USA Volleyball Features U.S. Men to Play for...

U.S. Men to Play for World League Championship

By B. J. Hoeptner Evans | July 07, 2012, 1 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Communications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
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View the U.S. Men’s World League Media Kit

SOFIA, Bulgaria (July 7, 2012) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team will play in its first FIVB World League final since 2008 on Sunday after defeating Cuba in the semifinals, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23 on Saturday at Arena Armeec in Sofia.

The U.S. Men (2-1) will play Poland (3-0) for the World League championship on Sunday at 10:45 a.m. PT. Poland defeated Bulgaria in Saturday's second semifinal match, 25-23, 25-20, 25-18. Cuba (1-2) will play Bulgaria (1-2) in the bronze medal match at 7:30 a.m. PT.

The U.S. Men won the 2008 FIVB World League, then went on to win the Olympic gold medal in Beijing. The U.S. has also won World League bronze medals in 1992 and 2007.

On Saturday, the U.S. led Cuba in blocks, 7-2 and aces, 5-3. Cuba held the edge in attacks, 46-42. The U.S. scored on 21 Cuba errors while committing 17.

“We know Cuba pretty well from playing them both in World cup and the Olympic qualifier,” U.S. outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) said. “They have a different lineup here, but we were still confident that we match up against them pretty well.."

U.S. opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu) led his team with 17 points on 13 kills (72.2 kill percent; 66.7 hitting efficiency) and a match-high four aces. Anderson added 13 points on 13 attacks (59.1 kill percent; .545 hitting efficiency). Outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) totaled 11 points on 10 attacks and one ace.

Wilfredo Leon paced Cuba with 16 points on a match-high 16 attacks.

“If you look at the stats, the teams are close,” U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. “For the second night, I thought our guys did good job in serve reception. Also important was the ability for us to create opportunities in our blocking defense and then convert those and sustain the energy by winning those points.”

Among other U.S. scorers, middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) tallied six points on four attacks and two blocks. Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) added five points on two kills and a match-high three blocks. Setter Donald Suxho tallied two points with two blocks.

Suxho was credited with 17 assists. He set the U.S. Men to a 48.3 kill percent and a .414 hitting efficiency. Cuba's kill percent was 53.5. It's hitting efficiency was .395.

Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) led the U.S. Men in digs with nine. He also led in excellent receptions with eight.

The U.S. Men played Poland five times in 2011. The two teams split their four World League Intercontinental Round matches, 2-2. Poland defeated the United States in the FIVB World Cup.

Knipe started Anderson and Rooney at outside hitter, Lee and Smith at middle blocker, Stanley at opposite, Suxho at setter and Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) at libero.

Opposite Dave McKienzie (Littleton, Colo.), outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) and middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) played as substitutes.

The U.S. Men took an 8-5 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO) of the first set, getting a block from Smith, kills by Stanley and Suxho and aces from Stanley and Rooney. Cuba had pulled to within one point at 12-11, but the U.S. Men scored twice on a serving error and violation to give the U.S. a 14-11 advantage. A Stanley ace made it 15-11 before Cuba scored the next three points, including two Cepeda attacks, to pull to within one. A back-row attack from Anderson gave the U.S. the 16-14 lead at the second TTO. Cuba kept the score close. With the U.S. leading 23-22, Cuba’s serving error gave the U.S. set point. The United States’ next serve went out of bounds, but Rooney ended it for the U.S. with a kill.

Cuba held an 8-6 lead to open the second set as the U.S. got points off attacks from Rooney, Stanley and Anderson along with a Lee block. The U.S. Men tied the score at 12-12, getting help from two straight Stanley aces, and led 16-15 at the second TTO, scoring on a left side strike by Anderson. With the score tied 17-17, the U.S. Men scored on two straight blocks from Smith and Lee. After Cuba scored, Lee added a quick kill followed by a Suxho block to give the U.S. a 21-18 lead. Cuba called timeout and pulled back to within one at 21-20. The U.S. called timeout and came back with a Stanley kill. Cuba had a Bell kill and Bisset ace to tie the score at 22-22. But the U.S. scored the final three points on a Stanley spike and two Anderson attacks.

Cuba took the early lead in the third set, 8-5. The U.S. scored on a Stanley attack along with kills from Anderson and Smith. The U.S. came back to tie it at 12-12 with a Lee tip and Anderson kill off the block. The teams traded points until Cuba held a 16-15 lead at the second TTO, scoring on a U.S. net violation. The U.S Men took a 20-17 lead using a 4-0 run, but Cuba came back to tie the score at 21-21. At 23-23, Cuba’s serve went out of bounds. The U.S. won on a Cuban hitting error.

U.S. Men’s Roster for 2012 World League Final Round

1. Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
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. Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
11. Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
13. Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawaii)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. David McKienzie (Opp, 6-4, Littleton, Colo., Long Beach State)

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

World League Final Round Schedule and Results

Pool E
July 4: Bulgaria def. Germany, 26-28, 25-19, 29-27, 25-19
July 5: Germany def. USA, 20-25, 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 16-14
July 6: USA def. Bulgaria, 25-21, 25-16, 25-17

Pool F
July 4: Cuba def. Brazil, 25-19, 26-24, 25-22
July 5: Poland def. Brazil, 23-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-17, 15-10
July 6: Poland def. Cuba, 25-23, 25-20, 25-23

July 7: USA def. Cuba, 25-23, 25-22, 25-23
July 7: Poland def. Bulgaria, 25-23, 25-20, 25-18

July 8: Cuba vs. Bulgaria (7:30 a.m. PT)
July 8: USA vs. Poland (10:45 a.m. PT)