U.S. Men Hand Bulgaria First World League Loss

June 28, 2013, 11:08 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans, Manager, Communications, Phone: (719) 228-6800, E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org
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DataVolley Statistics - Official Statistics

RENO, Nev. (June 28, 2013)  – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team handed Bulgaria its first loss of the 2013 FIVB World League as it defeated the European side, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21 on Friday at the Reno Events Center.

The teams now have twin records of 4-1 in Pool A. They will play again on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PT at the Reno Events Center. (BUY TICKETS)

Carson Clark (15) attacks against Bulgaria
   Carson Clark attacks against Bulgaria on June 28.

The U.S. blocking, which led Bulgaria 15-4, proved to be a key difference in the match. The teams were tied in spikes (38-38) and Bulgaria led in aces (3-2). Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) led the U.S. in stuff blocks with five while setter Kyle Caldwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) added four.

“I don’t think either team played up to their full capabilities,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.) said. “But we were able to execute in some areas of the game that allowed us to win tonight.”

Outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.), who was named Player of the Match, led the United States in scoring with 15 points on 13 kills (72.2 kill percent, .611 hitting efficiency) and two blocks. Opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) added 11 points on nine spikes (64.3 kill percent, .500 hitting efficiency) and two aces.

Bulgaria’s Tsvetan Sokolov led all scorers with 19 points on 18 attacks and one ace.

“We knew coming into these matches that Bulgaria was going to put up a good fight,” Anderson said. “They served really strong and put a lot of pressure on us. We expect them to come back tomorrow and play even stronger. Therefore we need to pick up our game.”

Bulgarian coach Camillo Placi agreed that Bulgaria would come back stronger on Saturday.

“I believe that our team tomorrow will play our game,” Placi said. “We will have another day to recover from jet lag. I believe that tomorrow our level will be higher.”

Among other U.S. scorers, outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) totaled nine points on seven kills and two blocks. Holt finished with eight points with three kills to go with his five blocks. Caldwell finished with seven points on three kills and four blocks.

Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) added four points on two kills, two blocks. Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), who played as a substitute in the third set, scored one point with an attack.

Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) was credited with six digs and 11 excellent receptions. Clark was also credited with six dig and Lotman had eight excellent receptions. Caldwell was credited with 11 running sets and one fault and set the team to 57.6 kill percent and .470 hitting efficiency.

The U.S. opened up a 5-0 lead to open the first set behind the serving of Smith and led 8-3 at the first technical timeout (TTO). With the U.S. leading 13-8, it scored two straight points on a Caldwell dump and block to lead 15-8. Team USA led 18-12 when Viktor Yosifov scored on two straight aces to pull to within four and the U.S. called timeout. Yosifov’s next serve went out of bounds. The United States reached set point at 24-19 and Valentin Bratoev served into the net to give Team USA the set win.

Bulgaria seemed to find new life to open the second set and took an 8-4 lead at the first TTO, getting three points on kills by Sokolov. However the U.S. came out of the break and scored four straight points, including a kill and ace from Clark, and tied the score at 8-8. The teams battled back and forth until the score was tied 12-12 and Team USA scored on a Holt block and Clark kill to lead 14-12. With Team USA leading 19-18, Holt scored with a kill and block to put the North American side up by three and Bulgaria called timeout. The United States reached set point at 24-20. The European side held off the loss with kills from Sokolov and Yosifov and the U.S. called timeout. Sokolov’s next serve attempt went long to give the U.S. the victory.

The score was tied 6-6 in the third set when the U.S. scored on Bulgaria’s service error and Smith’s kill off Bulgaria’s block to lead 8-6 at the first TTO. Coming out of the break, Bulgaria scored four straight points behind the serving of Bratoev, who had an ace on the run a Bulgaria took a 10-8 lead. With Bulgaria leading 13-10, Team USA scored on two Anderson spikes and Bulgaria’s hitting error to tie the score at 13-13 and Bulgaria called timeout. Bulgaria came back to lead 16-14 at the second TTO. The U.S. came back to tie the score at 19-19 and reached match point first at 24-21. Clark scored the final point on a kill off the block.

For additional information on the U.S. Men's Volleyball National Team in FIVB World League action, click here. To view the FIVB World League home page, click here.

2013 U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team

12-Man Roster for FIVB World League on June 28-29 in Reno, Nev.
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 - Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
8 - Kyle Caldwell (S, 6-9, Newport Beach, Calif., UCLA) 
9 - Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
15 - Carson Clark (Opp, 6-8, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
16 - Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
17 - Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
20 - David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
22 - Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Team Manager: Anton Willert (Berlin, Germany)
Assistant Coach: Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Andrea Becker (Martinez, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Art Garcia (Lakewood, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Aric Anderson (Lakewood, Calif.)
Physiotherapist/Athletic trainer: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)
Doctor: Sherwin Ho (Chicago, Ill.)

2013 U.S. Men’s World League Schedule
June 7: Argentina def. USA, 25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 26-24
June 8: USA def. Argentina, 22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-16
June 14: USA def. France, 25-15, 29-27, 25-16
June 15: USA def. France, 22-25, 25-22, 24-26, 30-28, 15-9
June 28: USA def. Bulgaria, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21
June 29: Bulgaria at USA, Reno Events Center in Reno, Nev. (7:30 p.m. PT) BUY TICKETS
July 5: USA at Poland, Spodek in Katowice, Poland
July 7: USA at Poland, Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, Poland
July 13-14: USA at Brazil, Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro