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U.S. Men Cannot Afford to Relax Against Egypt

June 18, 2010, 1:43 a.m. (ET)

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

CONCORD, N.C. (June 17, 2010) – After almost two weeks in Europe, the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, ranked No. 2 in the world, is back on U.S. soil for this weekend’s 2010 FIVB World League matches on Friday and Saturday (June 18-19) at Cabarrus Arena in Concord, N.C.

But the U.S. team cannot relax against Egypt, despite its 1-3 record and last-place standing in Pool C. The African zone champion split two matches with host Finland on June 5-6. On June 11-12, host Russia needed four sets and then five sets to overcome Egypt, which is ranked 14th in the world.

“We expect Egypt to give us all we can handle,” said U.S. middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah), who served as team captain for the United States’ first two World League weekends while Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) dealt with a family emergency.

 “Our goal is to improve with every match and so far we have done that,” U.S. coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “We will need to continue to do that if we hope to defeat Egypt, which has some young athletes who are playing well.”

The U.S. Men’s 2010 World League campaign got off to a rocky start as they lost two straight matches to host Russia on June 4-5. They found more success against Finland the following weekend and defeated  it in two straight 3-1 decisions. Team USA now has a 2-2 record and is in second place in Pool C behind Russia.

The good news for the U.S. Men is that they have eight players from the team that won both the 2008 Olympic Games and the 2008 World League final round back on their roster this weekend with the return of Priddy at outside hitter and opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii), who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2008 Olympic tournament.

“Having those guys back is certainly a positive thing for our team,” Knipe said. “Their experience is invaluable.”

Along with Priddy and Stanley, the other players from the United States’ 2008 roster are setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.), middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.), Millar, outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill) and outside hitter Riley Salmon (League City, Texas). Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) also has Olympic experience as a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Men’s Volleyball Team that finished fourth in Athens.

Both teams brought 14 athletes to North Carolina, but will have to name 12 players the morning of each match.

After four matches, Lee leads all World League players in blocking after a 15-block performance in the two matches in Finland. He also leads the U.S. in scoring with 44 points on 21 kills, 20 blocks and three aces. Outside hitters Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and Rooney are close behind with 43 points each.

 Egypt is led by outside hitter Ahmed Abdelhay, who leads all World League scorers with 76 points on 66 kills, five blocks and five aces. Middle blocker Abdel Latif Ahmed has 47 points. Setter Abadala Ahmed leads all servers with an average of 0.61 per set.

 The last time the U.S. Men played Egypt was during the 2007 FIVB World Cup when the United States won, 25-22, 25-18, 25-19. The United States is 7-0 against Egypt since 1980. The teams have never played in World League competition.

The African zonal leader has made great strides in recent years. In 2008, it won the African Championship and qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where it finished tied for 11th. It has also qualif ed for the 2010 FIVB World Championship in Italy after winning the African qualification event in August 2009.

Most recently, it ranked sixth in the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup 2009 after winning the 2009 African Championship in Morocco.

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 18-19 in Concord, N.C.

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)
7 Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)
8 C Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Utah, BYU)
10 Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
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)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Leader: Rob Browning (Newport Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Trainer: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

Pool C Standings (As of June 17)
Country (points) record
Russia (11) 4-0
USA (6) 2-2
Finland (4) 1-3
Egypt (3) 1-3

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. - www.visitcabarrus.com

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