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U.S. Men Serve Up Defeat of Italy

July 11, 2009, 11:10 p.m. (ET)

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

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (July 11, 2009) – If revenge is a dish best served cold, then the U.S. Men’s Volleyball team was stone cold on Saturday as it dished out eight aces and defeated Italy, 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21) in an FIVB World League match before 4,183 at the Sears Centre Arena.

After falling to Italy on Friday, Team USA had to win Saturday’s match in order to maintain its lead in Pool A. The winners of the four World League pools will advance to the final round in Belgrade, Serbia (July 22-26) along with host Serbia and an FIVB wild card pick. Saturday’s win improved the United States’ record to 7-3. Italy falls to 6-4.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will travel to Wichita, Kan., on July 17-18 to play Netherlands in their final World League pool play matches.

Hometown hero Sean Rooney, from nearby Wheaton, Ill., led all scorers on Saturday with 22 points on 19 kills, one block and two aces. Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) added 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace. Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) scored 11 points on 10 kills and one ace.

Michal Lasko led Italy with 16 points on 13 kills, two blocks and one ace. Simone Parodi scored 15 points on 12 kills, two blocks and one ace. Cristian Savani, Italy’s leading scorer on Friday was held to four points on four kills.

The U.S. scored on eight aces as opposed to two for Italy.

“The difference tonight was our serving,” said U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.). “It wasn’t just the aces. It was the opportunity to get their setter off the net and get them out of system.”

Team USA also avoided making service errors in key situations, as it had done on Friday.

Among other U.S. scorers, David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored 10 points on seven kills and three blocks. Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai’i) scored 10 points on six kills and a match-high four aces. Andy Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) scored five points on four kills and one block. David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) scored five points on three kills and two blocks. Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) scored one point on a solo block of Savani in the second set.

Suxho was credited with 29 running sets (assists) and one fault in 109 attempts.

Trying to shake things up a little from Friday, Knipe started Suxho at setter instead of Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), who did play as a serving substitute. He also started Patak at opposite, but brought Stanley into the match in each set and finally started Stanley in the fourth set.

“Evan has been playing well in World League and he deserved a chance to start,” Knipe said. “But when things started going badly, it wasn’t a hard decision to bring in Clay.”

Knipe also started Rooney and Touzinsky at outside hitter and Hein and Lee at middle blocker. Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) started at libero and was credited with 17 excellent receptions and no faults in 23 attempts.

Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) and Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) also played as substitutes.

In the first set, Italy held a slim 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO). But the United States did not back off and the score remained close. With the U.S. trailing 10-11, Touzinsky scored with a kill from the left. He took the serve and Team USA scored on a Rooney block and a Touzinsky ace. Italy called a timeout, but the damage was done. The United States increased the lead to 16-12 at the second TTO. Italy substituted setter Dragan Travica for Valerio Vermiglio and pulled to within two at 19-17. With the U.S. leading 20-18, a Patak kill put Team USA up by three. Patak took the serve and the U.S. scored two more straight points on kills from Patak and Rooney. Italy could not recover and Team USA won the set 25-19.

The second set looked like it would be a battle as well as Italy held an 8-7 lead at the first TTO. With the score tied 13-13, Italy took the lead on a U.S. hitting error and then scored the next four points behind the serving of Lasko, who had an ace in the run. A Patak kill ended the surge, but the United States could not catch up and Italy won the set, 25-18.

Italy once again held an 8-7 lead at the first TTO of the third set. The score stayed close until it was tied at 14-14. Team USA went ahead 15-14 on Rooney’s quick kill and scored again on a kill and block by Lee to lead 17-14. Parodi ended the rally with a kill, but Italy couldn’t score two straight points. Team USA reached set point first at 24-18, but Italy’s Emanuele Birarelli got the serve on a U.S. serving error. Italy scored four straight points, including kills by Andrea Sala and Lasko before Team USA won the set when Birarelli served into the net.

Team USA led the fourth set 8-6 at the first TTO. With the U.S. Men leading 11-10 Stanley took the serve and kept it for the next five points, including an ace. Team USA went into the second TTO with a 16-10 lead and Italy never cut the deficit to less than three points.

World League Tickets: Tickets for the matches in Wichita, Kan., (July 17-18 against Netherlands) are on sale.

For Wichita tickets, click here.

For more information on World League, please visit USA Volleyball’s World League web site at http://usavolleyball.org/event/event/573.

To visit the FIVB World League web site, click here.

2009 U.S. World League Roster for July 10-11
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
6 Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7 Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
8 Andrew Hein (MB, 6-11, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
13 Clay Stanley (Opp, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Hawai’i)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe
Team Manager: Rick McLaughlin
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato
Trainer/Therapist: John Hawks
Technical Coordinator:
Chris Jackson
Team Doctor: William Briner
Medical Support: Aaron Brock

Pool A Standings (as of July 10)

1 USA 7-3 (21 points)
2 ITA 6-4 (17 points)
3 NED 4-5 (13 points)
4 CHN 2-7 (6 points)

2009 FIVB World League Schedule and Results

Date: June 13-14
Opponent: Netherlands
Location: Rotterdam
June 13: Netherlands def. USA, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 26-24)
June 14: USA def. Netherlands, 3-2 (25-16, 30-32, 25-17, 20-25, 15-6)

Date: June 19 and 21
Opponent: Italy
Location: Florence and Catania
June 19: USA def. Italy, 3-1 (25-21, 30-28, 21-25, 25-21)
June 20: USA def. Italy, 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 25-20)

Date: June 26-27
Opponent: China
Location: San Jose State University Event Center Arena in San Jose, Calif.
June 26: USA def. China, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-21)
June 27: USA def. China, 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-22)

Date: July 4-5
Opponent: China
Location: Nanjing
July 4: China def. USA, 3-2 (25-19, 27-29, 18-25, 26-24, 15-12)
July 5: USA def. China, 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 25-12)

Date: July 10-11
Opponent: Italy
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
July 10: Italy def. USA, 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 26-24)
July 11: USA def. Italy, 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 25-21)

Date: July 17-18 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Netherlands
Location: Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Date: July 22-26
Event: Final Round (teams must qualify)
Opponents: TBD
Location: Belgrade, Serbia