U.S. Men's Volleyball clinches berth into 2012 Olympic Games
May 16, 2012
Release by B.J. Hoeptner Evans from USA Volleyball
LONG BEACH - The U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team qualified for its eighth straight Olympic Games on Saturday, May 12, with a 28-26, 25-18, 25-20 victory over Canada at the NORCECA Men's Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach.
The eight-team tournament awarded the winner berth into the Olympic Games later this summer in London. The U.S. Men finished the tournament with a 5-0 record. Canada finished second at 4-1. Cuba defeated Puerto Rico, 25-20, 25-21, 25-15, to win the bronze.
The gold-medal match will be broadcast on NBC Sports Channel on Sunday, May 13 at 3-5 p.m. ET.
The United States, ranked sixth in the latest FIVB World ranking compared to Canada's No. 18 ranking, has now qualified for each of the last four Olympic Games through the NORCECA Men's Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament. However the 2012 event marks the first time the Americans have qualified on U.S. soil as a sell-out crowd watched the gold-medal match.
"I've never played in such an important match on U.S. soil with as much significance an as much support as this one," U.S. outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) said. "Being in the twilight of my career, this is something I'll remember for the rest of my life. Thank you to UPS, USA Volleyball, the City of Anaheim and everyone who made it possible."
U.S. opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) was named the tournament's most valuable player. Outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) was named best spiker. U.S. middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) was named best blocker.
Stanley led the United States with 15 points as his team used a balanced offense. Stanley scored on 12 kills, one block and two aces.
Lee provided 13 points on seven attacks and a match-high five blocks. Anderson contributed 13 points on 13 attacks Priddy contributed 12 points on 10 kills, one block and one ace. Middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) scored nine points on five kills and four aces.
Canada was led by Dallas Soonias' 19 points, followed by Fred Winters' 12 points.
The U.S. Men managed a 47-37 advantage in attack points, in addition to an 11-5 margin in blocks and a 4-3 lead in aces.
"Now we can prepare for teams qualified for the Olympics and not just teams trying to qualify," U.S. Men's Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) said. "And we can prepare our guys. We only had eight practices to prepare for this tournament and team did a great job."
Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) helped the U.S. Men to a 52.2 kill percent and a .467 hitting efficiency. Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) led the team in digs with seven while Anderson added six. Lambourne was credited with 17 receptions (65 percent positive). Anderson led the team in receptions with 18 (67 percent positive). Priddy also had 17 receptions (59 percent positive).
Knipe started Anderson and Priddy at outside hitter, Holmes and Lee at middle blocker, Suxho at setter, Stanley at opposite and Lambourne was the designated libero. Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) and David McKienzie (Littleton, Colo.) all played as substitutes.
The U.S. Men opened a 4-1 lead in the first set, scoring on blocks from Anderson and Holmes along with a Priddy kill. The U.S. was leading 7-3 when Canada came back with three straight points to pull to within one. Stanley scored with a kill to give the U.S. an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO). With the U.S. leading 10-8, it served into the net and Canada followed with an ace to tie the score at 10-10. From there, the two teams scored back and forth until Canada led 16-15 at the second TTO. The teams continued to score back and forth until Canada's lead was 17-16. Canada served into the net to tie the score and a Lee block gave the U.S. Men the lead. Canada called timeout, but Lee responded with a kill of an overpass. Canada called another timeout and Soonias came back with an attack to end the U.S. run. The U.S. reached its first set point at 24-23 off a Lee kill of an overpass. Soonias fought it off with an attack. The U.S. Men reached set point two more times as Canada fought it off. With the score tied 26-26, Priddy connected on two straight attacks to give the U.S. the set win.
The U.S. Men took an 8-3 lead at the first TTO of the second set, scoring on a tip and block by Anderson, two kills and an ace by Stanley and a kill and block by Holmes. Canada battled back to pull to within two at 10-8. With the U.S. leading 11-9, it got two straight blocks to lead 13-9 and Canada called timeout. The teams traded points until the U.S. lead was 14-11 and the U.S. scored on a Priddy attack and Stanley ace to lead 16-11 at the second TTO. The U.S. later increased its lead to 19-12 on a Holmes attack and Priddy ace. The U.S. Men were leading 21-13 when Soonias connected on a roll shot over the block. Canada scored on two straight blocks to pull to within five at 21-16 and Knipe called timeout. Canada's next serve went in the net. The U.S. Men reached set point at 24-18 on a quick kill by Lee and won the match on Stanley's roll shot off Canada's block.
Canada held an 8-6 advantage at the first TTO of the third set. The U.S. scored on two Stanley kills, two from Anderson and two Canada errors. The U.S. tied the score at 9-9 thanks to Canada errors. With Canada leading 10-9, Priddy scored on an attack and a block to give the U.S. the lead. Canada's hitting error put Team USA up by two and Canada called timeout. Soonias came back with an attack. Priddy responded with a block and another U.S. triple block put the U.S. ahead 14-11. With the U.S. Men leading 15-13, the U.S. scored three straight points on a Priddy kill, Lee block and Anderson kill to lead 18-13 and Canada called timeout. A Lee block put the U.S. up by six. The U.S. reached match point at 23-20 on and Anderson kill and a second kill from Anderson won the match.