U.S. Men Finish Off Finland with World League Victory

June 28, 2008, 11:47 p.m. (ET)

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

GREEN BAY, Wis. (June 28, 2008) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team finished a four-match sweep of Finland with a 3-1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18) FIVB World League win on Saturday before a crowd of 2,000 at the Resch Center.

The victory gives the United States a 5-1 record in World League at the halfway point of pool play and keeps it all alone in first place in Pool C. Finland falls to 0-6. The United States will travel to Spain for its next two matches while Finland returns home to face Bulgaria.

The United States got 18 points on 16 kills, one block and one ace from Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) and 16 points from Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) on 12 kills, three blocks and one ace.

David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored 13 points on eight kills, one block and two aces. Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) had 10 points on nine kills and one block. Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), who is recovering from a knee injury, played the first and second sets and scored nine points, including a match-high four aces. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) scored six points on four kills, one block and one ace. Setter Lloy Ball (Woodburn, Ind.) scored two points on two aces and Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) scored one point on a kill.

Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with eight “excellent” service receptions on 13 attempts.

“Overall, I’m happy with the matches, but there are still things we need to work on,” U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “I thought we were forcing too many swings in transition. Our blocking was still below standard.

“I’m happy we got some playing time for Sean Rooney. It was good to have him back on the court.”

Finland’s Mikko Oivanen led all scorers with 19 points on 17 kills, one block and one ace. The U.S. Men out-blocked Finland 9-6 and had 11 aces as opposed to four for Finland. Team USA was 70 percent “excellent” on serve receive, including 86 percent.

Finland Head Coach Mauro Berruto felt his young team was overmatched.

“On the other side of the net, we played two of the best players in the world in Lloy Ball and Reid Priddy,” said Finland Head Coach Mauro Berruto. “I think Ball is the best setter in the world.”

McCutcheon started Rooney and Priddy at outside hitter, Lee and Millar at middle blocker, Gardner at opposite, Ball at setter and Lambourne at libero. Salmon took over for Rooney in the third and fourth sets. Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Touzinsky came in as serving substitutes.

In the first set, Team USA opened up an 8-5 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO), including three kills by Gardner and an ace from Rooney. The United States’ lead increased to 16-10 at the second TTO. Finland got some good net play from Matti Oivanen, but could not bridge the gap and lost the set 17-25.

Berruto brought in Antti Siltala to start the second set and the move paid off with two early kills as Finland build an 8-6 lead at the first TTO. The United States tied the score at 9-9 and reached the second TTO first with a slim 16-15 lead. The United States held a 21-19 lead, but Finland fought back behind a string of serves from Siltala and built a 23-21 advantage. Team USA scored one more point, but two straight kills gave Finland the 25-23 win.

Finland’s concentration seemed to drop in the third set and the United States took an 8-4 lead thanks to strong play from Priddy. With the U.S. Men leading 10-5 and Finland’s Urpo Sivula serving, Berruto was issued a yellow card for disputing a call. To Finland’s credit, it did not give up. However, it never found a rhythm and fell 25-18.

The United States led 8-4 at the first TTO of the fourth set and 16-10 at the second before taking a 25-18 victory.

WORLD LEAGUE TICKETS: Tickets for the FIVB World League matches in Bloomington, Ill., (July 11-12 vs. Spain) are still available. To purchase tickets, go to the USA Volleyball World League site at http://www.usavolleyball.org/national/08WL.asp#Schedule

View the U.S. Men's World League Media Guide at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/08WL_MNTMediaGuide.pdf

View the Green Bay Event Media Guide at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/08WL_FiVBmediakit2.pdf.

The U.S. World League site is www.usavolleyball.org/national/08WL.asp.   

The FIVB World League site is www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2008

2008 FIVB World League
U.S. Men's Roster

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 C 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, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon
Team Manager: Arnie Ball
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen
Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Team Doctor: Michael Terry/William Briner
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

FIVB 2008 World League Standings as of June 28 (click on link to view team profile):

FIVB 2008 World League Standings as of June 27 (click on link to view team profile):

Pool A
France 4-2
Brazil 4-1
Serbia 2-4
Venezuela 1-4

Pool B
Russia 5-1
Italy 4-2
Cuba 3-3
Korea 0-6

Pool C
USA 5-1
Spain 3-2
Bulgaria 3-2
Finland 0-6

Pool D
Poland 3-2
Egypt 3-2
China 3-2
Japan 1-4

U.S. World League Schedule and Results

Date: June 13-14
Opponent: Finland
Location: Helsinki, Finland (LänsiAuto Arena)
June 13: USA def. Finland, 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 25-20)
June 14: USA def. Finland, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-16)

Date: June 20-21
Opponent: Bulgaria
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
June 20: USA def. Bulgaria, 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-16)
June 21: Bulgaria def. USA, 3-2 (12-25, 25-16, 25-20, 12-25, 15-13)

Date: June 27-28
Opponent: Finland
Location: Resch Center in Green Bay, Wis.
June 27: USA def. Finland,3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20)
June 28: USA def. Finland,3-1 (25-17, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18)

Date: July 4 and 6
Opponent: Spain
Location: Madrid, Spain

Date: July 11-12 (7 p.m. local both nights)
Opponent: Spain
Location: U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington, Ill.

Date: July 18-19
Opponent: Bulgaria
Location: Varna, Bulgaria

Date: July 23-27
Event: World League Final (must qualify)
Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil