U.S. Men Sweep Italy for World League Win
David Smith blocks against Italy during their World League match on June 15 in Lyon, France.
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Phone: (719) 228-6800
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 15, 2012) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team returned to FIVB World League action on Friday with a 30-28, 28-26, 25-22 victory over Italy in Lyon, France.
After a four-week competition break, the U.S. Men evened their World League record at 2-2. Italy suffered its first World League loss and now has a record of 3-1. The U.S. will play Korea on Saturday (June 16) at 8 a.m. PT and host France on Sunday (June 17) at 9 a.m. PT.
The last time the two teams played, on May 20 in Florence, Italy swept the U.S. Men. However both teams made some lineup changes on Friday as Italy went with a young lineup, save for team captain Simone Buti.
In fact, both teams were without their head coaches. On the U.S. side, John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.) took over for Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.), who is dealing with a family issue. Paolo Montagnani took over for Italy’s Mauro Berruto.
"We didn’t have a lot of information about this young Italian team,” U.S. team captain Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) said. “In the first set maybe we start too slow, but we were very focused, point after point."
The U.S. took advantage of 26 Italy errors, including 11 service errors, while committing only 15, including just one service error. Italy led in attacks, 47-42 and aces, 8-5. The U.S. Men led in blocks 10-6.
The U.S. Men came back from a seven-point deficit to win the first set. In the second and third sets they kept the score close and pulled out the victories at the end.
"The future of Italian volleyball will be good,” Speraw said. “Early in the first set we had some trouble but we stayed focused. Our objective is to continue to improve. We need to play."
U.S. outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led his team with 17 points on 13 attacks (59.1 kill percent, .545 hitting efficiency) , two blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) added 13 points on 10 kills (47.6 kill percent, .333 hitting efficiency) and three blocks. Middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) contributed 11 points on nine kills (75.0 kill percent, .750 hitting efficiency) and two blocks.
Giulio Sabbi paced Italy with 17 points on a match-high 15 attacks and two aces. Jiri Kovar and Buti each added 11.
Among other U.S. scorers, Stanley scored seven points on five attacks and two aces. Middle blocker Dave Smith (Saugus, Calif.) added seven points on four kills and three blocks.
Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) scored a point on an ace. Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania), scored a point with a kill.
Suxho was credited with 27 assists. He set the team to a 47.2 kill percent and a .360 hitting efficiency. Italy had a 46.1 kill percent and a .235 hitting efficiency.
U.S. libero Rich Lambourne led the team in digs with 12 and added 11 excellent receptions. Anderson led the team in excellent receptions with 13. Rooney also had 11.
Speraw started Anderson and Rooney at outside hitter, Holmes and Smith at middle blocker, Stanley at opposite, Suxho at setter and Lambourne at libero. Lotman played as a substitute along with opposite Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) and middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah).
Italy took an 8-4 lead in the first set, scoring on five attacks and an ace along with two U.S. errors. The U.S. got kills from Holmes and Anderson. Italy got four straight points off the serve of Simone Buti to go from a 7-4 lead to 11-4, including two aces. Anderson got a kill to end the run, but the U.S. struggled to get more than one point in a row and Italy led 16-10 at the second technical timeout (TTO). With Italy leading 20-13, Stanley scored on a kill and Italy hit the next ball out and Anderson followed with an ace. Italy called timeout, but the U.S. scored three more points, including a Smith kill and Rooney block, to pull to within one at 20-19. Italy scored with a kill, but the U.S. got the serve back with an attack followed by a Stanley kill and Rooney block to take its first lead at 22-21. The U.S. reached set point first at 24-23 on a Stanley ace. But Italy held it off with an attack. The U.S. would reach set point four more times. At 28-28, Rooney scored on a block and followed it with a roll shot that Italy couldn’t return to give the U.S. the 30-28 set victory.
Italy jumped out to a 4-1 lead in the second set but the U.S. fought back, getting three straight points on a kill and block by Holmes and a Rooney attack to lead 5-4. Three straight Italy errors gave the U.S. an 8-5 lead at the first TTO. Italy tied the score at 10-10 and the teams battled back and forth. With Italy leading 13-12, it served in the net and Stanley took the serve. The U.S. scored on two straight quick kills by Holmes to lead 15-13. Italy called timeout, but Stanley responded with an ace to give the U.S. Men the 16-13 lead at the second TTO. Italy tied the score at 16-16. The U.S. Men came back with a Rooney kill and Holmes block to lead 18-16. Team USA still led by two at 23-21 when Italy scored on a U.S. hitting error and kill by De Togni to tie the score. The U.S. Men came back with a kill to reach set point. Italy fought it off with a De Togni kill. The U.S. reached set point two more times as Italy fought it off. The U.S. took a 27-26 lead on a block by Smith and Anderson finished it with an ace.
Italy took an 8-7 lead at the first TTO of the third set while the U.S. led 16-15 at the second TTO. Leading 17-16, the U.S. got three straight blocks from Suxho, Anderson and Smith to increase the lead to four. Italy pulled to within one point at 21-20, but the U.S. held it off for the 25-22 victory.
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
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)
11. 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)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
Assistant Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Team Manager: Rob Browning (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Mike Sealy (Santa Monica, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)
U.S. World League Schedule/Results
(All times PT unless noted)
In Florence, Italy
May 18: France def. USA, 17-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-17
May 18: Italy def. Korea, 24-26, 27-25, 21-25, 29-27, 18-16
May 19: USA def. Korea, 20-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 17-15
May 19: Italy def. France, 20-25, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22
May 20: France def. Korea, 25-18, 24-26, 25-20, 21-25, 15-11
May 20: Italy def. USA, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16
In Lyon, France
June 15: France def. Korea, 21-25, 25-15, 31-29, 25-16
June 15: USA def. Italy, 30-28, 28-26, 25-22
June 16 at 8 a.m. USA vs. Korea
June 17 at 9 a.m. USA vs. France
In Gwangju, Korea
June 22 at 12:30 a.m. USA vs. Italy
June 23 at 12:30 a.m. USA vs. France
June 24 at 12:30 a.m. USA vs. Korea
In Dallas, Texas – BUY TICKETS
June 29 at 7:30 p.m. CT: USA vs. Korea
June 30 at 7:30 p.m. CT: USA vs. France
July 1 at 7:30 p.m. CT: USA vs. Italy