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U.S. Men Fall to Poland 3-1 in World League

July 07, 2013, 2:02 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans, Manager, Communications, Phone: (719) 228-6800, E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org
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WROCLAW, Poland (July 7, 2013) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team saw its hopes for making the FIVB World League Final Round take a hit as it lost a second straight match to Poland on Sunday, 25-23, 17-25, 25-21, 25-23 before a full house of 6,000 at Centennial Hall in Wroclaw.

The U.S. World League pool play record falls to 4-4 with 12 points. Poland improves to 4-4 and moves into third place with 13 points. Brazil sits in first place in Pool A with a 7-1 record and 19 points. Bulgaria is in second at 5-3 with 14 points.

The U.S. Men will travel to Brazil on Tuesday for their final two pool play matches on July 13-14. Poland will travel to Bulgaria for its final weekend. For the U.S. to move into the top two teams in Pool A and qualify for the Final Round in Argentina, it needs to defeat Brazil twice and it needs Bulgaria and Poland to split their two matches.

“At this point with this team, we’re close but we’re not skilled enough,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.) said. “Tonight, we did not serve the way we needed to serve and didn’t pass the way we needed to pass. We have some nice elements, but we have yet to put it all together.”

The U.S. was hurt by team errors on Sunday as it committed 31 compared to Poland’s 22. Nineteen of the errors came on serves. The U.S. led in attacks (57-50) and aces (7-5). The teams were tied in blocks (6-6).

Poland reached match point in the fourth set at 24-19, but then Piotr Nowakowski served into the net. U.S. outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) came back with three straight kills to pull the U.S. to within one at 24-23. But Poland’s Jakub Jarosz gave Poland the victory with a spike.

“We struggled with concentration and focus throughout the entire match,” Anderson said. “If we could take those last six or seven points and play that way the entire match then the outcome could be a little bit different.”

Anderson led the U.S. with 22 points on a match-high 20 kills (55.6 kill percent, .500 hitting efficiency) and two blocks. Opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) added 14 points on 13 attacks and one ace. Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) contributed 11 points on six attacks, one block and a match-high four aces. Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) totaled 10 points on seven attacks, two blocks and one ace.

Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu), who leads all World League players in digs, finished with 19 and was also credited with five excellent receptions.

Jakum Jarosz led Poland with 17 points on 15 attacks and two aces.

Among other U.S. scorers, outside hitter Tony Ciarelli (Huntington Beach, Calif.) scored five points on five attacks. Setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu) who shared setting duties with Kyle Caldwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) had five points on three attacks, one block and one ace. Caldwell, outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) and opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) each scored one point with one attack.

Caldwell was credited with 16 running sets on 51 attempts. Shoji was credited with 13 running sets on 44 attempts. They combined to set the U.S. to a 47.5 kill percent and a .342 hitting efficiency.

Speraw started Anderson and Ciarelli at outside hitter, Holt and Smith at middle blocker, Clark at opposite, Caldwell at setter and Erik Shoji at libero. Kawika Shoji substituted for Caldwell in the first set and started the second and third. Caldwell substituted in the third and started the fourth, but Shoji later returned. Lotman started the fourth set for Ciarelli. Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) substituted for Smith in the fourth set and opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) substituted for Clark.

The teams opened the first set very close with Poland taking an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO) after scoring on two straight kills. Leading 8-7, Poland scored on a Winiarski spike, U.S. net violation and ace from Bartosz Kurek to lead 11-7. Poland extended its lead to five at 17-12 when the U.S. scored four straight points behind the serving of Holt, who had an ace in the run. Poland reached set point first at 24-20. The U.S. scored on a Holt block, Poland hitting error and ace from Clark before serving into the net and losing the first set 25-23.

Poland led 7-4 in the second set when Anderson scored with a kill and a block to pull the U.S. to within one at 7-6 before Poland used a spike to lead 8-6 at the first TTO. Poland was leading 10-8 when Smith scored on a quick kill and Anderson added a block to tie the score. With Poland leading 11-10, Smith scored with a kill and an ace to give the U.S. its first lead of the match. It led 16-14 at the second TTO. Poland tied the score at 16-16 when Kawika Shoji dumped the ball and then took the serve for a five-point scoring run that put the U.S. Men ahead 21-16. Poland never rallied and the U.S. Men took the set 25-17.

Poland opened an 8-5 lead in the third set as the U.S. scored on two kills from Anderson, one from Ciarelli and a couple Poland miscues. It continued to lead 16-13 at the second TTO. The U.S. never rallied and Poland reached set point at 24-20 and, after a service error, won the set on a kill from Michal Winiarski.

Despite three service errors, the U.S. kept things close to open the fourth set thanks to kills from Clark, Smith, Holt and Caldwell and Poland held a slim 8-7 lead at the first TTO. With Poland leading 12-11, the U.S. hit the ball out of bounds and Poland added a block to pull ahead 14-11. The European side led 16-12 at the second TTO. Poland reached match point at 24-19, but Nowakowski’s serve went into the net. The U.S. fought off three more match points all with kills by Anderson before Poland’s Jarosz ended it with a spike.

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, 6-6, 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: Poland def. USA, 25-22, 19-25, 13-25, 30-28, 18-16
July 7: Poland def. USA, 25-23, 17-25, 25-21, 25-23
July 13-14: USA at Brazil, Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro