Update on U.S. Men at NORCECA Olympic Qualifier

Jan. 05, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)

B.J. Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Jan. 5, 2008) -- Coaches of the eight volleyball teams participating in the 2008 NORCECA Men's Continental Olympic Qualification Championship on Jan. 6-11 in Caguas, Puerto Rico, participated in a press conference on Saturday at which they expressed their thoughts about the tournament. The U.S. Men's National Team will play its first match of the tournament on Sunday at 9 a.m. PST against the Dominican Republic.

Ludger Niles (BAR): "It is a privilege to play in such prestigious tournament. We are basically here to take more technical and tactical points from the more experienced teams. Our long term goal is to improve the volleyball in the Caribbean and elevate the sport in that area to another level."

Glenn Hoag (CAN): "Obviously this is an important part of the life of every player and every team, with the Olympic cycles of four and eight years. To be in the major sport event like the Olympic Games is the goal of every athlete and coach. We will try our best to be in Beijing."

Orlando Samuels (CUB): "We are here to battle for the qualification to Beijing. We have a very young team but with good potential. We will do our best trying to qualify. I don't have any favorite team to beat because I think there are a lot of teams with good chances, so you have to beat all them."

Jacinto Campechano (DOM): "I think the three teams from each pool advancing after the preliminary round have a fair chance. Anything can happen after that because those teams are very similar. I can guarantee that we are going to be fighting until the last second of every single match."

Jorge Azair (MEX): "We are coming here looking for the qualification to the Olympic Games. It is going to be tough because the best teams of our continent are here also with the same purpose. I think it is a dream for us and we are going to play trying to make that sweet dream to come true."

Carlos Cardona (PUR): "I consider the level of volleyball in NORCECA has grown a lot the past few years. Puerto Rico has achieved some things like playing with more consistency. There is a blend of good experience with young talent. I think there are five or six teams with chances to make it to Beijing."

Augusto Sabbatini (TRI): "Trinidad & Tobago is participating for the first time in such strong competition. For us is a great pleasure because of the experience we are going to obtain due to the great technical level of all the teams. I think there are at least four teams with good chance to qualify and represent the zone in the Olympics."

Hugh McCutcheon (USA): "We have had very short time of preparation because some of our players were competing overseas but they are in good condition and all we need from them is to play up to the best of their ability. This is a very important tournament and we are ready to start competing. I agree with my colleagues regarding the quality of the teams participating in this qualifying tournament."

U.S. Men's Tournament Team Released:

U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon has released the names of the 12 players who will represent the United States at the qualification tournament.

(No., Name, Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Lloy Ball (S, 6-8, Woodburn, Ind., Indiana-Purdue, Fort Wayne)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
8 Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Palmdale, Calif., BYU)
10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
12 Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State) 13 Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawai'i)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford) 15 Gabe Gardner (OPP, 6-9, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-7, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

There is more information on the qualifier is available on the NORCECA web site at www.NORCECA.org.