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U.S. Men to Play Finland Near Sweet Home Chicago

June 24, 2010, 3:44 p.m. (ET)

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

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (June 24, 2010) – Although Hoffman Estates, outside Chicago, is more than 2,000 miles away from the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif., where the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team trains, the U.S. Men’s Team feels at home here.

For the third year in a row, the U.S. Men will be at the Sears Centre Arena for FIVB World League matches (Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. both nights). And for the second time in three years, it will play Finland.  

"I'm really looking forward to going to Chicago this year," said U.S. outside hitter Sean Rooney, a native of nearby Wheaton, Ill. "I've already started contacting people (to get tickets). I'm looking forward to seeing my family and friends. The fans there know volleyball and we always get really good support."

The last time the U.S. Men played Finland at the Sears Centre was in 2008. Team USA won both matches on its way to winning both its first World League title and the Olympic gold medal in Beijing.

At the halfway point of this year’s World League Continental (pool play) Round, the United States is in second place in Pool C with a 4-2 record while Finland is in third at 1-5. It holds a one-point lead over fourth-place Egypt. Russia leads the pool with a perfect 6-0 record.

Team USA is in Hoffman Estates without part-time starting setter and 2004 Olympian Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania), who was injured during the United States’ first match against Egypt on June 18 in Concord, N.C. Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, will start for the U.S., backed up by Tyler Hildebrand (Mesa, Ariz.).

Also on the U.S. 14-man roster (rosters are cut to 12 for each match) for the first time in 2010 is 2008 Olympic gold medalist Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) at outside hitter.

Regardless of the players, U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) says his team needs to play better against Finland than it did against Egypt if it hopes to maintain second place in Pool C and set up a final showdown against Russia on July 9-10 in Wichita, Kansas.

“It’s about what we do on our side of the net,” Knipe said. “It’s our attention to detail. We need better preparation. We need to be better on serve receive, both individually and as a team. We need better swings out of system.

“Finland is a very nice team. It has the ability to set the ball fast and is an aggressive serving team. We’re going to have to be ready to play.”

Opposite Antti Siltala leads Finland in scoring after six World League matches with 96 points on 85 kills, six blocks and five aces. Urpo Sivula, also listed as an opposite, is second with 72 points on 67 spikes, two blocks and three aces.

Finland libero Pasi Hyvärinen leads all World League players in digs with 89 and 13 faults in 120 attempts. He averages 3.71 digs per set.

Outside hitter Matt Anderson leads Team USA in scoring with 61 points on 51 kills, three blocks and four aces.

U.S. middle blocker David Lee leads all World League players in blocks with 28 blocks in 111 attempts and a per-set average of 1.22.

The U.S. Men have an overall record of 15-2 against Finland since 1978.

U.S. World League matches are being shown via tape delay on Comcast Sportsnet stations, with the final matches against Russia being shown on Versus. Click here for a schedule.

For the U.S. Men's World League Media Guide, click here.

To view U.S. World League photo galleries, click here.

The USA Volleyball page for World League information is http://usavolleyball.org/events/2878.

To visit the FIVB World League page with photos, statistics and live scoring, click here

2010 FIVB World League
June 25-26 in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

U.S. Roster (Roster will be reduced to 12 for the matches)
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
6 Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
8 C Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
11 Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-4, Mesa, Ariz., Long Beach State)
13 Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawai'i)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
17 Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo. Long Beach State)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Leader: John Hawks (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Trainer: Jeff Stork (Topanga, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

Pool C Standings (As of June 19)
Country (points) record
Russia (17) 6-0
USA (12) 4-2
Finland (4) 1-5
Egypt (3) 1-5

Note: Match won 3-0 or 3-1:  3 points for the winner, 0 point for the loser
Match won 3-2:  2 points for the winner, 1 point for the loser
In case of tie, the teams will be classified according to the following criteria: number of matches won, points ratio and sets ratio

2010 U.S. World League Schedule and Results

Date: June 4-5
Location: Ekaterinburg, Russia
June 4: Russia def. United States, 25-15, 26-24, 25-14
June 5:
Russia def. United States, 25-14, 25-22, 21-25, 25-21

Date: June 11-12
Opponent: Finland
Location: Tampere, Finland
June 11: United States def. Finland, 25-27, 25-18, 27-25, 25-28
June 12: United States def. Finland, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 28-26

Date: June 18-19 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Egypt
Location: Cabarrus Arena in Concord, N.C.
June 18: United States def. Egypt, 25-19, 25-15, 14-25, 25-21
June 19: United States def. Egypt, 25-20, 25-22, 11-25, 25-14

Date: June 25-26 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Finland
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Date: July 2-3
Opponent: Egypt
Location: Cairo, Egypt

Date: July 9 at 7 p.m.; July 10 at 6 p.m.
Opponent: Russia
Location: Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan. - www.wichitasports.com/

Final Round (must qualify)
Date: July 21-25
Location: Cordoba, Argentina

Other Pool C Results
June 5: Egypt def. Finland, 23-25, 26-24, 25-16, 20-25, 15-13
June 6: Finland def. Egypt, 25-22. 23-25, 25-20, 25-19
June 11: Russia def. Egypt, 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, 25-15
June 12: Russia def. Egypt, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17, 22-25, 15-8
June 18: Russia def. Finland, 25-16, 25-21, 25-18
June 19: Russia def. Finland, 25-18, 25-16, 18-25, 25-18