COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 13, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team begins its quest for a 2014 FIVB World Championship title this week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
|Erik Shoji (22) and Sean Rooney celebrate a NORCECA win.|
The U.S. Men will face teams from Guatemala, St. Lucia and Haiti at the NORCECA (North and Central American and the Caribbean) in Pool O of the NORCECA Men’s World Championship Qualification Tournament, being held May 15-18 in conjunction with the Women’s Qualification Tournament.
The 12 U.S. players who will compete in Colorado Springs are outside hitters Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.), Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.), Aaron Russell (Ellicott City, Md.) and Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.); middle blockers David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.) and Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.); setters Ryan Ammerman (Centennial, Colo.) and Riley McKibbin (Honolulu, Hawaii); opposites Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) and libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu).
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Priddy is a three-time Olympian who won gold in 2008. Lee and Rooney are both two-time Olympians who won gold in 2008. Holmes competed with the 2012 Olympic Team.
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At the other end of the spectrum, Russell (Penn State) and Taylor (BYU) were competing in the NCAA Men’s Volleyball National Championship tournament just two weeks ago. Russell completed his junior season while Taylor finished his senior season. The Qualifier will also be the first time that Ammerman, McDonnell and McKibbin compete with the senior Men’s National Team.
U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) is looking at the tournament not only as a qualifier for the 2014 World Championship, but also as a way to judge where his players are in the training process.
“Every opportunity to compete is an opportunity for us to get better in a competitive environment,” Speraw said. “How are we competing? How are we against our opponent and with our teammates? We’re excited to have this opportunity and curious to see what the other teams bring.”
The U.S. Men are also bringing five extra players to Colorado Springs who will train with the team but not play in the matches. These are 2012 Olympic outside hitters Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati), setter Micah Christenson (Honolulu) and libero Alfee Reft (Oxnard, Calif.).
United States received a bye directly into the third-round qualification tournament based on its ranking. The U.S. Men are ranked No. 4 in the FIVB world ranking and No. 1 in NORCECA.
NORCECA ninth-ranked Guatemala advanced to the third round after defeating host Suriname 25-22, 25-23, 24-26, 25-21 in the Pool M gold-medal match. In 2012, the Guatemalans defeated host Costa Rica 22-25, 25-20, 25-20, 18-25, 15-13 to win Pool H.
St. Lucia, ranked 10th in NORCECA, finished atop Pool J on its home court, defeating the 25th ranked Haiti 27-25, 25-13, 17-25, 25-20 in the gold-medal match in April 2013. The Lucians also won their first round Pool B tournament in 2012 with a 25-16, 25-18, 25-13 victory over St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Haiti finished second to the Dominican Republic in first-round Pool C in November 2012 succumbing 25-14, 25-16, 25-21 in the decisive match.
The winner of the Colorado Springs qualifying tournament earns a berth into the 24-team FIVB Men’s World Championship that will be held Aug. 30-Sept. 21 in six cities in Poland. The second-place team in Pool O, along with the other three second place teams in third-round pools, will compete in a final playoff July 14-20 to determine NORCECA’s fifth and final spot into the World Championship.
U.S. Men’s Roster for the NORCECA World Championship Qualifier
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2. Sean Rooney (OH, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5. Ryan Ammerman (S, 6-9, Denver, Colo., UC Irvine)
7. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
8. Reid Priddy (OH, 6-4, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
18. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
19. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
20. Riley McKibbin (S, 6-2, Honolulu, Hawaii, USC)
Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coach: Matt Fuerbringer
Assistant Coach: Mike Wall
Team Manager: Andrea Becker
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Technical Coordinator: Anton Willert
Consultant Coach: Mike Sealy
Consultant Coach: Erik Sullivan
FIVB World Championship NORCECA Men’s Qualification Tournament Schedule (all times MT)
May 15: Guatemala vs. Haiti, 5 p.m.
May 15: USA vs. St. Lucia, 7 p.m.
May 16: Haiti vs. St. Lucia, 5 p.m.
May 16: USA vs. Guatemala, 7 p.m.
May 17: St. Lucia vs. Guatemala, 5 p.m.
May 17: USA vs. Haiti, 7 p.m.
May 18: Pool 3rd Place vs. Pool 4th Place, 5 p.m.
May 18: Pool 1st Place vs. Pool 2nd Place, 7 p.m.
FIVB World Championship NORCECA Women’s Qualification Tournament Schedule (all times MT)
May 15: Panama vs. Honduras, 1 p.m.
May 15: USA vs. Guatemala, 3 p.m.
May 16: Honduras vs. Guatemala, 1 p.m.
May 16: USA vs. Panama, 3 p.m.
May 17: Panama vs. Guatemala, 1 p.m.
May 17: USA vs. Honduras, 3 p.m.
May 18: Pool 3rd Place vs. Pool 4th Place, 1 p.m.
May 18: Pool 1st Place vs. Pool 2nd Place, 3 p.m.