CHICAGO, Ill. (June 10, 2014) – It will be a battle of unbeaten teams this weekend in Chicago when the U.S. Men’s National Team will play Serbia in two FIVB World League matches at the Pavilion at the University of Illinois – Chicago.
|The U.S. Men celebrate during a match against Russia.|
Both Team USA and Serbia go into Friday and Saturday’s matches (7 p.m. CT each night) at 4-0. Serbia leads FIVB World League Pool B thanks to its better points ratio.
“That’s always fun when you have a match between two teams at the top of the pool,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “(Serbia) is an exceptional volleyball team. They play the game very well. They control the ball very well. They have a really high-level service game.
“It will present for us another really unique challenge.”
For U.S. Team Captain and Olympic gold medalist Sean Rooney, a native of Wheaton, Ill., the matches this weekend and next weekend against Bulgaria in Hoffman Estates, Ill., mean playing in front of friends and family.
“It’s a dream summer for me,” Rooney said. “You can’t even put pressure on me because it’s just too special to feel pressure from fans and family having the opportunity to see you play.”
Team USA has not played Serbia since the first match of the 2012 Olympic Games, where the U.S. won 3-0. The United States is 11-13 against Serbia (or Serbia & Montenegro) since 1980.
U.S. opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) is leading the U.S. Men and is second among all players in Group I in scoring with 93 points on 83 kills, five blocks and five aces.
Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) is second on the team and tied for ninth in Group I with 65 points on 52 kills, seven blocks and six aces. U.S. receiver Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) leads all Group I receivers with an efficiency percentage of 62.5. Setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu) is fourth among all Group I setters with an average of 5.94 running sets per set.
Serbia’s scoring is led by Aleksandar Atanasijevic who has 69 points on 58 attacks, five blocks and six aces. He is tied for seventh in Group I. Uros Kovacevic is second on the team and tied for 18th overall with 46 points on 38 kills, three blocks and five aces.
Kovacevic leads all spikers in Group I with a success percentage of 52.78. Marko Podrascanin is third among all Group I blockers with an average of .76 blocks per set.
U.S. Men’s Roster for World League Matches in Chicago, Ill.
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Sean Rooney (OH, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
6. Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
U.S. Men's Schedule for the 2014 FIVB World League
May 24: USA def Bulgaria, 19-25, 22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 15-12
May 25: USA def Bulgaria, 19-25, 25-22, 27-25, 25-17
June 6: USA def Russia, 25-17, 27-25, 20-25, 25-27, 15-12
June 7: USA def Russia, 25-19, 25-23, 25-17
June 13-14: Serbia at U.S. Men in Chicago (UIC Pavilion)
Tickets: ticketmaster.com, Phone: 800-745-3000
June 20-21: Bulgaria at U.S. Men in Hoffman Estates (Sears Centre Arena)
Tickets: searscentre.com, Phone: 888-SEARS-TIX
June 27-28: U.S. Men at Kaliningrad, Russia (Yantarny)
July 4: U.S. Men at Novi Sad, Serbia (SPC Vojvodina)
July 6: U.S. Men at Beograd, Serbia (Hala Pionir)
Final Round (must qualify): July 16-20 in Florence, Italy