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U.S. Men, Poland to Set Off World League Fireworks

July 04, 2013, 10:53 a.m. (ET)

David Smith, left, and Matt Anderson block against Argentina in Wichita, Kan.
  David Smith, left, and Matt Anderson put up a block against Argentina in Wichita, Kan.

B.J. Hoeptner Evans, Manager, Communications, Phone: (719) 228-6800, E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org
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KATOWICE, Poland (July 4, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team will try to make its own fireworks this July 4 weekend as it plays two FIVB World League matches in Poland on July 5 and 7.

The United States is 4-2 in World League, having gone 1-1 against Argentina, 2-0 against France and 1-1 versus Bulgaria. The U.S. is in third place behind Bulgaria (5-1) and Brazil (5-1). Poland is in fifth place at 2-4, having gone 0-2 against Brazil and France before beating Argentina twice last weekend.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.) was as concerned about his own young team’s reaction to its first international matches as he was to how Poland has been playing.

“For many of our player, this is the first time they’ve had to deal with jet lag,” Speraw said. “Those things matter. It really affects the way teams play.

“I think to this point Poland hasn’t played as well as they expected so they are going to come in with a lot of motivation. I’m sure we will find ourselves playing against a very good team.”

Spodek Arena in Katowice, where the U.S. and Poland will play the first of their two matches, is reportedly sold out. The arena seats around 10,000 people. More spectators are expected to watch the match on a large screen outside the arena.

“I’m excited for this,” U.S. Team Captain Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) said. “It’s sold out so there’s going to be a lot of energy. It’s always a great competition between us and Poland; friendly, but also fierce and fun.”

The U.S. and Poland have played each other 15 times in World League, with the U.S. Men holding an 8-7 advantage. Most recently, Poland defeated the U.S. Men in the finals of the 2012 World League Final Round, 25-17, 26-24, 25-20 in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Although the U.S. team in 2013 is much different from the 2012 squad, Polish Captain Marcin Mozdzonek said that his team is prepared for the matches.

“Our staff has prepared notes to prepare us for the U.S.,” Mozdzonek said through an interpreter. “The team isn’t that different from the way it used to be. We feel fully prepared.”

Anderson at outside hitter leads the U.S. in scoring and is 19th among all World League players with 99 points on 80 kill, 13 blocks and six aces. Anderson is 10th among all World League attackers with a 50.0 success percentage. Anderson is third in World League in excellent receptions with 107 and an efficiency percentage of 67.12.

Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) is second among U.S. scorers with 67 points on 56 attacks, six blocks and three aces. Lotman leads the World League in excellent receptions with 92 and an efficiency percentage of 70.25.

Opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) is third in scoring for the U.S. with 62 points on 51 attacks, one block and 10 aces. Clark is four in the World League in aces with an average of .43 per set.

U.S. libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) is fifth in World League in digs with 51 and an average of 2.22 per set.

Bartosz Kurek and Zbigniew Bartman lead Poland in scoring. Each has 86 points. Kurek has scored on 65 spikes, nine blocks and 12 aces. Bartman has added 79 kills, four blocks and three aces.

Poland’s Lukasz Zygadlo is third among all World League setters with an average of 9.14 running sets per set.

2013 U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team

12-Man Roster for FIVB World League on July 5 and 7 in Poland
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)
6 - Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7 - Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
8 - Kyle Caldwell (S, 6-9, Newport Beach, Calif., UCLA) 
9 - Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
10 - Tony Ciarelli (OH, 6-6, Huntington Beach, Calif., USC)
15 - Carson Clark (Opp, 6-8, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17 - Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18. Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA)
20 - David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
22 - Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Team Manager: Anton Willert (Berlin, Germany)
Assistant Coach: Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Mike Wall (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Andrea Becker (Martinez, Calif.)
Physiotherapist/Athletic trainer: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)
Doctor: Mike Shepard (Orange, Calif.)

2013 U.S. Men’s World League Schedule
June 7: Argentina def. USA, 25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 26-24
June 8: USA def. Argentina, 22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-16
June 14: USA def. France, 25-15, 29-27, 25-16
June 15: USA def. France, 22-25, 25-22, 24-26, 30-28, 15-9
June 28: USA def. Bulgaria, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21
June 29: Bulgaria def. USA, 25-20, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21
July 5: USA at Poland, Spodek in Katowice, Poland
July 7: USA at Poland, Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, Poland
July 13-14: USA at Brazil, Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro