SPOKANE, Wash. (Aug. 2, 2006) – Three weeks ago, the U.S. Men’s National Team was looking for its first victory in 2006 FIVB World League play after losing two matches to Poland.
This weekend, it finds itself in first place in Pool A. Moreover, it will face the team that once held the No. 1 position – Serbia and Montenegro – on Aug. 4-5 at the Spokane Memorial Arena in Spokane, Wash. Both matches will begin at 8 p.m. PDT and will be shown live on CSTV.
The United States improved its record to 4-2 with four straight victories over Japan, losing just one set during that time. Serbia and Montenegro also has a 4-2 record, with a three-set loss to Japan and a four-set loss to Poland. The United States wins the tie-breaker between the two teams due to the point differential by which it won and lost its matches as compared to Serbia and Montenegro.
The United States knows that Serbia and Montenegro will bring plenty of firepower to the showdown at the Spokane Arena.
“Serbia and Montenegro certainly presents different challenges than Japan,” U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “They have more experience and have consistently been a better team internationally.
“From our end, we have to build on what we achieved against Japan and maintain a consistent effort.”
Although Serbia and Montenegro has never won the World League title, it finished second in 2005 and 2003 and third in 2004 and 2002 (competing as Yugoslavia). Yugoslavia also won the OIympic gold medal at the 2000 Summer Games.
In 2006 World League play, Serbia and Montenegro’s scoring leader has been 6-foot-7 opposite Ivan Miljkovic, who has 81 points on 71 kills, five blocks and five aces in just four matches. He did not play in the first two matches against Japan due to injury.
Andrija Geric, a 6-7 middle blocker, is second with 74 points on 47 kills, 21 blocks and six aces. Geric has played in all six of his team’s matches. His blocking total of 21 is fourth among all World League players.
The United States continues to be led by 6-4 outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), who has 94 points on 78 kills, 14 blocks and two aces, which is fourth among all World League players. Jim Polster (Laguna Niguel, Calif.), a 6-6 outside hitter, is second with 65 points on 49 kills, 10 blocks and six aces.
McCutcheon does not expect any changes to the U.S. roster from last weekend’s matches against Japan in Minneapolis, Minn.