U.S. Men Rested and Ready for World League Final Round

July 22, 2008, 4:44 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800

ANAHEIM, Calif. (July 22, 2008) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team goes into Wednesday’s FIVB World League Final-Round match (9:15 a.m. PDT) against Poland in Rio de Janeiro with more on its mind than money.

Yes, the World League champion gets $1 million. But even more valuable to the U.S. Men is the opportunity to see Brazil, Japan, Poland, Serbia and Russia in action. All five teams have qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games, although only Japan is in the same Olympic pool as Team USA.

U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) hasn’t forgotten that two weeks from Sunday, his team will play its first Olympic match in Beijing.

“We are very happy to have made the Final Round,” McCutcheon said. “It will be an important part of our preparation for Beijing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just a test. The World League is a really big event. Poland and Serbia will be fantastic opponents for us.”

The U.S. Men go into the Final Round on a two-match losing streak after losing twice to host Bulgaria in their last two pool-play contests. But the United States did not take four of its starters – setter Lloy Ball (Fort Wayne, Ind.), middle blocker Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.), outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) and opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai’i) – to Varna because it already had enough victories to win its pool.

All four will play in the Final Round.

“During the Intercontinental Round, the USA could alternate the players in the matches,” U.S. Team Captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) said. “That was really good for us so that we could both prepare and get the necessary rest. Now, it is time to do our best and keep in shape for Beijing.”

Brazil, Russia, Poland and the United States all advanced to the Final Round by winning their pools, although Brazil would have advanced anyway as the host country.

Serbia advanced as the second-place team to Brazil in Pool A and Japan, which finished third to Poland and China in Pool D, was given the wild card berth into the Final Round by the FIVB.

The six teams have been divided into two pools. The top two teams in each pool will advance to the semifinals. In Pool F, the U.S. Men will face Poland (ranked No. 5 in the world) on Wednesday and Serbia (No. 8) on Thursday (9:15 a.m. PDT). Serbia will play Poland on Friday (9:15 a.m. PDT).

In Pool E, Russia (ranked No. 2 in the world) will play Brazil (No. 1) on Wednesday (6 a.m. PDT). Japan (No. 12) will play Russia on Thursday (6 a.m. PDT) and Brazil will play Japan on Friday (6 a.m. PDT).

The Pool F winner will face the second-place team from Pool E in the first semifinal on Saturday (6 a.m. PDT) and the Pool E winner will play the second-place team from Pool F in the second semifinal (9:15 a.m. PDT).

The bronze-medal match will be played on Sunday at 5:30 a.m. PDT, while the gold-medal match will follow at 8:30 a.m. PDT.

Brazil has won the last five World League titles and seven titles since the competition began in 1990.

The United States has finished third at World League in two years, 1992 and 2007. In 2007, the U.S. Men lost to Russia in the semifinal and defeated host Poland in the third-place match.

This year's Final Round will be played at the Ginasio do Maracananzinho, which also hosted the volleyball competition at the 2007 Pan American Games, where the U.S. Men finished second to Brazil.

View the U.S. Men's World League Media Guide at www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/08WL_MNTMediaGuide.pdf.

The U.S. World League site is www.usavolleyball.org/national/08WL.asp.

The FIVB World League site is www.fivb.org/EN/Volleyball/Competitions/WorldLeague/2008.

2008 FIVB World League Final Round
U.S. Men's Roster

1 Lloy Ball (S, 6-8, Fort Wayne, Ind., IPFW)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
8 Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Palmdale, Calif., BYU)
10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
12 C Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, Park Ridge, Ill., 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 Gabe Gardner (OPP, 6-9, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon
Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen
Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Team Doctor: Michael Wynn
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

Schedule (all times PDT)

Pool E
July 23: Russia vs. Brazil, 6 a.m.
July 24: Japan vs. Russia, 6 a.m.
July 25: Brazil vs. Japan, 6 a.m.

Pool F
July 23: Serbia vs. USA, 9:15 a.m.
July 24: USA vs. Poland, 9:15 a.m.
July 25: Poland vs. Serbia, 9:15 a.m.

Semifinals – July 26
6 a.m.: Pool F winner vs. Pool E second place
9:15 a.m.: Pool E winner vs. Pool F second place

Finals – July 27
5:30 a.m.: Bronze medal match
8:30 a.m.: Gold medal match

World League Past Results

1990: Italy (USA, fourth in pool)
1991: Italy (USA, third in pool)
1992: Italy (USA, first in pool, third overall)
1993: Brazil (USA, fifth in pool)
1994: Italy (USA, fourth in pool)
1995: Italy (USA, fourth in pool)
1996: Netherlands (USA, DNP)
1997: Italy (USA, DNP)
1998: Cuba (USA, DNP)
1999: Italy (USA, DNP)
2000: Italy (USA, first in pool, sixth overall)
2001: Brazil (USA, third in pool, tied-ninth overall)
2002: Russia (USA, DNP)
2003: Brazil (USA, DNP)
2004: Brazil (USA, DNP)
2005: Brazil (USA, DNP)
2006: Brazil (USA, 10th)
2007: Brazil (USA, first in pool, third overall)