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USA Volleyball

US Mens Team to Play Canada for Olympic Berth

May 11, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

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

Unofficial DataVolley Statistics * Official Match Statistics

The NORCECA Olympic Qualifier is being live streamed at usavlive.com. The gold medal match will not be streamed, and instead will be shown on NBC Sports Network at 3-5 p.m. ET on May 13.

To purchase tickets, click here

LONG BEACH, Calif. (May 11, 2012) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team will play Canada for a berth at the 2012 Olympic Games on Saturday after beating Cuba on Friday, 21-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-16 at the NORCECA Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.

The United States (4-0) will play Canada (4-0) at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Pyramid with the winner taking the Olympic berth. Cuba (3-2) will play Puerto Rico (2-3) in the bronze-medal match, which begins at 5 p.m.

The U.S. block came up big against Cuba with the United States holding a 14-5 blocking advantage. Four U.S. players finished with three blocks each.

The U.S. also led in aces, 10-5, while Cuba held the edge in attacks, 49-46. The U.S. scored 26 points on Cuban errors while giving away only 17.

U.S. outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led all scorers with 24 points on a match-high 17 kills (70.8 kill percent, .708 hitting efficiency), three blocks and a match-high four aces. Opposite Clay Stanley added 13 points on seven attacks, three blocks and three aces.

The U.S. Men kept the first set close, but were never able to take a lead and pull away. In the next three sets, they took early leads and pulled away from Cuba.

“We didn’t start off the way we wanted to, but some of that credit goes to Cuba,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “I want to give a lot of credit to our passers tonight because (Wilfredo) Leon and (Fernando) Hernandez can put a lot of pressure on you. I was extremely proud of that effort as the match went on, but more importantly of the group because they stayed together and kept focus.”

“I don’t know what happened in the first set, Cuba put some pressure on us, but I am really proud of my team,” Stanley said. “Matt Anderson served his butt off tonight and he played great offense. Russell Holmes did a great job. We passed the ball pretty good. As a team we played an all-around good match.”

Wilfredo Leon paced Cuba with 15 points on 13 attacks and two aces.

Among other U.S. scorers, middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) finished with 11 points on eight attacks and three blocks. Middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) totaled 11 points on six kills, three blocks and two aces.

Outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) contributed eight points on seven attacks and one block. Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) totaled two points on one kill and one block and opposite David McKienzie (Littleton, Colo.) had one point on a service ace.

Suxho set the U.S. Men to a 52.3 kill percent and a .477 hitting efficiency. Cuba had a 45.4 kill percent and a .370 hitting efficiency.

Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with eight digs as was Anderson. The U.S. had 23 digs total.

Lambourne was credited with 18 receptions (56 percent positive). Priddy led in receptions with 23 (61 percent positive).

Knipe started Anderson and Priddy at outside hitter, Holmes and Lee at middle blocker, Suxho at setter, Stanley at opposite and Lambourne is the designated libero.

McKienzie, outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) and middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) played as substitutes.

The U.S. Men pulled out to a 6-4 lead in the first set, but Cuba tied it at 6-6 on two kills off the block, then went ahead 7-6 on an ace. Anderson tied it with a kill and an ace by Holmes gave the U.S. an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO). The score was tied at 10-10 when Cuba scored three straight points, including two kills, to lead 13-10. The U.S. called timeout and Stanley scored with an attack. The teams went back and forth until Cuba led 16-13 at the second TTO. With Cuba leading 19-16, Anderson scored with a kill and Cuba had a passing error to cut Cuba’s lead to one. The lead was still one at 21-20 when Rolando Cepeda connected on an attack and then had an ace to give Cuba a 23-20 lead. The U.S. called timeout and Cuba’s next serve went in the net. Cuba called timeout and Leon responded with a kill. Cuba won the set on a block.

The U.S. Men took the momentum back in the second set. With Cuba leading 2-1, it served out of bounds. Anderson took the serve for the U.S. and the U.S. scored on a Lee block, Anderson ace and Lee attack to lead 5-2. Cuba called timeout and Anderson served long on his next attempt. Cuba tied the score on a U.S. hitting error and Leon ace. But Leon’s next serve hit the net and the U.S. stopped Cuba with two straight blocks by Holmes to lead 8-5. After the break, the U.S. got two more aces from Holmes and Priddy to lead 10-5. Priddy’s next attack attempt went out of bounds, but he made up for it on his next attempt and then combined with Holmes on a block to lead 12-6. With the U.S. leading 13-9, Anderson killed an overpass. Cuba was called for a net violation and Anderson scored on another attack to give the U.S. a 16-9 lead at the second TTO. Cuba came out of the break with a kill off the block and a U.S. hitting error made it 16-11. With the U.S. leading 17-11, it served into the net giving the serve to Hernandez, who launched a 4-0 run as Cuba began to tool the U.S. block. Anderson ended the run with his own kill off the block and added an ace to give the U.S. a 19-15 lead. With the U.S. leading 20-17, Holmes connected on a quick attack giving the serve to Stanley. After a U.S. block, Stanley scored with two straight aces to give the U.S. a 23-17 lead. The U.S. reached set point at 24-18 and won the set when Cuba’s hit went out.

The U.S. took an 8-5 lead at the first TTO of the third set, scoring on two kills each from Holmes and Anderson along with a block and ace by Stanley. Anderson scored on a solo block after the break to give the U.S. the 9-5 edge. The U.S. lead was 11-7 when Stanley connected on a kill and Anderson added and ace. Cuba’s tip went out of bounds and it trailed 14-7. Cuba called timeout and scored on two kills to make it 14-9. The teams traded points to give the U.S. a 16-10 advantage at the second TTO. Cuba pulled to within four at 17-13, but Holmes responded with an attack and then added an ace to put the U.S. back up by six. Cuba did not threaten again. With the U.S. leading 21-16, Cuba had an error on a Lee hit. Anderson took the serve and Lee scored on a quick kill, followed by an Anderson ace to give the U.S. set point at 24-16. Leon scored on a kill before Lee ended the set with final attack.

The U.S. Men took a 3-0 lead in the third set on an Anderson kill and kill and block from Lee. The U.S. Men led 8-4 at the first TTO and extended it to 12-6. The two teams traded points until the U.S. led 16-8 at the second TTO. With the U.S. Men leading 20-12, Lee and Anderson combined for a block, followed by a Cuba error and an ace from serving substitute McKienzie to put the U.S. Men ahead 23-12. The U.S. reached match point at 24-13 on an Anderson attack. Cuba scored three points on a block and two U.S. errors before Cuba misplayed a Stanley kill to end the match.

2012 NORCECA Men’s Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament

No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
4. David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5. Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
6. Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7. Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
8. Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9. Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Utah, BYU)
10. Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
11. Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
13. Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawaii)
21. David McKienzie (Opp, 6-4, Littleton, Colo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Manager: Rob Browning (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

2012 NORCECA Men’s Olympic Games Qualification Tournament Schedule (All times PT)

Pool Play
May 7
Canada def. Dominican Republic, 25-21, 25-13, 25-15
Mexico def. Costa Rica, 25-17, 25-18, 25-20
Cuba def. Puerto Rico, 25-20, 25-18, 25-18
USA def. Trinidad & Tobago, 24-9, 25-10, 25-14
May 8
Cuba def. Dominican Republic, 25-15. 25-21, 25-15
Mexico def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-18, 19-25, 25-21, 25-22
Canada def. Puerto Rico, 25-19, 25-20, 25-13
USA def. Costa Rica, 25-14, 25-9, 25-9
May 9
Puerto Rico def. Dominican Republic, 25-15, 25-18, 25-16
Trinidad & Tobago def. Costa Rica, 25-18, 25-23, 25-19
Canada def. Cuba, 25-21, 25-17, 25-21
USA def. Mexico, 25-23, 25-19, 25-14

Pool B


Rank

Team

Record

Points

1

USA

3-0

15

2

Mexico

2-1

9

3

Trinidad & Tobago

1-2

6

4

Costa Rica

0-3

0

Pool A


Rank

Team

Record

Points

1

Canada

3-0

15

2

Cuba

2-1

10

3

Puerto Rico

1-2

5

4

Dominican Republic

0-3

0

Quarterfinals
May 10
Cuba def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-18, 25-13, 25-16 * Read story
Puerto Rico def. Mexico, 25-21, 25-23, 20-25, 25-19 * Read story

Classification 5-8
May 11
Mexico def. Costa Rica, 25-19, 25-19, 25-16 * Read story
Dominican Republic def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-21, 22-25, 27-25, 25-19 * Read story

Semifinals
May 11
Canada def. Puerto Rico, 22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11
USA def. Cuba, 21-25, 25-18, 25-17

Finals
May 12
1 p.m. Seventh-place match
3 p.m. Fifth-place match
5 p.m. Third-place match
8 p.m. Championship

Match Quotes

Clay Stanley: Thanks for coming out. I don’t know what happened in the first set, Cuba put some pressure on us, but I am really proud of my team. Matt Anderson served his butt off tonight and he played great offense. Russell Holmes did a great job. We passed the ball pretty good. As a team we played an all-around good match. I wish Cuba the best.

On Canada…
I think they are playing pretty good. They have a bunch of great players on their team. We have to go back get some rest, wake up and have a game plan from our coaches. We have to start out better than we did today and play hard in all sets and I think we will win that game.

Alan Knipe: First I would like to congratulate Cuba on another great match. It seems as though every time we meet it’s a tough match and tonight was no different. We didn’t start off the way we wanted to, but some of that credit goes to Cuba. I want to give a lot of credit to our passers tonight because Leon and Hernandez can put a lot of pressure on you. I was extremely proud of that effort as the match went on but more importantly of the group because they stayed together and kept focus. I am looking forward to the staff getting together to discuss Canada and getting our team the rest they need.

On Russell Holmes’ performance…
In particular, Russell did have a really nice match. It isn’t surprising to any of us who are around him because he puts so much work into his game. He got up early and was able to be super offensive for us. He was able to block well and give us some point. As you have seen sometimes it only takes one block and then it seems contagious and Russell started that for us.

On keeping the same game plan throughout the tournament…
I thought we served better as the match went on which caused problems for Cuba. I thought they passed and received our serve well, but once we got them in trouble we didn’t do a whole lot different we just started to do things better.

On Holmes playing so much…
Throughout this tournament we have been rotating our middles. They are all good and each bring something different. Right now he [Russell] is playing so well it was hard to leave him off. That has nothing to do with Ryan [Millar], we just felt it was a nice match up tonight.

On the youth of Matt Anderson…
When you bring youth and that type of athleticism it takes a load off some of our players. I think it takes a little pressure off of them. It is about what he has done from the end line serving and a lot of teams like to serve him which he is fine with, he holds up for us. He is big, rangy and he jumps real well, he is a complete player and fits in well here.

On Donald Suxho’s performance…
I thought Suxho was fabulous tonight. We had a game plan and he stuck to it. We didn’t have a lot of success in beginning but he stuck to the plan and set quick at a right time. He sets some really good tempo balls to the pins, kept everyone involved, making a lot of options open for us and keeping our offense hard to defend. k

On Canada’s style…
Canada’s style is similar to ours. They have some good outside hitters who have high tempo, which is very similar to us. As you saw two nights ago, they played really well against Cuba and we expect them to play really well.

On Clay Stanley’s recovery…
Clay’s doing great. He was off of surgery after the world cup. I think someone should have come and done a documentary on how hard he worked to get back in shape and in better shape. His stamina and his strength are getting better and for someone who hasn’t played as much volleyball he is doing great.

Cuba Captain Wilfredo Leon: As we were expecting it was a very intense game. It was a very difficult game, United States has a lot of experience, we have played them before and we knew what we were up against. The game is a game and what happened, happened. We hope to play our best and we wish the best to the United States. Thank you.

Cuba Coach Samuels Orlando: First of all we would like to congratulate the U.S. on their victory and a very well played match. I wish them the best and hope they qualify for the Olympics. I think the story of the match was a match of a young team against a very experienced team. The team from USA includes many who have played in the Olympics and those who were in high national competitions. Our team is young and it showed in the high number of errors. It is difficult to play a team who dominates every aspect of the game. In all cases they deserved the victory; we lost some players and had to improvise but hats off to USA.

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