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U.S. Men's A2 Team Ready for Pan Am Cup

May 23, 2010, 8:04 p.m. (ET)

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

Pan American Cup matches will be shown live at www.mediasports.tv.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 23, 2010) – USA Volleyball has announced the U.S. Men’s A2 Volleyball Team that will compete at the Pan American Cup, which will take place May 24-29 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The United States is the two time defending champion of the Pan American Cup and has won it three times since it started in 2006. Mexico won in 2007.

Eight players on the 14-man roster have played for past A2 and/or U.S. Men’s National Teams. They include setters Tyler Hildebrand (Tempe, Ariz.) and Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.); outside hitters Matt McKinney (Santa Ynez, Calif.), Robert Tarr (Cape Canaveral, Fla.) and Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.); opposite Dean Bittner (Lakewood, Calif.); middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.); and libero Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.).

Bittner was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 Pan Am Cup. Hildebrand and Jablonsky are also on the roster for the 2010 FIVB World League, which begins on June 4.

The team also features two players who just completed their college careers by playing each other in the final of the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championship: Stanford setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) and Penn State middle blocker Matt Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.).

Shoji was the 2010 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Men’s Division I-II National Player of the Year and was also named co-Most Outstanding Players of the NCAA tournament. Lipsitz was an AVCA All-American and also a member of the 2010 NCAA All-Tournament Team.

Outside hitter J.D. Schleppenbach (Ventura, Calif.) also just finished his senior season with Pepperdine.

Libero Andrew McGuire (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) just finished his junior season at UC Santa Barbara and opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) just finished his sophomore year at UC Irvine after redshirting his freshman year.

Middle blocker Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) rounds out the roster.

The team’s head coach for the second straight year will be Rick McLaughlin, head men’s volleyball coach at UC Santa Barbara. He will be assisted by John Hawks, the assistant men’s coach at Long Beach State, and Brian Baise, the men’s head coach at Harvard University.

“We are a good team and I am looking forward to the competition," McLaughlin said at a press conference on Sunday. "I feel confident of achieving the same success we had in the past years. We trained for two weeks and are in good shape.”

Teams competing this year are: Brazil, Colombia and Canada in Pool A, Puerto Rico, Mexico and the United States in Pool B and Dominican Republic, Argentina and Venezuela in Pool C.

The Pan American Cup begins May 24, but the U.S. Men will play their first pool-play match on May 25 against Mexico. On May 26 they will play Puerto Rico.

2010 U.S. Pan American Cup Roster

No. Name (Position, Height, Weight, Hometown, College)

1 Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, 162, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
2 Robert Tarr (OH, 6-6, 200, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)
3 Matt McKinney (OH, 6-9, 225, Santa Ynez, Calif., UCLA)
4 J.D. Schleppenbach (OH, 6-4, 198, Ventura, Calif., Pepperdine)
5 Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, 187, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
6 Dean Bittner (Opp, 6-7, 187, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7 Max Lipsitz (MB, 6-7, 209, Williamsville, N.Y., Penn State)
8 Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, 194, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10 David Smith (MB, 6-7, 190, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
11 Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-5, 196, Mesa, Ariz., Long Beach State)
12 Carson Clark (Opp, 6-5, 205, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
13 Theo Brunner (MB, 6-7, 205, Ridgefield, Conn., UC Santa Barbara)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, 205, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
19 Andy McGuire (L, 6-0, 160, Manhattan Beach, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)

Head Coach: Rick McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara)
Team Manager: Chris Birch (Penn State)
Assistant Coach: John Hawks (Long Beach State)
Therapist/Trainer: Brian Baise (Harvard)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Birch (Penn State)

Tournament Schedule and Results (All times EDT)

Pool A
May 24:  Brazil def. Colombia, 25-17, 25-14, 24-26, 25-23
May 25, 7 p.m.: Canada vs. Brazil
May 26, 4 p.m.: Colombia vs. Canada

Pool B
May 24, 9 p.m.: Puerto Rico def. Mexico, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18
May 25, 9 p.m.: Mexico vs. USA
May 26, 9 p.m.: USA vs. Puerto Rico

Pool C
May 24: Argentina def. Dominican Republic, 25-19, 26-24, 25-22
May 25, 4 p.m.: Argentina vs. Venezuela
May 26, 7 p.m.: Venezuela vs. Dominican Republic

May 27, 4 p.m.: Classification 9
May 27, 7 and 9 p.m.: Quarterfinals

May 28, 4 p.m.: Classification 7/8
May 28, 7 and 9 p.m.: Semifinals

May 29, 4 p.m.: Classification 5/6
May 29, 7 p.m.: Third-place match
May 29, 9 p.m.: Championship match