0.57 hitting percentage)

U.S. outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) was not with the team for personal reasons.

U.S. opposite Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) and his Italian Serie A2 league team Sir Safety Perugia fell to Phyto Performance Padova, 25-19, 26-24, 25-19 on March 20. Gardner led his team with 13 points on 13 kills.

GERMANY

U.S. outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) and his German league team SCC Berlin swept VC Gotha, 28-26, 25-12, 25-21 on March 19.

Touzinsky scored 10 points on eight kills, one block and one ace.

To view photos from SCC Berlin’s March 16 match, click here.

SPAIN

Unicaja Almeria, the Spanish league team of U.S. middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and outside hitter Riley Salmon (League City, Texas), finished the regular season in first place in the league, despite losing to second-place CAI Voleibol Teruel, 25-19, 25-17, 26-24 on March 19.

Salmon started all three sets and scored nine points on nine kills (0.50 hitting percentage). He was credited with 14 receptions, 50 percent positive and 29 percent excellent. Smith scored four points on two kills and two blocks.

The Spanish league will hold its Spanish Cup tournament on March 23-26, which will be followed by the league playoffs starting April 2.

FRANCE

U.S. setter Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) and outside hitter Eric Vance (Camarillo, Calif.) and their French B league team Chaumont fell to Alès, 28-26, 25-21, 25-18 on March 18.

Vance scored five points. Thornton had two points on one block and one ace. He set the team to a 0.53 kill percentage.

Nils Nielsen (Fallbrook, Calif.) and his French A league team Tours defeated Nantes Rezé, 25-20, 25-22, 29-23 on March 19.

Nielsen started the first set and scored two points.

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