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Bulgaria Strikes Back Against U.S. Men

June 29, 2013, 9 p.m. (ET)

Paul Lotman receives the ball against Bulgaria
  Paul Lotman receives the ball during the June 29 FIVB World League match against Bulgaria in Reno, Nev.

B.J. Hoeptner Evans, Manager, Communications, Phone: (719) 228-6800, E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org
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DataVolley Statistics * Official Statistics

RENO, Nev. (June 29, 2013) – Bulgaria came back from Friday’s three-set loss to defeat the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, 25-20, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21 on Saturday in an FIVB World League match before a large and loud crowd at the Reno Events Center.

The victory improves Bulgaria’s record in World League pool play to 5-1 and puts it in first place in Pool A just ahead of Brazil, which lost to France on Saturday. The U.S. falls to 4-2 and sits in third place heading into its final two World League pool play weekends on the road in Poland (July 5 and 7) and Brazil (July 13-14).

Bulgaria responded to its loss on Friday with an improved game plan that pitted its opposite Tsvetan Sokolov against U.S. outside hitter and its leading scorer Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.).

Sokolov finished as the Player of the Match and led all scorers with 21 points on 16 kills and five blocks. Anderson led the United States with 16 points on 13 attacks, two blocks and one ace.

“When you beat a team 3-0, you understand that they’re going to come back with more fire and energy,” Anderson said. “I think they put together a good game plan against us and they executed it very well.”

The United States led the match in attacks (46-43). But Bulgaria led in blocks (11-9). The teams tied in aces (6-6). Bulgaria scored 33 points on U.S. errors while committing only 28.

“If you look at the statistics you will see that they are pretty similar for both teams,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.) said. “I think the biggest difference in the match is that they passed the ball well and they got themselves out of trouble at a higher rate.”

Among other U.S. scorers, opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) contributed 12 points on nine spikes, one block and two aces. Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) totaled 11 points on eight kills, two blocks and one ace.

Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) scored 10 points on nine kills and one ace. Setter Kyle Caldwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) added six points on three attacks, two blocks and one ace. Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati) totaled six points on four kills and two blocks.

Caldwell was credited with 25 running sets on 92 attempts and set the U.S. to a 42.2 kill percent and a .239 hitting efficiency. Bulgaria had a 43.0 kill percent and a .250 hitting efficiency.

U.S. libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu) was credited with nine digs and eight excellent receptions. Lotman led the U.S. in digs with 11 while Clark had nine. Lotman also led in excellent receptions with 17 while Anderson had 16.

Speraw started Anderson and Lotman at outside hitter, Lee and Holt at middle blocker, Clark at opposite, Caldwell at setter and Shoji at libero.

Smith started the fourth set for Holt. Outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) played as a substitute for Anderson in the third set.

In the first set, with the score tied 5-5, Bulgaria served into the net and Lotman added a spike to put the United States ahead by two. The USA held an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO). The U.S. extended the lead to 10-6, but Bulgaria came back to tie the score at 12-12 behind some tough serving from Sokolov. With the scored tied 13-13, Team USA scored on a Bulgaria serve in the net plus blocks from Anderson and Holt to lead 16-13 at the second TTO. Bulgaria came back to tie the score at 18-18. With the score still tied at 20-20, Svetoslav Gotsev took the serve on a Sokolov attack and Bulgaria scored the final five points to win the set. Sokolov led all scorers in the set with eight points.

The U.S. took a 9-5 lead to open the second set. Bulgaria came back with a spike and block from Sokolov. The U.S. answered with an Anderson block. David Lee took the serve as the U.S. scored four more points to lead 13-7. With the U.S. leading 18-10, Bulgaria made a three-point run to pull within five, but the U.S. called timeout and Bulgaria’s next serve went out of bounds. The United States reached set point at 24-18 and Anderson used a kill for the victory. Sokolov was held to two points in the set while Anderson had five for the U.S.

Bulgaria used strong serving, including two straight aces by Viktor Yosifov, to lead 8-3 at the first TTO. The U.S. pulled to within three at 9-6, but Sokolov scored with a strike off the block and Bulgaria scored twice more to lead 11-6. It continued to lead 16-9 at the second TTO. With Bulgaria leading 23-17, the European side served into the net and Clark took the serve for the United States. He served for four straight points, including two aces, to pull the U.S. to within one at 23-22. However, his next serve went into the net, giving Bulgaria set point. The North American side fought off the first set point with a Lee quick kill before Todor Aleksiev scored with a spike off the block to give Bulgaria the win.

The United States took a 7-4 lead to open the fourth set. Bulgaria came back to tie the score at 8-8. The scored was still tied at 13-13 when Bulgaria scored on a Sokolov spike and U.S. hitting error to lead 15-13. It led 16-14 at the second TTO. Bulgaria increased its lead to 21-17 and reached match point at 24-21, winning the match on a U.S. hitting error.

2013 U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team

12-Man Roster for FIVB World League on June 28-29 in Reno, Nev.
No. - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 - Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
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 - Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
8 - Kyle Caldwell (S, 6-9, Newport Beach, Calif., UCLA) 
9 - Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
15 - Carson Clark (Opp, 6-8, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
16 - Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
17 - Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
20 - David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
22 - Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)

Head Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Team Manager: Anton Willert (Berlin, Germany)
Assistant Coach: Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Andrea Becker (Martinez, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Art Garcia (Lakewood, Calif.)
Consultant Coach: Aric Anderson (Lakewood, Calif.)
Physiotherapist/Athletic trainer: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)
Doctor: Sherwin Ho (Chicago, Ill.)

2013 U.S. Men’s World League Schedule
June 7: Argentina def. USA, 25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 26-24
June 8: USA def. Argentina, 22-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-16
June 14: USA def. France, 25-15, 29-27, 25-16
June 15: USA def. France, 22-25, 25-22, 24-26, 30-28, 15-9
June 28: USA def. Bulgaria, 25-19, 25-22, 25-21
June 29: Bulgaria def. USA, 25-20, 18-25, 25-23, 25-21
July 5: USA at Poland, Spodek in Katowice, Poland
July 7: USA at Poland, Centennial Hall in Wroclaw, Poland
July 13-14: USA at Brazil, Maracanazinho in Rio de Janeiro