HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (June 26, 2010) – Looking much more like a team ranked No 2 in the world, the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team took down Finland on Saturday, 3-1 (25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 25-23) in an FIVB World League pool play match at Sears Centre Arena.

Team USA improved to 5-3 in Pool C while Finland, ranked No. 30, remains in third place at 2-6. The United States will travel to Cairo, Egypt for its next matches on July 2-3 while Finland will host Russia.

Veteran opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) led the U.S. with 19 points on 15 kills (0.35 hitting percentage), one block and three aces.

But a night after losing to Finland in five sets, the U.S. Men got strong play from some of its younger players too, including outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) with 16 points on 13 kills (0.2 hitting percentage), one block and two aces, and middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) with 12 points on eight kills (0.8 hitting percentage) and a match-high four blocks.

Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) who took over for starting outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) in the second set after Priddy left with an injury termed a "tweaked" hamstring, scored seven points on five kills, one block and one ace.

 "On our side of the net we were concerned with what we could control," U.S. Men’s Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. "We had 24 hours to change our mindset (from Friday) and we did that. I thought it was important that we improve in transition and we did that."

"Winning the first set was really important," U.S. middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) said. "Alan pointed out that in the last five matches we’ve lost (going back to 2009), we lost the first set. It was better for us to win that first set and set the tone."

Finland was paced for a second night by Urpo Sivula, who led all scorers with 22 points on 22 kills, and Antti Siltala with 15 points on 11 kills, three blocks and one ace.

Team USA finished with 12 blocks to Finland’s 10 and eight aces to Finland’s seven. The U.S. Men had a 0.34 hitting percentage while Finland’s was 0.41.

The United States was credited with 34 digs and eight faults while Finland had 21 digs and 16 faults. Finland had 36 excellent receptions and eight faults while the U.S. had 31 excellent receptions and seven faults.

Among other U.S. players, Lee scored 10 points on seven kills (0.5 hitting percentage), two blocks and one ace. Before he left the match, Priddy had seven points on six kills (0.46 hitting percentage) and one block.

Opposite Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) had one point on an ace while middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) had one point on a block. Setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) had one point on one block.

Hansen was credited with 29 running sets and no errors on 104 attempts. U.S. libero Rich Lambourne was credited with 15 digs and three faults on 21 attempts as well as six excellent receptions and no faults on 19 attempts. Lotman led in excellent receptions with 12 and two faults in 27 attempts.

Knipe started Anderson and Priddy at outside hitter, Lee and Holmes at middle blocker, Stanley at opposite, Hansen at setter and Lambourne at libero.

In the first set, Team USA took a 5-2 lead, scoring on a kill from Anderson and a kill and block by Holmes along with a Priddy block. Finland made it 5-4 on a kill and U.S. hitting error. A Finland error gave the U.S. a 6-4 edge before a Team USA serving error made it 6-5. A Lee kill gave Anderson the serve and his ace gave the U.S. the 8-5 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO). Priddy tooled the block to give his team a 9-6 advantage. A spike by Oivanen made it 9-7 but a Priddy kill off the block attempt kept the U.S. up by three and it increased it by four at 11-7. The U.S. lead was five at 15-10, but a Siltala kill sparked a Finland run that included a kill and block by Oivanen to bring Finland to within two at 15-13. Finland’s serving error gave the U.S. the 16-13 lead at the second TTO. A Lee block followed by a Stanley ace increased the lead to 18-13 and Finland Head Coach Mauro Berruto called timeout. The U.S. run ended with a hitting error, but an Anderson kill kept Team USA up by five at 19-14. A U.S. service error was followed by an ace by Siltala, but Team USA came back with kills by Priddy and Stanley to lead 21-16. Oivanen got a spike to take the serve and Finland scored the next three points including a Sivula kill and U.S. error. Knipe called timeout, but a block from Matti Hietanen cut the U.S. lead to one at 21-20. A Priddy kill ended the run and a Finland error put Team USA ahead 23-20. An ace by Patak, who had entered as a serving substitute for Hansen, gave the U.S. set point. Finland scored on a Hietanen kill but Holmes put the set away for the U.S. with his attack at the middle.

The first set was even at 3-3 when Finland scored twice on a block and Oivanen kill to go ahead 5-3. Team USA tied the score with a Lee kill and Stanley ace, but Finland scored the next three points on kills from Sivula and Siltala and a triple block to lead 8-5 at the second TTO. Team USA came out of the break with a kill from Lee, but Sivula returned the favor. Anderson’s attack followed by a Lee ace off the tape drew the U.S. to within one at 9-8. Sivula attacked to keep Finland up by two, but Finland’s service error gave Hansen the serve and a block by Holmes tied the score at 10-10. Stanley’s kill put Team USA up by one at 11-10. Finland called timeout and scored when Sivula tooled the U.S. block. Finland scored two more points with a block by Jukka Lehtonen and Hietanen and an Eemi Tervaportti ace to lead 13-11. Holmes ended the run with a quick kill and the U.S. scored again on Lotman’s BIC to tie the score at 13-13. Two straight spikes by Finland’s Hietanen and Sivula put Finland back up by two. A Stanley kill kept the U.S. close, but the Finns reached the second TTO with a 16-14 lead on Sivula’s spike. A hitting error caused Knipe to call timeout for the U.S., but Finland scored again on another error. The teams traded points until Finland led 20-17. A U.S. hitting error gave Oivanen the serve and he responded with an ace. Another Finland kill put it up 23-17. A Finland hitting error pulled Team USA to within five at 23-18, but Team USA served long to give Finland set point and the Finn’s blocked for the final set point.

Finland held a 4-3 lead in the third set when a U.S. triple block tied the score. Two straight Stanley kills gave Team USA the 6-4 lead and Lotman’s ace put the U.S. ahead 7-4. Finland responded with a Hietanen strike, but their next serve went long and the U.S. led 8-6 at the first TTO. Finland tied the score on a U.S. error and Oivanen ace. The teams traded points with neither gaining more than a one-point edge until the score was tied 13-13. Finland’s defense seemed to come apart as Team USA scored on three straight kills by Lee, Anderson and Stanley to take a 16-13 lead at the second TTO. Finland scored on a Sivula kill, but the U.S. responded with kills by Stanley and Anderson to lead 18-14 and cause Berruto to call timeout. Finland responded with a kill and ace from Oivanen. An Anderson kill kept the U.S. up by three. A U.S. hitting error made it 19-17, but Holmes’ quick kill in the middle sparked a U.S. run that included an Anderson ace and Lotman block to put the U.S. ahead 22-17 and caused Finland to call timeout. The freeze worked and the U.S. served long, but Finland also had a service error to make it 23-18. The U.S. reached set point on Finland’s hitting error. Sivula held off the set loss with a kill, but Lotman tooled Finland’s block on his second try to give Team USA the set victory.

In the fourth set, Finland took an 8-5 lead at the first TTO of the fourth set. Team USA scored on a block and kill from Stanley, a BIC from Anderson and a Lee kill. But Finland kept the pressure on with kills by Sivula and Lehtonen and an ace by Tervapotti. After the break, Finland served long and Team USA tied the score on an Anderson tip and Stanley kill. Finland came back with a Lehtonen kill and the two teams traded points in a run that included U.S. kills by Holmes, Lee, and two from Stanley along with a Hansen block and Holmes block that gave Team USA a 16-15 edge at the second TTO. Finland got three strikes from Sivula and one from Oivanen. The point trade continued after the break. With Finland leading 19-18, Lee got a kill to tie the score and Stanley followed with an ace to give the U.S. a 20-19 edge. Finland came back with two Sivula kills to lead 21-20. With the score tied at 22-22, a Stanley kill followed by a Holmes block gave the U.S. match point. Finland held off the loss with a Hietanen kill, but Holmes and Anderson combined for a final block to give the U.S. the match.

U.S. World League matches are being shown via tape delay on Comcast Sportsnet stations, with the final matches against Russia being shown on Versus. Click here for a schedule.

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2010 FIVB World League
June 25-26 in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

U.S. Roster (Roster will be reduced to 12 for the matches)
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
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)
8 C Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
11 Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-4, Mesa, Ariz., 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 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
17 Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo. Long Beach State)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Leader: John Hawks
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Trainer: Jeff Stork (Topanga, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

Pool C Standings (As of June 26)
Country (points) record
Russia (23) 8-0
USA (16) 5-3
Finland (6) 2-6
Egypt (3) 1-7

Note: Match won 3-0 or 3-1:  3 points for the winner, 0 point for the loser
Match won 3-2:  2 points for the winner, 1 point for the loser
In case of tie, the teams will be classified according to the following criteria: number of matches won, points ratio and sets ratio

2010 U.S. World League Schedule and Results

Date: June 4-5
Location: Ekaterinburg, Russia
June 4: Russia def. United States, 25-15, 26-24, 25-14
June 5:
Russia def. United States, 25-14, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21

Date: June 11-12
Opponent: Finland
Location: Tampere, Finland
June 11: United States def. Finland, 25-27, 25-18, 27-25, 25-28
June 12: United States def. Finland, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 28-26

Date: June 18-19
Opponent: Egypt
Location: Cabarrus Arena in Concord, N.C.
June 18: United States def. Egypt, 25-19, 25-15, 14-25, 25-21
June 19: United States def. Egypt, 25-20, 25-22, 11-25, 25-14

Date: June 25-26 (7 p.m. CT both days)
Opponent: Finland
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
June 25: Finland def. United States, 25-22, 14-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-11
June 26: USA def. Finland, 25-21, 18-25, 25-19, 25-23

Date: July 2-3
Opponent: Egypt
Location: Cairo, Egypt

Date: July 9 at 7 p.m. CT; July 10 at 6 p.m. CT
Opponent: Russia
Location: Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan. - www.wichitasports.com/

Final Round (must qualify)
Date: July 21-25
Location: Cordoba, Argentina

Other Pool C Results
June 5: Egypt def. Finland, 23-25, 26-24, 25-16, 20-25, 15-13
June 6: Finland def. Egypt, 25-22. 23-25, 25-20, 25-19
June 11: Russia def. Egypt, 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15
June 12: Russia def. Egypt, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 15-8
June 18: Russia def. Finland, 25-16, 25-21, 25-18
June 19: Russia def. Finland, 25-18, 25-16, 18-25, 25-18
June 25: Russia def. Egypt, 25-18, 25-18, 25-16
June 26: Russia def. Egypt, 25-17, 25-12, 25-18