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U.S. Men Open 2011 World League in Poland

May 24, 2011, 11:03 p.m. (ET)

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

For the U.S. Men's 2011 World League Media Guide, click here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 24, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team begins its 2011 FIVB World League quest this weekend (May 27-28) when it will play two matches against Poland in Lodz to open the Continental (pool play) Round.

The U.S. Men, ranked fifth in the world, will play Poland, ranked 10th, at 8:30 p.m. local time (11:30 a.m. PT) on Friday, May 27 at Atlas Arena and again on Saturday, May 28 at 5 p.m. local time (8 a.m. PT).

The last time the two teams played was during the final round of the 2008 World League with the United States picking up a 3-2 (25-18, 23-25, 27-25, 18-25, 16-14) victory. The U.S. Men went on to win World League and the Olympic Games that year.

But Poland will have a much different team in Lodz, said veteran U.S. middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) who played over the winter for Asseco Resovia Rzeszów in Poland’s Plusliga.

“They’re kind of a newer team. A lot of their older guys aren’t playing in World League this summer,” Millar said. “They’re trying out some new guys and they’ve got a new coach so it’s going to be interesting to see what they throw at us.”

Poland’s coach is Andrea Anastasi, who was coaching Italy when it was in the United States’ World League pool in 2009.

The U.S. Men have a record of 31-14 against Poland since 1981. Since 2000, the United States is 6-5 against Poland, including a 0-4 record when the United States hosted Poland in the 2006 FIVB World League.

“Our goal this year is to improve with every set and every match on every weekend,” U.S. Men’s Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “If we do that, we can make it to the final round.”

The U.S. Men finished the 2010 World League with an 8-4 record, including three losses to Russia, which won the pool. They finished second in the pool, but did not make it to the final round and placed eighth overall. The United States won its only World League title in 2008. It has also finished third twice, in 1992 and 2007.

In 2010, Poland finished third in its pool to Cuba and Germany with a 6-6 record and placed 10th overall. It has never won a World League medal.

Like Poland, the U.S. Men’s Team’s roster for Poland will also have as slightly different look as World League rookie Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) will be backing up Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) at setter after Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) had to have an appendectomy last week. Thornton was a member of the 2010 Pan American Cup team that won the gold medal in Puerto Rico.

Suxho is coming back from a torn meniscus in his knee that he suffered during the 2010 World League. The injury kept him from playing in the 2010 FIVB World Championship, where the U.S. Men finished sixth. Poland tied for 13th at the World Championships.

Outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) is also on the World League traveling roster for Poland after not traveling in 2010. Jablonsky was named the MVP of the 2010 Pan American Cup.

Opposite Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) is playing with the U.S. Men’s Team for the first time since winning the Olympic gold medal with the team in 2008. Since 2008, he had played during the winters for club teams in Russia and Italy.

The team has a strong contingent of players returning from the 2010 FIVB World League traveling roster. Opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii), the 2008 Olympic Games MVP was the team’s leading scorer in 2010 (3.82 points per set, including 2.89 kills per set and 0.50 aces per set).

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) the team’s leading blocker in 2010 (0.73 blocks per set) will be joined at that position by Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah), Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio).

Leading the outside hitters will be Team Captain Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), the team’s third-leading scorer in 2010 (3.83 points per set). He will be joined by Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) and Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.).

Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.), considered one of the top players in the world at his position, rounds out the list.

Following their two matches in Poland, the U.S. Men’s Team will travel straight to San Juan, Puerto Rico for two matches on June 3-4.

Television Schedule Announced

The U.S. television broadcast schedule for the 2011 FIVB World League has been released.

Universal Sports (All times ET)
USA at Poland
June 8: 6:30 p.m.
June 9: 6:30 p.m.

USA at Puerto Rico
June 15: 6:30 p.m.
June 16: 6:30 p.m.

USA at Brazil
June 22: 6:30 p.m.
June 23: 6:30 p.m.

Versus (All times ET)
USA vs. Poland at Hoffman Estates, Ill.
June 25: 3:30 p.m.
June 26: 3:30 p.m.

USA vs. Brazil at Tulsa, Okla.
July 1: 5:30 p.m.
July 2: 5:30 p.m.

USA vs. Puerto Rico at Long Beach, Calif.
July 7: 5:30 p.m.
July 8: 5:30 p.m.

World League Finals in Poland
July 16: 5:30 p.m.

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
May 27-28 in Lodz, Poland

(Team must select 12 players from the 14-man roster to compete in each match)

No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
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, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
13 Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawaii)
15 Gabe Gardner (Opp, 6-8, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
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 Leader: Rob Browning (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Medical Doctor: Stephen Daquino (San Diego, Calif.)
Trainer: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

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