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Players Offer Great Show at Scrimmage

May 05, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

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

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 4, 2012) – Players on the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team gave their all in an intra-squad scrimmage on Friday at the Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif.

The scrimmage was the final preparation for the NORCECA Men’s Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament, which will be held May 7-12 at the Pyramid.

In the end, the Red Team, led by outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) with 31 points, defeated the Blue Team, 23-25, 25-18, 18-25, 25-16, 15-11.

“I thought the energy (of the players) was great,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “A lot of these guys have a lot to play for. For fans, it was a great show.”

Knipe still has to decide on the roster of 12 players that will compete for the U.S. at the Olympic Qualification Tournament.

One of the players doing his best to make a good impression was opposite David McKienzie (Littleton, Colo.), 31.

McKienzie played college volleyball at Long Beach State before joining the U.S. Men’s Team in 2001. However in 2007, when it didn’t look like he would make the 2008 Olympic Team, McKienzie stepped away from the National Team, but continued to play for overseas clubs and on the beach during the summer.
He tried briefly to come back to the National Team in 2009, but then stepped away again. But in 2011, he gave it another try and made it onto the preliminary roster for the 2011 FIVB World Cup. After playing over the winter in Kuwait, McKienzie was back in the gym.

“It’s been nice coming back,” he said. “I’ve missed playing with these guys and I’ve missed playing this high level of volleyball.”

On Friday, McKienzie found himself shifting sides each set. He finished with 13 points on 11 kills and two blocks.

“I feel like I’ve done well,” McKienzie said. “I’m playing at a high level.”

Anderson, who was one of the few players who played all five sets for the same team, finished with 25 kills (66.8 kill percent, .658 hitting efficiency), four blocks and two aces. Anderson was also credited with 32 receptions, 53 percent of which were positive.

Outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), who played the first four sets for the Blue Team before moving to the Red Team for the fifth, finished with 14 points on 11 kills, one block and two aces.

Outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) scored 13 points on 11 attacks and two blocks. Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored 13 points on nine kills and a match-high four aces. Middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) added 13 points on nine attacks and four blocks.

Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), who switched back and forth between teams, finished with 12 points on 10 kills, one ace and one block.

Opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii), who started the first three sets for the red team, scored 10 points on eight attacks and two aces. Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), who started all five sets for the red team, totaled 10 points on five kills and a match-high five blocks.

Opposite Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.), who switched between teams, totaled nine points on seven attacks, one block and one ace.

Riley Salmon (League City, Texas), who played both libero and outside hitter for the blue team, finished with five points on five attacks and also being credited with 20 receptions (65 percent positive) and 15 digs. Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) played all five sets at libero for the Red Team and was credited with 19 receptions (58 percent positive) and a match-high 17 digs.

Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) started the final three sets for the Blue Team, finished with five points on Middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Calif.) started the first two sets for the Red Team and scored three points on one kill, one block and one ace.

Outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) totaled one point on one kill. Setters Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) and Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) each scored one point. Suxho’s came on an ace while Thornton scored with a block.

Knipe coached the Red Team and started Anderson and Priddy at outside hitter, Lee and Millar at middle blocker, Stanley at opposite, Suxho at setter and Lambourne at libero.

U.S. Men’s Assistant Coach Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.) coached the Blue Team and started Rooney and Lotman at outside hitter, Holt and Holmes at middle blocker, McKienzie at opposite, Brian Thornton (San Clement, Calif.) at setter and Salmon at libero.

The Blue Team took an 8-6 lead in the first set, getting a kill and ace from Rooney and two attacks from McKienzie. With the Red Team leading 15-14, Holt scored on a kill and two straight aces two give the Blue Team a 17-15 lead. Holmes and Rooney followed with one kill each to give the Blue Team a 19-15 advantage. Later, with the Blue Team leading 23-18, the Red Team scored on the Blue Team’s service error and Anderson got a kill and block. Lee followed with a block to pull the Red Team to within one at 23-22 before Gardner gave the Blue Team set point with a block. Anderson came back with a kill before the Blue Team ended the set on an error.

The Red Team took a 4-1 lead in the second set before Gardner scored on an attack, then served for the next five points giving Blue a 7-4 lead. Holmes had two kills and a block in the run while Lotman had two blocks. Blue held an 8-6 lead at the first TTO and was leading 12-9 when Anderson scored on a kill for Red and Priddy followed the pull Red to within one. Red tied the score at 12-12 and the teams scored back and forth. With Blue leading 15-14, Millar scored for Red on a kill giving Priddy two straight attacks to increase the lead to six and Blue’s hitting error made it seven. Red reached set point at 24-17 when Blue served long. Holt scored on a kill but Anderson ended it with a strike of his own.

Blue took an 8-5 lead at the first TTO of the third set. With Blue leading 10-8, Anderson scored on two straight blocks to tie the score. A third Red block from Holmes and Stanley put Red ahead 11-10. McKienzie tied the score with a kill and Holt took the serve and followed with an ace. Holt served for four more points, including a block and kill by McKienzie and another Holt ace to give the Blue Team a 16-11 lead at the second TTO. The Blue Team extended its lead to 20-13 and the Red Team never recovered, as Blue won the set 25-18.

Red held an 8-5 lead at the first TTO of the fourth set as Anderson had an ace and a kill and Lotman, now playing for the Red Team, scored on two attacks. The teams battled back and forth. With Red leading 10-8, it got two straight points on Anderson and Lotman attacks. The Red Team went on to lead 16-11 at the second TTO. The Blue Team scored on Red’s error, but Anderson responded with an attack to give Red a 13-12 lead. Suxho took the serve and opened with an ace, then served for the next four points to put Red ahead 22-12. The Blue Team never recovered.

Anderson opened the fifth set with an ace for the Red Team and the Red Team held an 8-3 lead at the side change. With Red leading 9-4, Blue scored on a Holt kill, Red error, and McKienzie attack to pull to within two. Red called timeout, but it came back out on the floor and had a hitting error to pull Blue to within one point at 9-8. Anderson came back with two straight attacks to hold off the Blue Team. The Blue Team never recovered and Red won the set and match.