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U.S. Men to Play Cuba for NORCECA Gold

Oct. 17, 2009, 12:21 a.m. (ET)

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

ANAHEIM, Calif. (Oct. 16, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s Volleyball Team will play Cuba in the gold medal match of the NORCECA Continental Championship on Saturday after sweeping Puerto Rico, 25-16, 25-23, 25-22 in Friday night’s semifinal in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

Team USA (4-0) will play Cuba (4-0) at 5 p.m. PDT. The winner of the match will qualify for the Grand Champions Cup in November in Japan. Puerto Rico will play Canada for the bronze medal. Cuba swept Canada in the other semifinal match, 25-22, 25-16, 25-21.

The medal matches will be available for viewing online at www.mediasports.tv/portal/ (a fee is required to view the matches).

David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) led the U.S. scoring effort with 15 points on 13 kills, one block and one ace. His hitting percentage was 81.25 (13 of 16 with no faults). Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) added 13 points on 11 kills and two blocks. He completed 11 of 18 kill attempts (61 percent) with one fault. Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) contributed eight points on seven kills and one block.

“It wasn’t the easiest match but our players kept the composure and Sean Rooney came off the bench to help us win the second set,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “Cuba is a very talented team with many different weapons and tomorrow we need to play better than today.”

Victor Rivera scored 14 points on 14 kill for Puerto Rico. Hector Soto added 12 points on 11 kills and one block.

“We played very good team volleyball and dictated the tempo of the match,” U.S. Team Captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) said. “We had a real good practice yesterday and it set the tone for us.”

Among other U.S. scorers, Andy Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) had seven points on five kills and two blocks. Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) totaled six points on five kills and one block. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) added two points on one kill and one block. Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) contributed one point on one block.

As a team, the U.S. Men completed 42 of 93 kill attempts (45 percent) with 10 faults. Team USA out-blocked Puerto Rico 9-2. Each team had one ace. However the United States had 11 serving errors while Puerto Rico had five.

The United States was credited with 36 excellent receptions on 58 attempts with just one error. Priddy had 16 excellents and no errors on 21 attempts. Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) had 12 excellents and one error on 20 attempts.

Lambourne was credited with 12 digs and five faults on 20 attempts. Hansen was credited with 27 running sets.

Knipe started Priddy and Salmon at outside hitter, Lee and Hein at middle blocker, Patak at opposite, Hansen at setter and Lambourne at libero.

Rooney substituted for Salmon in the second set and started the third. Hoff and Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) played as substitutes.

The U.S. Men dominated the first set, taking and 8-3 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO), scoring on two kills by Salmon, two from Patak, one from Priddy and two kills and an ace by Lee. Puerto Rico struggled to get its offense on track and the United States led 16-11 at the second TTO. A U.S. error made it 16-12, but Team USA scored twice on a Priddy kill and Puerto Rico error to go ahead 18-12. Puerto Rico called timeout and the scored two straight points on a U.S. serving error and a kill by Rivera. But the U.S. Men responded with three straight points on two kills and a block to go ahead 21-14. Team USA reached set point at 24-16 on a Priddy kill, and then won the set on Puerto Rico’s error.

Puerto Rico started strong in the second set and took a 7-5 lead before the United States scored three straight points, including a kill by Hein and a Patak block, to reach the TTO with an 8-7 lead. The two teams battled back and forth. Team USA managed a two-point lead at 15-13, scoring on a Priddy kill and Puerto Rico error. But Puerto Rico came back with two Rivera kills to tie the score, and then went ahead 17-15 on two U.S. errors. A Soto kill made it 18-15. Knipe substituted Rooney for Salmon, but Puerto Rico still held the lead at 19-16. The United States scored two straight points on a Lee kill and Puerto Rico error to pull to within one at 19-18. Puerto Rico called timeout, but Rooney came out and tied the score with a kill. Again, the teams battled back and forth and the score was tied at 21-21 on a Lee kill. That would be the last point that the United States scored on offense as it scored the final four points on Puerto Rico errors. Team USA reached set point first at 24-22 on a PR attack error. Enrique Escalante’s kill made it 24-23, but Escalante’s serving error won the set for the United States.

The U.S. Men took an 8-5 lead in the third set, scoring on two kills by Lee, one each from Hein and Hein and Rooney and on blocks by Priddy and Hansen. They extended the lead to 9-5 before Puerto Rico scored twice to make it 9-7. With the United States winning 11-8, Puerto Rico scored three straight points to tie the score. Knipe called timeout and the U.S. scored on a Puerto Rico error. The two teams battled back and forth. Team USA reached the second TTO first at 16-15 on a Patak kill and extended it to 17-15 on a Puerto Rico error. Puerto Rico scored on a U.S. error, but the United States scored three in a row on a Puerto Rico error and a kill and a block by Rooney to go up 20-16. Puerto Rico scored on two straight Rivera kills to pull to within two. But Knipe called timeout and Priddy came back in and got a kill to help the United States hold the lead. Team USA reached match point first at 24-21 on a Priddy kill.  Rivera came back with a kill, but Priddy ended the match with a final strike.

Click here to view the official P2 statistics.

Click here to view the official P3 statistics.

Click here to read Bill Neville's blog.

Click here for the U.S. Men’s NORCECA Media Guide

NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship
Oct. 12-17 in Bayamon, Puerto Rico

U.S. Men’s Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)

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)
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 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)
16 Andy Hein (MB, 611, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
17 Jonathan Winder (S, 6-8, Irvine, Calif., Pepperdine)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe
Team Manager: Bill Neville
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato
Therapist/Trainer: Charlie Sullivan
Team Doctor: Andrew Gregory
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson
Medical Support: Aaron Brock

Pool Play Schedule (All times PDT)
Group A
Oct. 12
Cuba def. Dominican Republic, 25-17, 25-15, 25-14
Puerto Rico def. Barbados, 25-9, 25-16, 25-18
Oct. 13
Cuba def. Barbados, 25-10, 25-11, 25-16
Puerto Rico def. Dominican Republic, 25-18, 25-20, 25-19
Oct. 14
Dominican Republic def. Barbados, 21-15, 25-17, 25-22, 25-21
Cuba def. Puerto Rico, 25-21, 25-22, 25-20

Group B
Oct. 12
USA def. Mexico, 25-15, 28-26, 25-16
Canada def. Panama, 25-13, 25-23, 25-19
Oct. 13
Canada def. Mexico, 21-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-12
USA def. Panama, 25-13, 25-15, 25-8
Oct. 14
Mexico def. Panama, 25-19, 25-14, 25-21
USA def. Canada, 21-15, 25-17, 25-22, 25-21

Group A Standings
Cuba 3-0
Puerto Rico 2-1
Dominican Republic 1-2
Barbados 0-3

Group B Standings
USA 3-0
Canada 2-1
Mexico 1-2
Panama 0-3

Oct. 15 Quarterfinals
Canada def. Dominican Republic, 21-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 15-13
Puerto Rico def. Mexico, 25-15, 25-17, 25-20

Oct. 16 Classification 5-8
Mexico def. Barbados, 21-25, 25-18, 25-19, 29-27
Dominican Republic def. Panama, 25-19, 25-18, 25-22

Oct. 16 Semifinals
Cuba def. Canada, 25-22, 25-16, 25-21
USA def. Puerto Rico, 25-16, 25-23, 25-22

Oct. 17 (All times PDT)
11 a.m. Seventh-place: Barbados vs. Panama
1 p.m. Fifth-place: Mexico vs. Dominican Republic
3 p.m. Bronze medal: Canada vs. Puerto Rico
5 p.m. Gold medal: USA vs. Cuba