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U.S. Men to Face Improved Italian Team

July 09, 2009, 5:26 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. (July 9, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team finds itself in a must-win situation this weekend when it plays Italy at the 2009 FIVB World League matches at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

The U.S. Men, No. 2 in the world, lead World League Pool A with a 6-2 record. But No. 6 Italy is hot on its trail at 5-3 having just swept visiting Netherlands twice on July 3 and 5.

“We are definitely looking forward to playing in the U.S. again,” said U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe, who just returned with the team from China where the U.S. split two matches with the Chinese. “I know they had great crowds in Hoffman Estates for World League last year, so we are really looking forward to seeing a lot of fans of both the U.S. and Italy.”

Team USA defeated Italy twice when the two teams played in Italy on June 19 and 21. The scores were 3-1 (25-21, 30-28, 21-25, 25-21) and 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 25-20). The United States is now 22-37 against Italy since 1981.

“I think Italy will be much improved from when we faced them,” Knipe said. “We will need to play our best volleyball.”

Outside hitter Sean Rooney of Wheaton, Ill., who played on both the FIVB World League championship team and also the 2008 Olympic gold medal team, will have plenty of family and friends in the stands for the matches in Hoffman Estates, which will be July 10-11 at 7 p.m. both days.

Rooney is leading the U.S. Men in World League scoring with 121 points on 109 kills, 11 blocks and one ace. He is 10th overall among all World League scorers. Rooney’s 109 kills in 212 attempts puts him fifth among all spikers with a 51.42 success percentage.

Also making a homecoming of sorts will be middle blocker Andy Hein from Carol Stream, Ill., who has started every 2009 World League match while Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) takes the summer off.

Hein is the second leading blocker for the U.S. Men (behind David Lee of Alpine, Calif.) with 17 block in 43 attempts and an average of 0.53 blocks per set. He is 11th among all World League blockers.

Outside hitter Cristian Savani leads Italy in scoring with 124 points on 109 kills, 11 blocks and four aces. He is tied for seventh among all World League scorers and third among all spikers with a success percentage of 52.4.

Middle blocker Andrea Sala leads Italy in blocking and is second overall with 22 blocks in 61 attempts and an average of 0.79 blocks per set.

World League Tickets: Tickets for the matches in Hoffman Estates, Ill., (July 10-11 against Italy) and Wichita, Kan., (July 17-18 against Netherlands) are on sale.

For Hoffman Estates tickets, click here.

For Wichita tickets, click here.

For more information on World League, please visit USA Volleyball’s World League web site at http://usavolleyball.org/event/event/573.
To visit the FIVB World League web site, click here.

2009 U.S. World League Roster for July 10-11

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 Andrew Hein (MB, 6-11, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
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)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
18 Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe
Team Manager: Rick McLaughlin
Assistant Coach: Gary Sato
Trainer/Therapist: John Hawks
Technical Coordinator:
Chris Jackson
Team Doctor: William Briner
Medical Support: Aaron Brock

Pool A Standings (as of July 6)
1 USA 6-2 (18 points)
2 ITA 5-3 (14 points)
3 NED 3-5 (11 points)
4 CHN 2-6 (5 points)

2009 FIVB World League Schedule and Results

Date: June 13-14
Opponent: Netherlands
Location: Rotterdam
June 13: Netherlands def. USA, 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 26-24)
June 14: USA def. Netherlands, 3-2 (25-16, 30-32, 25-17, 20-25, 15-6)

Date: June 19 and 21
Opponent: Italy
Location: Florence and Catania
June 19: USA def. Italy, 3-1 (25-21, 30-28, 21-25, 25-21)
June 20: USA def. Italy, 3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 25-20)

Date: June 26-27 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: China
Location: San Jose State University Event Center Arena in San Jose, Calif.
June 26: USA def. China, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-21)
June 27: USA def. China, 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-22)

Date: July 4-5
Opponent: China
Location: Nanjing
July 4: China def. USA, 3-2 (25-19, 27-29, 18-25, 26-24, 15-12)
July 5: USA def. China, 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 25-12)

Date: July 10-11 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Italy
Location: Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Date: July 17-18 (7 p.m. both days)
Opponent: Netherlands
Location: Charles Koch Arena in Wichita, Kan.

Date: July 22-26
Event: Final Round (teams must qualify)
Opponents: TBD
Location: Belgrade, Serbia