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U.S. Men Remain Undefeated at Olympics, Down Bulgaria 3-1

Aug. 14, 2008, 1:33 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

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

BEIJING (Aug. 14, 2008) - The U.S. Olympic Men’s Indoor Volleyball Team, ranked third in the FIVB world ranking, rallied to defeat fourth-ranked Bulgaria 27-29, 25-21, 25-14, 26-24 Thursday at Beijing’s Capital Indoor Stadium on the third day of pool play.

Team USA’s record stands at 3-0 in Pool A, while Bulgaria falls to 2-1. The Americans, who next play host China at 10 a.m. on Aug. 16, are in first place as the lone undefeated team and guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals with the victory. China and Italy are tied for second with 2-1 records in Pool A, while Venezuela and Japan are winless in three matches.

“In the last match against Italy, we came out pretty slow,” captain Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) said. “We did it again today. We started to play good volleyball, but we did it way too late in the first game.”

U.S. Interim Head Coach Ron Larsen echoed his captain’s sentiments after the match.

“We started slow, but got better as the game progressed,” Larsen said. “I thought we did a wonderful job of playing some block defense against them. We started digging a lot of balls and blocking, and I thought we started transitioning really well.”

Clay Stanley (Honolulu) led the American offense with 21 points via 18 kills on 32 swings, two blocks and an ace. Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) charted 17 points with 14 kills on 17 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) contributed 13 kills and two aces for 15 points. David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) tallied a match-high seven blocks to go with four kills for 11 points. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) added eight points, while Lloy Ball (Woodburn, Ind.) tacked on three blocks and three kills for six points and 32 assists.

“For us, it’s wonderful to play a good volleyball match against a quality opponent such as Bulgaria,” Larsen said. “They’re a physical team. They have some big hitters. They play at a high level and put up a big block. For us, it’s ideal to come in here and compete hard.”

Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) turned in 24 excellent service receptions on 44 attempts to lead the U.S. He also added six digs in the victory. Salmon produced a team-high eight digs, while Priddy tallied 13 excellent receptions on 21 attempts to go with seven digs.

The U.S. started Ball at setter, Priddy and Salmon at outside hitter, Lee and Millar at middle blocker and Stanley at opposite. Lambourne is the designated American libero for the tournament. Hoff subbed into the match in both the first and fourth sets, while Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) came off the bench in the second and fourth sets. Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) was a reserve in the first and third sets, while Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) entered late in the third set.

The U.S. produced a 37.5 attack efficiency on the evening while limiting Bulgaria to a 21.1 efficiency. Team USA held a 15-12 block advantage to offset a 40-34 dig disadvantage. Both teams served four aces, but USA committed 16 service errors to Bulgaria’s 12.

According to Hoff, the slow start was eerily similar to the Americans’ victory over Italy two days ago.

“I think this match mirrored Italy,” Hoff said. “We got better and better handling the ball as the match went on. I’d rather play better late than early.

“We’re going to play a lot more volleyball games in the future here. You just want to know how the team is going to react.”

Matey Kaziyski led Bulgaria with 18 points, while Vladimir Nikolov tallied 13 points in the loss.

Earlier today, Italy defeated Venezuela 25-21, 25-20, 25-21, Germany topped Egypt 29-27, 25-21, 25-21, Russia edged world top-ranked Brazil 22-25, 26-24, 31-29, 25-19, Poland defeated Serbia 31-29, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21 and host China edged Japan 25-20, 25-23, 17-25, 16-25, 15-10.

In Pool B, Poland and Russia are undefeated at 3-0, followed by Brazil at 2-1. Germany is fourth in Pool B with a 1-2 record, while Serbia and Egypt have yet to win a match in three outings.

After its match against China, the U.S. concludes pool play on Aug. 18 versus Japan at 10 p.m.

For more information on the U.S. Olympic Men’s Indoor Volleyball Team while in Beijing, visit click here.

Team USA came back from a 12-8 deficit to take a 20-17 advantage in the first set. It picked up two set points, but Bulgaria saved both and picked up the 29-27 victory on its third set-point opportunity. The U.S. was hampered by seven service errors in the set with two at 23-all and 24-all. Stanley and Millar each scored six points in the opening set.

With the score tied at 10-all in the second set, the U.S. put together a 7-2 run with three points from Priddy to take a 17-2 advantage. Team USA’s defense picked up four points off the block in frustrating the Bulgarian attack in the second set. Priddy and Millar each totaled five points in the stanza.

The U.S., leading 8-7 in the third set, produced a 10-3 spurt with 5-0 and 4-0 runs in assuming an 18-10 lead. Stanley and Riley each scored two points in the 5-0 run to jump start the offense. The Americans scored seven blocks in the second set. Stanley paced Team USA with seven points in the third set.

Bulgaria led 12-9 in the fourth set before Team USA chipped away to tie it at 14-all, which included blocks from Priddy and Lee in the 5-2 run. After Bulgaria regained its two-point cushion at 17-15, Team USA scored five of the next six points with two Millar kills, a Ball block and two opponent errors for a 20-18 American advantage. The U.S. gained two match point opportunities at 24-22 after a Bulgarian service error. However, Bulgaria saved both chances to tie the set at 24-all. Millar answered with a kill and Stanley concluded the set at 26-24 with a kill.

No. Name (Pos., Height, Age., Hometown, College)

1 - Lloy Ball (S, 6-8, 36, Woodburn, Ind., IPFW)
2 - Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, 25, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
4 - David Lee (MB, 6-8, 26, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 - Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, 33, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
8 - Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, 30, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 - Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, 30, Palmdale, Calif., BYU)
10 - Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, 32, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
12 - (captain) Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, 35, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State)
13 - Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, 30, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawai'i)
14 - Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, 26, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 - Gabe Gardner (OPP, 6-9, 32, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
18 - Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, 26, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon
Team Leader: Rob Browning
Interim Head Coach: Ron Larsen
Second Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Consultant Coach: Marv Dunphy
Technical Consultant: Jamie Morrison
Scout: Carl McGown
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock

Schedule and Results
Aug. 10: USA def. Venezuela, 3-2 (25-19, 25-18, 22-25, 21-25, 15-10)
Aug. 12: USA def. Italy, 3-1 (24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21)
Aug. 14: USA def. Bulgaria, 3-1 (27-29, 25-21, 25-14, 26-24
Aug. 16 vs. China, 10 a.m., Beijing Institute of Technology
Aug. 18 vs. Japan, 10 p.m., Capital Indoor Stadium
Aug. 20 Quarterfinals
Aug. 22 Semifinals
Aug. 24 Gold and Bronze medal matches