U.S. Men Ready for World Cup Challenge
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 18, 2011) – Twelve teams. Three Olympic slots.
No one said this was going to be easy.
Nevertheless, the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team will get its first opportunity to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games at the 2011 FIVB World Cup on Nov. 20-Dec. 4 in Japan.
It is a grueling tournament with a 12-team tournament field competing in a round-robin format that has each team playing 11 matches over 15 days. Each of the five continental championship winners earned berths into the tournament, along with the four best vice-champions based on world rankings as of Jan. 15. Further, Japan received a spot in the World Cup as the host country, while Poland and Russia were named wild card teams.
The top men’s teams in the world will all be there. Besides the U.S. Men, ranked fourth in the world, the competition includes Brazil (No. 1), Russia (No. 2), Italy (No. 3), Serbia (No. 5), Cuba (No. 6), Poland (No. 8), Argentina (No. 9), China (No. 10), Egypt (No. 12), Iran (No. 14) and Japan (No. 18).
“I think most of the guys who are going went through it four years ago,” U.S. setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) said. “We know how grueling and long it is.”
The tournament is long, but it is still important to get off to a good start. The U.S. Men have finished fourth in the last four FIVB World Cups, just missing an Olympic qualifying slot each time.
In 2007, the U.S. Men opened the tournament with a 3-0 win over world No. 1 Brazil and looked to be in good shape. But it followed with four-set losses to Puerto Rico and Spain. That put the team in a hole it could not escape, despite winning the next seven matches. It came down to the final match between the U.S. and Russia, which Russia won, 3-2.
This year, the U.S. Men qualified for the World Cup thanks to their second-place finish to Cuba at the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship.
They will open against China on Nov. 20 (6 p.m. on Nov. 19, PT) and follow that with Brazil and Russia. While this was not the first round the U.S. Men were hoping for – with two of the top three teams in the world – they will need to be ready
“We feel like the World Cup field is very deep with many teams who can finish in the top three,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “It will be a grind and we look forward to the challenge. Right now I would give the nod to Brazil and Russia based on the recent history of the major tournaments.
“However, the tournament has a really deep pool of teams that can win the tournament and a number of combinations on who can qualify for the Olympic Games.”
With eight 2008 Olympic gold medalists on the roster, all of whom also played in the 2007 FIVB World Cup, the U.S. has plenty of experience to draw from. The other six members of the team have seen significant international action since 2008.
However, following the NORCECA Continental Championship in September, most members of the team traveled to their international clubs to train. They returned to the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif., on Nov. 7 for a week of training before heading to Japan for another week of preparation prior to the tournament.
Outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), a 2008 gold medalist, has returned to the lineup. Priddy was injured while training for the NORCECA Championship when he was hit in the face by a teammate’s elbow while going up for a block. Priddy was off the court, and not working out, for six weeks. When he returned to his Russian team in October, he had to wear a special facemask to protect his left eye and cheek while they continued to heal.
Priddy did not compete at the NORCECA Championship and his role as team captain was taken over by opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii), who will continue as the team captain in Japan. The United States will be looking for leadership from Stanley, the 2008 Olympic Games MVP, both on and off the court. He will be backed up by opposite Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.), who played well in the recent Pan American Games, where a young U.S. team finished fifth.
At setter, the U.S. will have Hansen and also Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.). Thornton proved he could stay with the top teams in the world when he led the U.S. in two defeats of world No. 1 Brazil this summer during the Intercontinental (pool play) Round of the FIVB World League. The U.S. Men advanced to the Final Round and finished seventh overall.
Hansen, a 2008 gold medalist who missed much of World League due to an appendicitis attack and the premature birth of his daughter, was the team’s primary setter during the NORCECA Championship.
“Brian Thornton had a good World League for us while Kevin had appendicitis,” Knipe said. “We have faith in him. Kevin had a good training block before heading to the NORCECA Championship. We have two good setters who have seen significant playing time.”
Besides Priddy at outside hitter, the U.S. will look to Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.), who was the team’s leading scorer at the NORCECA Championship. He finished with 67 points on 57 kills, four blocks and six aces. His hitting efficiency was 0.468 and his kill percent was 52. Backing them up will be 2008 gold medalist Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) and Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.).
The U.S. Men are probably deepest at middle blocker with 2008 gold medalists David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), who was named Best Blocker of the NORCECA Championship, and Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) and also Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.). Lee and Holt were the primary starters at the NORCECA Championship.
Finally, at libero, 2008 gold medalist Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) will be the starter. He has handled the majority of the libero duties at all the U.S. Men’s major international competitions since 2008. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas), another 2008 Olympian, will back up Lambourne. He is in his first year as a libero for the U.S. and started at the London International Invitational this summer.
The U.S. Men enter the 2011 FIVB World Cup with a 20-10 record thus far in the season and ranked fourth in the world.
China (Nov. 19, 6 p.m., PT): The U.S. Men will open the 2011 World Cup in Kagoshima against China, which is ranked 10th in the world and qualified as the runner-up in the Asian zone. The U.S. last faced China in the 2009 FIVB World League and finished with a record of 3-1 against it. The U.S. is 43-12 against China since 1981.
Brazil (Nov. 20, 10 p.m., PT): World No. 1 Brazil, which qualified for the World Cup as the South American zone winner, is the team that the U.S has faced most in 2011. The U.S. Men went 2-2 against the South Americans during the World League Intercontinental Round, and then lost to them in the Final Round. Team USA also lost to Brazil at the Pan American Cup and London International Invitational. It has a 2-5 record against the South Americans this season and 62-74 since 1981.
Russia (Nov. 22, 1:20 a.m., PT): The U.S. Men played Brazil in the Final Round of the 2011 World League and fell, 3-1. They went 1-3 against Russia during the 2010 World League and lost to Russia in the fifth-place match of the 2010 FIVB World Championship. Russia advanced to the World Cup with a wild card after failing to qualify at the European zone championship. The U.S. Men are 56-44 against Russia since 1981.
Egypt (Nov. 23, 6 p.m., PT): Egypt, ranked 12th in the world, advanced to the World Cup as the champion of the African zone. The U.S. defeated Egypt at the 2011 London International Invitational and went 4-0 against the Africans in pool play during the 2010 FIVB World League. The U.S. is 12-0 against Egypt since 1981.
Italy (Nov. 25, 1:20 a.m., PT): Italy, ranked third in the world, was the runner-up in the European zone. The U.S. last faced Italy in an emotional quarterfinal match at the 2010 FIVB World Championship, which Italy won. The U.S. went 3-1 against the Europeans during the Intercontinental Round of the 2010 World League. The U.S. is 23-39 against Italy since 1981.
Iran (Nov. 26, 6 p.m., PT): The U.S. Men have only played Iran once in an official competition since 1981, defeating Iran 3-0 at the 2006 World Championship. Iran, ranked 14th in the world, qualified for the 2011 World Cup as the winner out of the Asia zone championship.
Poland (Nov. 27, 10 p.m., PT): Poland is ranked eighth in the world and made it to the World Cup thanks to an FIVB wild card. The U.S. Men went 2-2 against Poland during the Intercontinental Round of the 2011 World League and have a 33-16 record against Poland since 1981.
Japan (Nov. 29, 1:30 a.m., PT): The U.S. Men have not faced Japan since the 2008 Olympic Games, where the United States won 3-0. Japan, ranked 18th in the world, is playing in the World Cup as the event host. The United States is 136-59 against Japan since 1981.
Argentina (Dec. 2, 1:20 a.m., PT): The U.S. Men defeated Argentina at the Pan American Cup, although both teams were playing some younger athletes. Both teams were at full strength in 2010 when the U.S. defeated the South Americans, 3-1, at the 2010 World Championship. The U.S. Men are 40-8 against Argentina since 1981. Argentina, ranked ninth in the world, qualified as the runner-up out of the South American zone championship.
Cuba (Dec. 3, 1:20 a.m., PT): The U.S. Men are 2-1 against Cuba this season. The United States defeated Cuba, ranked sixth in the world, in the Final Round of the 2011 World League and in pool play of the 2011 NORCECA Championship. Cuba came back to win the final NORCECA championship match, 3-2, which qualified it for the World Cup.
Serbia (Dec. 4, midnight, PT): Serbia, ranked fifth in the world, qualified for the World Cup as the winner of the European zone championship. The U.S. lost to Serbia at the London International Invitational and also fell to the Europeans in the final round of the 2009 World League Final Round. The U.S. is 10-12 against Serbia (previously Serbia and Montenegro) since 1981.
FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup 2011
U.S. Men's Roster
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 Riley Salmon (L, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
12 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
13C Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawaii)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
17 Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Manager: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Trainer: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)
Doctor: Scott Magness and William Stetson
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)
Massage Therapist: Eli Evette
Scout Coach: Frank Ciarelli
Scout Coach: Andy Read
Team (Qualification Method, World Ranking as of Jan 15, 2011, Current World Ranking)
Brazil (South America Champion, 1, 1)
Serbia (Europe Champion, 3, 5)
Cuba (NORCECA Champion, 4, 6)
Egypt (Africa Champion, 13, 12)
Iran (Asia Champion, 19, 14)
USA (NORCECA Runner Up, 5, 4)
Italy (Europe Runner Up, 6, 3)
Argentina (South America Runner Up, 8, 9)
China (Asia Runner Up, 11, 10)
Japan (Hosts, 14, 18)
Russia (Wild Card, 2, 2)
Poland (Wild Card, 10, 8)
Tournament Schedule (All times local except for U.S. matches in bold)
Nagoya (Site A)
Kagoshima (Site B)
Osaka (Site A)
|19||ARG-CUB||24-Nov||11:00||Osaka||Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium|
|20||POL-IRI||24-Nov||15:00||Osaka||Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium|
|21||SRB-JPN||24-Nov||18:20||Osaka||Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium|
|25||IRI-ARG||25-Nov||11:00||Osaka||Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium|
|26||CUB-SRB||25-Nov||15:00||Osaka||Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium|
|27||JPN-POL||25-Nov||18:20||Osaka||Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium|
Kumamoto (Site B)
|22||EGY-USA||24-Nov||11:00||Kumamoto||Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium|
|23||BRA-RUS||24-Nov||15:00||Kumamoto||Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium|
|24||ITA-CHN||24-Nov||18:20||Kumamoto||Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium|
|28||RUS-EGY||25-Nov||11:00||Kumamoto||Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium|
|29||CHN-BRA||25-Nov||15:00||Kumamoto||Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium|
|30||USA-ITA||25-Nov||18:20||Kumamoto||Kumamoto Prefectural Gymnasium|
Fukuoka (Site A)
|31||IRI-USA||27-Nov||11:00||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
|32||POL-CHN||27-Nov||15:00||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
|33||JPN-EGY||27-Nov||18:20||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
|37||IRI-EGY||28-Nov||11:00||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
|38||POL-USA||28-Nov||15:00||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
|39||JPN-CHN||28-Nov||18:20||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
|43||POL-EGY||29-Nov||11:00||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
|44||IRI-CHN||29-Nov||15:00||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
|45||JPN-USA||29-Nov||18:20||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
Hamamatsu (Site B)
Tokyo (Site A)
|49||IRI-BRA||02-Dec||11:00||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
|50||POL-ITA||02-Dec||15:00||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
|51||JPN-RUS||02-Dec||18:20||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
|55||IRI-RUS||03-Dec||11:00||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
|56||POL-BRA||03-Dec||15:00||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
|57||JPN-ITA||03-Dec||18:20||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
|61||POL-RUS||04-Dec||11:00||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
|62||IRI-ITA||04-Dec||15:00||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
|63||JPN-BRA||04-Dec||18:20||Tokyo||Yoyogi National Stadium|
Tokyo (Site B)
|52||SRB-EGY||02-Dec||11:00||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|
|53||CUB-CHN||02-Dec||15:00||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|
|54||ARG-USA||02-Dec||18:20||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|
|58||SRB-CHN||03-Dec||11:00||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|
|59||ARG-EGY||03-Dec||15:00||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|
|60||CUB-USA||03-Dec||18:20||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|
|64||CUB-EGY||04-Dec||11:00||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|
|65||ARG-CHN||04-Dec||14:00||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|
|66||SRB-USA||04-Dec||17:00||Tokyo||Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium|