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U.S. Men's Focus is on Worlds Qualifier

Aug. 14, 2009, 12:57 p.m. (ET)

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

IRVINE, Calif. (Aug. 14, 2009) – U.S. Men’s Volleyball Head Coach Alan Knipe and his team are looking forward to playing true home matches on Aug. 15-17 when they will play in the 2010 World Championship Qualifier for NORCECA Group F at the Bren Center on the campus of UC Irvine in California.

But they also know that playing at home can bring distractions that make it difficult to focus on the match in front of you.

“In some ways, it can be easier to play on the road, when you’re a little more structured,” Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “The guys have 100 percent of their attention on the match all the time. We are going to need our guys to play with focus at home. I’d like to play here a lot more.”

Ranked second in the world and first among NORCECA teams, the U.S. Men will be playing Dominican Republic (No. 4 in NORCECA), Guatemala (No. 8) and Panama (No. 15) with the winner qualifying for the 2010 FIVB World Championships in Italy. The second-place team will travel to Mexico next week for another chance to qualify.

Team USA last played the Dominican Republic at the 2008 NORCECA Men’s Olympic Continental Qualifier in Puerto Rico. Earlier this year, the U.S. Men’s A2 team defeated the Dominican Republican twice at the Pan American Cup. The DR went on to finish third, defeating Puerto Rico in the bronze medal match.

Panama finished sixth at the 2009 Pan American Cup, defeating Guatemala in the final match.

But for the U.S. Men, this weekend’s matches are about improving on the team’s performance at the 2009 World League, where it achieved its goal of advancing to the final round, but then placed sixth overall.

“There are a few things we’ve been working on since we got back from World League,” Knipe said. “It’s all about trying to build and continue to play better. There are lots of guys on our roster who need more experience.”

The U.S. roster includes six players from the team that was competing for a gold medal in Beijing one year ago this week: Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.), Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai’i), Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.).  

Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) was on the 2004 Olympic Team.

The other five U.S. players on the roster – Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.), Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), Andrew Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.), David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) – gained significant international experience at this year’s World League tournament.

Tickets for the event will be $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12. Groups of 15 or more can get tickets for $8 each and an all-session pass is $25. Tickets are on sale now at the Bren Center box office at (949) 824-5000 or at TicketMaster.com.

The City of Anaheim is the Official Host City for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball teams.  The Men’s Team relocated to Anaheim from Colorado Springs, CO in 2006, and the Women’s Team followed in 2009, with both teams citing the advantages of training in Southern California, unequivocally the volleyball capitol of the country.  The Men’s Team won the gold medal, and the Women’s team the silver medal, at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.  Anaheim serves as the training headquarters for the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams, and in partnership with USA Volleyball, will further promote the City throughout the volleyball and Olympic sport communities.  USA Volleyball is the National Governing Body for the sport of volleyball in the United States, and is recognized as such by the Federation International de Volleyball (FIVB) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).  Both the Men’s and Women’s Teams will train in Anaheim through the 2016 Olympic Games.  For more information on the City of Anaheim, please visit www.anaheim.net.  For more information on USA Volleyball, please visit www.usavolleyball.org.

2010 World Championship Qualifier for NORCECA Pool F
Aug. 15-17 in Irvine, Calif.

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)
7 Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
8 Andrew Hein (MB, 6-11, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
10 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
13 Clay Stanley (Opp, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai’i, Hawai’i)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
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: Chris Koutures
Medical Support: Aaron Brock
Technical Consultant: Marv Dunphy

Match Schedule (All times PT)

Aug. 15
5 p.m.: Dominican Republic vs. Panama
7:30 p.m.: USA vs. Guatemala

Aug. 16
5 p.m.: Guatemala vs. Dominican Republic
7:30 p.m.: USA vs. Panama

Aug. 17
5 p.m.: Guatemala vs. Panama
7:30 p.m.: USA vs. Dominican Republic