Undefeated U.S. Men Beat Russia; Will Go for Gold

Aug. 22, 2008, 10:39 a.m. (ET)

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

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

BEIJING (Aug. 22, 2008) – After 20 years of waiting, the U.S. Olympic Men’s Indoor Volleyball Team will be heading back to the Olympic Games gold-medal match as it held off second-ranked Russia 25-22, 25-21, 25-27, 22-25, 15-13 Saturday afternoon in a semifinal match at Beijing's Capital Indoor Stadium. The second-ranked Americans will play for the gold on Sunday at noon against Brazil.

“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “I am proud of the way the guys were able to deal with the pressure and consistency of Russia at the end of the match. For these guys, it is a chance to get on the podium.”

Team USA, winner of its last 10 matches including the 2008 FIVB World League title in July, has guaranteed a medal-stand appearance for the first time since 1992 when it earned the bronze medal in Barcelona. The U.S. won the Olympic gold medal in 1984 and 1988.

Clay Stanley (Honolulu) notched a team-high 19 points with a match-high seven aces, 11 kills and a block. Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) collected 17 kills and an ace for 18 points, while Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) produced 12 kills on 20 attacks and two blocks for 14 points. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) tacked on 13 points all on kills. David Lee contributed nine kills and three blocks for 12 points. Lloy Ball (Woodburn, Ind.) rounded out the scoring with four kills and a block for five points.

Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) recorded 32 excellent receptions on 39 attempts without an error to go with seven digs. Ball handed out 30 assists for the match in addition to seven digs. Priddy tacked on a team-high 12 digs and 16 excellent service receptions on 17 attempts. Salmon contributed 10 digs and 24 excellent service receptions.

“It was an awesome team performance,” said Team USA captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.). “What sticks with me is our last break, we had some confusion and some guys were amped up. Hugh came over to us right at the end of it and told us what we were going to do on the very next serve. It had a really calming effect. It was the correct choice. Believing in each other and believing in what the staff information has given us is something that has got us here. It has served us in the most crucial time in the match. It was an absolutely beautiful performance.”

Team USA started Ball at setter, Lee and Millar at middle blocker, Priddy and Salmon at outside hitter and Stanley at opposite. Lambourne is the designated U.S. libero for the Olympic Games.  Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) and Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) subbed into all five sets.

Team USA converted 66 of 141 attacks into kills and turned in a 34.04 attack efficiency (kills minus errors divided by attacks), thanks to an 80.90 excellent reception percentage. Russia tallied a 38.9 attack efficiency for the afternoon. The U.S. serve played a key role in putting together stretches of points for the Americans. It compiled an 8-3 ace advantage and both teams committed 19 service errors. Russia held an 11-7 margin in blocks, but the U.S. was ahead in digs 51-44.

In the process, the U.S. won its first match over Russia in the current quadrennial. Team USA lost to Russia in the 2007 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round and in the 2007 FIVB World Cup final match, which prevented the Americans from qualifying for the Olympics at the first opportunity.

Maxim Mikhaylov led all scorers with 31 points for the Russians, including a match-high 28 kills and four blocks along with one ace. Stopping Mikhaylov proved to be a challenge, but Lee managed to block him for the winning match point.

“Lloy’s looking at me the whole time like, ‘Dude, do something to stop this guy,’” Lee said.

The first set started close with 11 ties and four lead changes through the first 22 points before Russia scored three unanswered points to take a 14-11 advantage. Stanley then took over the match single-handedly by scoring all seven U.S. points in a 7-2 run that included three aces and two back-row kills. Stanley scored an ace at 24-21 for his 10th point of the set as the Americans went on to win 25-22.

Russia led the second set 20-17 before the American mojo kicked in. Millar hammered a kill followed by a Ball block to close to within one at 20-19. After a Russian point at 21-19, the U.S. sided out with a Russian service error. McCutcheon subbed in Rooney to serve, and it paid immediate dividends as the U.S. scored the final five points with two Priddy kills, a Stanley kill and two Russian errors for a 25-21 victory.

Russia inched its way to a 14-11 lead in the third set after the score was tied 10-all. It widened the advantage to five points at 20-15 and reached set point at 24-21. Team USA saved all three set points with a Salmon kill and blocks from Millar and Stanley to tie the set in an attempt to win the match in three. However, Russia went on to win 27-25 without the U.S. gaining a set point.

Russia scored consecutive points to take a 16-13 lead into the second technical timeout of the fourth set. After that, both teams sided out each time to produce a 25-22 score sending the match into the tiebreaker.

Team USA jumped to a 5-2 lead in the fifth set on a 4-1 run that included kills from Priddy and Millar and capped by two Russian errors. However, Russian picked up a tie at 7-all with a 4-1 run of its own and took the lead at 11-10 on an ace. Trailing 12-11, Lee came up big with down the stretch. He tallied a kill and block on consecutive plays to yield a 13-12 advantage. After Russia tied the set at 13-all, Lee ended the match with a kill and block at 15-13. He scored four of his 12 points in the final five points of the match.

Team USA reached the semifinal match with a come-from-behind victory over Serbia in the quarterfinal round on Aug. 18. The Americans went undefeated in its five pool matches to obtain the top seed in Pool A.

The U.S. has reached the medal round for the second consecutive Olympic Games. The Americans finished fourth in 2000, just four years after going winless at the 2000 Olympic Games.

For more information on the U.S. Olympic Men’s Indoor Volleyball Team while in Beijing, visit http://volleyball.teamusa.org/event/event/519.

No. Name (Pos., Height, Age., Hometown, College)
1 - Lloy Ball (S, 6-8, 36, Woodburn, Ind., IPFW)
2 - Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, 25, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
4 - David Lee (MB, 6-8, 26, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 - Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, 33, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
8 - Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, 30, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 - Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, 30, Palmdale, Calif., BYU)
10 - Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, 32, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
12 - (captain) Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, 35, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State)
13 - Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, 30, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawai'i)
14 - Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, 26, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 - Gabe Gardner (OPP, 6-9, 32, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
18 - Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, 26, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon
Team Leader: Rob Browning
Interim Head Coach: Ron Larsen
Second Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Consultant Coach: Marv Dunphy
Technical Consultant: Jamie Morrison
Scout: Carl McGown
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

Wednesday, Aug. 20 – Quarterfinals at Capital Indoor Stadium
Russia def. Bulgaria, 20-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-21
Italy def. Poland, 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 26-28, 17-15
Brazil def. China, 25-17, 25-15, 25-16
USA def. Serbia, 20-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12

Friday, Aug. 22 – Semifinals at Capital Indoor Stadium
USA def. Russia, 25-22, 25-21, 25-27, 22-25, 15-13
Brazil def. Italy, 25-19 18-25 21-25 22-25

Sunday, Aug. 24 Capital Indoor Stadium
Russia vs. Italy (bronze medal), 10 a.m.
USA vs. Brazil (gold medal), Noon
Men's Award ceremony, 1:50 p.m.

Pool A Standings
USA 5-0
Italy 4-1
Bulgaria 3-2
China 2-3
Venezuela 1-4
Japan 0-5

Pool B Standings
Russia 4-1
Brazil 4-1
Poland 4-1
Germany 1-4
Serbia 2-3
Egypt 0-5

Sunday, Aug. 10 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Russia def. Serbia, 20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-14
Pool A: Italy def. Japan, 25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 25-17

Sunday, Aug. 10 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool A: USA def. Venezuela, 25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 21-25, 15-10
Pool B: Brazil def. Egypt, 25-19, 25-15, 25-18
Pool A: Bulgaria def. China, 25-20, 25-21, 26-28, 25-19
Pool B: Poland def. Germany, 25-17, 33-31, 25-20

Tuesday, Aug. 12 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Russia def. Germany, 25-27, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 16-14
Pool B: Poland def. Egypt, 25-21, 25-18, 25-10

Tuesday, Aug. 12 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool A: USA def. Italy, 24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21
Pool B: Brazil def. Serbia, 25-27, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21
Pool A: China def. Venezuela 25-21, 21-25, 16-25, 25-21, 16-14
Pool A: Bulgaria def. Japan, 29-27, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19

Thursday, Aug. 14 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool A: Italy def. Venezuela, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21
Pool B: Germany def. Egypt, 29-27, 25-21, 25-21

Thursday, Aug. 14 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool B: Russia def. Brazil, 22-25, 26-24, 31-29, 25-19
Pool B: Poland def. Serbia, 31-29, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21
Pool A: China def. Japan, 25-20, 25-23, 17-25, 16-25, 15-10
Pool A: USA def. Bulgaria, 27-29, 25-21, 25-14, 26-24

Saturday, Aug. 16 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool A: USA def. China, 25-22, 25-12, 25-18
Pool B: Russia def. Egypt, 25-19, 25-14, 25-18

Saturday, Aug. 16 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool B: Serbia def. Germany, 25-21, 27-25, 24-26, 25-23
Pool A: Italy def. Bulgaria, 25-20, 25-21, 25-16
Pool B: Brazil def. Poland, 30-28, 25-19, 25-19
Pool A: Venezuela def. Japan, 25-23, 25-21, 25-23

Monday, Aug. 18 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool A: Bulgaria def. Venezuela, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-22
Pool B: Brazil def. Germany, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23

Monday, Aug. 18 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool B: Poland def. Russia, 17-25, 26-24, 24-26, 25-23, 15-12
Pool B: Serbia def. Egypt, 25-16, 25-13, 25-17
Pool A: Italy def. China, 25-17, 25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 16-14
Pool A: USA def. Japan, 25-18, 25-12, 25-21