HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (June 18, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team and Bulgaria started the 2014 FIVB World League playing each other and since then, the two teams have taken very different paths.
|Max Holt goes in for the kill against Serbia.|
Team USA is the last team in World League Group 1 to be undefeated and takes a 6-0 record to the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago, to begin the second half of the tournament against Bulgaria. The teams will play at 7 p.m. CT on June 20 and 21.
U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said he was surprised that his team was undefeated, but that he is not pressuring the team to stay perfect.
“Yes, I’m surprised,” Speraw said. “But we have been very focused on our side of the net and improving in each match. As long as we continue to do that, we are going to pick up some wins. But even if we lose, we will learn from it and try to improve in the next match.”
Bulgaria has yet to win a World League match in 2014 and will be hungry for a victory. It will most likely receive a spirited welcome from the large Bulgarian community in Chicago.
When the Americans played Bulgaria in Varna on May 23-24, the United States took victories of 3-2 and 3-0.
“Teams are improving every week and I have no doubt that Bulgaria will play better than they did in Varna,” Speraw said. “We will need to play better as well.”
Following the United States’ two victories over Serbia last weekend, opposite Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) is leading all World League scorers with 150 points on 134 spikes, 10 blocks and six aces. Anderson has more points in spikes than the next player has in total points (Shahram Mahmoudi of Iran with 114 points).
Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) is fifth among all World League scorers with 106 points on 87 spikes, 12 blocks and seven aces. Sander and Anderson are first and second respectively among all World League spikers. Sander has a success percentage of 53.7 while Anderson’s is 51.5.
U.S. middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) is third among all World League servers with an average of .32 aces per set. U.S. libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) leads World League receivers with an efficiency percentage of 66.4. 7
U.S. setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu, Hawaii) is second among all setters with an average of 6.08 running sets per set.
Bulgarian opposite Tsvetan Sokolov leads his team in scoring and is tied for sixth overall with 100 points on 84 spikes, 10 blocks and six aces.
Middle blocker Viktor Yosifov leads all blockers with an average of .87 per set. Yosifov is also fifth among all servers with an average of .3 aces per set.
U.S. Men’s Roster for World League Matches in Hoffman Estates, 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: USA def Serbia, 30-28, 25-20, 25-16
June 14: USA def Serbia, 25-22, 25-12, 26-28, 23-25, 15-13
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