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U.S. Men to Help Test London Volleyball Facilities

July 19, 2011, 7:14 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 19, 2011) –  Members of the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team will help London get ready for the 2012 Olympic Games this week when they compete at the London Volleyball International Invitational on July 20-24 at Earls Court in Great Britain.

Earls Court in west London is where the indoor volleyball tournament at the 2012 Olympic Games will take place.

The team includes two members of the 2008 Olympic men’s volleyball team that won the gold medal – setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Riley Salmon (League City, Texas), a former outside hitter who will be making his debut at libero.

Other players making the trip “across the pond” include outside hitters Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.), Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Robert Tarr (Cape Canaveral, Fla.); middle blockers David Smith (Saugus, Calif.), Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio); opposites Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) and Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) and setter Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.).

U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said the focus in picking the team was playing time.

“Part of the team is guys who have traveled with us a lot for World league but didn’t end up playing a lot or starting a lot,” Knipe said. “For some other guys, maybe they’ve been on the roster but haven’t made the final 12 or 14.”

The other teams competing at the tournament will be Brazil, Egypt, Great Britain, Mexico and Serbia. Each team will play every other team once.

Salmon, who last played with the U.S. team as an outside hitter at the 2010 World Championship in Italy, is hoping his new position will give him some longevity with the team.

“I like it a lot,” he said of playing libero. “I like playing with the guys. That’s something that I’ve always enjoyed.

“The position is not that much different for me. I was always a defensive specialist. Any offensive output we got from me, we considered it extra.”

Salmon is hoping his years of experience can help the team continue to improve.

“I think our goal is just to be a little more cohesive as a team,” he said “I think my job will be to bring cohesiveness back to where it was in 2008. If we can get better in between the time we get there and the time we leave, the results will speak for themselves.”

The U.S. will open against Serbia on Wednesday (July 20) at 11 a.m. PT. It will play Egypt on Thursday (7 a.m. PT), Mexico on Friday (11 a.m. PT), Great Britain on Saturday (11 a.m. PT) and Brazil on Sunday (7 a.m. PT).

The first opportunity for the U.S. Men's National Team, the 2008 defending Olympic champion, to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games will come at the FIVB World Cup on Nov. 20-Dec. 4 in Japan. The U.S. Men must qualify for the World Cup by finishing first or second at the NORCECA Men's Continental Qualifier on Aug. 29-Sept. 3 in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

London Volleyball International Invitational
July 20-24 at Earls Court in Great Britain

U.S. Men’s National Team Roster

No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
3. Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
4. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
6. Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., USC)
10. Riley Salmon (L, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
13. Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
14. Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18. Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
19. Robert Tarr (OH, 6-6, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Manager: Bill Neville
Assistant Coach:
Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Therapist/Trainer: Mike Sealy
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

Tournament Schedule and Results (all times PT)

July 20
7 a.m. Egypt vs. Brazil
9 a.m. Mexico vs. Great Britain
11 a.m. USA vs. Serbia

July 21
7 a.m. USA vs. Egypt
9 a.m. Mexico vs. Brazil
11 a.m. Great Britain vs. Serbia

July 22
7 a.m. Egypt vs. Serbia
9 a.m. Great Britain vs. Brazil
11 a.m. USA vs. Mexico

July 23
7 a.m. Brazil vs. Serbia
9 a.m. Egypt vs. Mexico
11 a.m. USA vs. Great Britain

July 24
7 a.m. Mexico vs. Serbia
9 a.m. Egypt vs. Great Britain
11 a.m. USA vs. Brazil