U.S. Men's Update: Knipe Makes Best of Brazil Tour

Oct. 08, 2009, 6:39 p.m. (ET)

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

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Oct. 8, 2009) - Some might view the scores from the U.S. Men's National Team's five matches in Brazil on Sept. 22-27 as disappointing.

The U.S. Men won two sets in five matches and were swept three times.

However U.S. Men's Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) says the matches were a great way for his staff to evaluate the team's up-and-coming players against powerful competition and in front of sellout crowds.

"I thought the Brazil trip was a really valuable competition for us," he said. "We took a lot of guys that have never played on the top team. For some of the guys who had been with the top team, they hadn't logged a lot of minutes yet."

The United States' unofficial scoring leaders for the five matches were Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) with 41 points (36 kills, four blocks, one ace), Robert Tarr (Cape Canaveral, Fla.) with 24 points (23 kills, one block), Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) with 23 points on 23 kills and Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) with 23 points (17 kills, five blocks, one ace).

Knipe had praise for setters Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif.) and Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.).

"They both did a more than adequate job and they got better as the tour went on," he said.

"What it came down to: we passed well, we sided out well and we were close in almost every set. But we struggled to put pressure on Brazil's passers with our serving. Also, our blocking and transition games were not great.

"To the outside observer, (the scores) are a tough thing to look at. It was for us, too. We wanted to win. But the experience was invaluable."

HOFF ADDS TO HIS TEAM: U.S. Men's team captain Tom Hoff and his wife Sandy welcomed twin daughters Demi and Zoey to their family in September, shortly before Hoff traveled with the team to Brazil.

Demi and Zoey have three older sisters, Tatum, born in 2003, Ella, born in 2005 and Ava, born in 2007.

PLAYERS OVERSEAS: Several members of the U.S. Men's Team are already with their international club teams preparing for the winter season.

Lloy Ball (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) are back with Zenit Kazan in the Russian Super League. Kazan won the 2009 Super League title. They opened the 2009-10 Super League season by defeating Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and their team, Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, 3-2 (22-25, 25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 15-11) on Oct. 7. Priddy started every set and finished with 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one serve.  Lee played in four sets, starting the third and fifth, and scored four points on three kills and one block. Ball started every set and scored three points on two kills and one ace. Stanley started only the first set and had two points on two kills.

Fakel Novy Urengoi, the Russian team of Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), defeated Tyumen, 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-17). Hansen started all three sets and scored one point on one block. Rooney has not yet joined the team.

Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania), playing in the Italian Serie A League, scored two points on two kills for Prisma Taranto as it defeated Yoga Forli, 3-0 (25-20, 25-17, 25-20) on Oct. 7. Suxho is the starting setter for Prisma Taranto.

Also in the Italy Serie A League, Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored three points on two kills and one block for Marni Lanza Verona as it fell to Esse-Ti Carilo Loreto, 0-3 (20-25, 22-25, 23-25).