U.S. Men Named USOC Team of the Year

Jan. 22, 2009, 12:26 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 22, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team has been named the 2008 Team of the Year by the U.S. Olympic Committee, it was announced on Thursday.

The U.S. Men were chosen from among both women’s and men’s teams submitted by each sport national governing body. The team experienced great success in 2008, including winning the Olympic gold medal, the FIVB World League and the NORCECA Continental Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

The Olympic gold medal was the first for a U.S. indoor team since 1988 while the World League title was the first ever.

The members of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Men’s Volleyball Team are Lloy Ball (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.), Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.), Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.), David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.), Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), Riley Salmon (League City, Texas), Clay Stanley (Honolulu) and Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.).

Players who competed in World League pool play matches for the United States include Brook Billings (Santa Barbara, Calif.), Phil Eatherton (Glencoe, Mo.), Brandon Taliaferro (San Clemente, Calif.) and Delano Thomas (Sacramento, Calif.).

“I think being named the 2008 team of the year solidifies all the hard work that our team put into 2008,” Millar said. “Winning the Olympic gold medal is something that will bond our team forever.”

The team was coached throughout the season by Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) along with assistants Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.) and John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.), technical coordinator Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.) and athletic trainer Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa).

“We made mistakes, but we seldom made the same mistake twice,” McCutcheon said. “This group truly committed itself to being the best it could be. They were constantly working to get better. Even the night before the gold medal match against Brazil, we were making improvements that led to our victory.”

Among the team’s 2008 accomplishments:

  • The team did not lose a match in Beijing. Going into the Olympic Games, the U.S. Men were ranked No. 3 in the world. They defeated No. 1 Brazil, No. 2 Russia, No. 4 Bulgaria and No. 5 Serbia on their way to winning the gold medal. Following the Games, their ranking improved to No. 2.
  • Opposite Stanley was named MVP of the Olympic Games.
  • As a team, the United States was first in kills (35 percent efficiency) and second in blocks (3.15 per set) and aces (1.21 per set) at the Olympics.
  • The U.S. Men were named the USOC Team of the Month for August.
  • The team was nominated for Sports Illustrated’s 2008 Sportsmen of the Year Award.
  • It defeated host and five-time defending champion Brazil in the World League semifinals before going on to defeat Serbia in the final. Ball was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and also Best Setter. Lambourne won the award for Best Libero.
  • The team qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games by winning the NORCECA Continental Qualifier in January in Puerto Rico. The team won five straight matches without dropping a set. Rooney was named "Best Spiker" of the tournament and Stanley was named Best Server.

USA Volleyball has also announced its players and teams of the year.

Priddy, an outside hitter, was named USA Volleyball’s Men’s Indoor Player of the Year. To read the story, click here.

Setter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) was named the Women’s Indoor Player of the Year. To read the story, click here.

Phil Dalhausser (Ormond Beach, Fla.) and Todd Rogers (Santa Barbara, Calif.) were named the U.S. Beach Volleyball Team of the Year. Dalhausser was named the Men’s Beach Player of the Year and Misty May-Treanor (Costa Mesa, Calif.) was named the Women’s Beach player of the Year. To read the story, click here.

The U.S. Women’s Sitting Volleyball Team was named USA Volleyball’s Paralympic Team of the Year. To read the story, click here.