BEIJING (Aug. 20, 2008) - Somehow finding a way to win when it counted most, the U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team defeated Serbia 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12) on Wednesday at Capital Indoor Stadium to advance to the semifinals of the Olympic tournament.
The U.S. Men, 6-0, are now guaranteed a chance to play for a medal. That process begins Friday at 12:30 p.m. when the United States will play Russia, 5-1, in the semifinals. Brazil will play Italy at 8 p.m. in the other semifinal.
The U.S. Men showed jitters from the start on Wednesday, falling behind 3-8 in the first set.
"I'd be lying if I said we weren't anxious," said Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.). "I couldn't nap. It's almost like there's more pressure than on a semifinal. There's no second chance."
On Wednesday, Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai'i) led the U.S. Men in scoring with 18 points on 14 kills, two blocks and two aces. Priddy (Richmond, Va.) added 17 points on 14 kills and three aces. David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) had 15 points on 12 kills and three blocks. Riley Salmon added 14 points on 12 kills, one block and one ace.
Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) scored 11 points on a match-high seven blocks and four kills.
Setter Lloy Ball (Fort Wayne, Ind.) scored one point and was credited with 46 running sets and 54 still sets in 100 attempts for an average of 9.2 sets per set.
Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with seven digs and 15 "excellent" receptions out of 23 attempts.
Serbia's Ivan Miljkovic led all scorers with 28 points on a match-high 23 kills, three aces and two blocks. Serbia out-hit the U.S. Men 61-56. The United States out-blocked Serbia 14-12 and had six aces as opposed to five for Serbia.
Serve-receive proved to be a bigger issue for Serbia as the United States came away with 41 percent "excellent" and Serbia with 25 percent. The United States had 11 service errors as opposed to 17 for Serbia.
U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon blamed his team's poor performance early in the match to its worrying too much about the big picture and not enough about smaller, individual plays.
"There's a tendency to want to force a great play and somehow change the momentum when things aren't going your way," McCutcheon said. "One of the things we've been doing his summer is trying to invest in good plays."
After falling behind two sets to one, Team USA found itself in a must-win situation in the fourth set. With the score tied 6-6 in the fourth, the United States got the serve back and took the lead on Salmon's kill. Salmon served and ace to give the United States an 8-6 lead and a Millar block made it 9-6.
The U.S. Men held the lead for the rest of the set, although Serbia kept it close, almost catching Team USA at 12-11. But with Priddy serving, the United States score two straight points, on a Salmon kill and a Serbian team error, to hold off Serbia and it did not get closer than two points again in the set.
The fifth-set tiebreaker stayed even until the score was 4-4. Serbia took the lead on Nikola Grbic's kill then extended the lead to 7-4 on two straight U.S. hitting errors. But just as quickly, the score was tied at 7s as the U.S. scored three straight points on a Priddy kill, Stanley block and Serbia team error.
With the score tied 10-10, the United States put together another rally on two Stanley kills and a Millar block for a 13-10 lead. Serbia scored twice more, but ran out of time as the United States won the match on Salmon's ace.
No. Name (Pos., Height, Age, Hometown, College)
1 - Lloy Ball (S, 6-8, 36, Woodburn, Ind., IPFW)
2 - Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, 25, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
4 - David Lee (MB, 6-8, 26, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 - Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, 33, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
8 - Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, 30, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9 - Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, 30, Palmdale, Calif., BYU)
10 - Riley Salmon (OH, 6-6, 32, League City, Texas, Pierce College)
12 - (captain) Tom Hoff (MB, 6-8, 35, Park Ridge, Ill., Long Beach State)
13 - Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, 30, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawai'i)
14 - Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, 26, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
15 - Gabe Gardner (OPP, 6-9, 32, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)
18 - Scott Touzinsky (OH, 6-6, 26, St. Louis, Mo., Long Beach State)
Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon
Team Leader: Rob Browning
Interim Head Coach: Ron Larsen
Second Assistant Coach: John Speraw
Consultant Coach: Marv Dunphy
Technical Consultant: Jamie Morrison
Scout: Carl McGown
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Pool A Standings
Pool B Standings
Sunday, Aug. 10 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Russia def. Serbia, 20-25, 25-21, 25-22, 25-14
Pool A: Italy def. Japan, 25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 25-17
Sunday, Aug. 10 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool A: USA def. Venezuela, 25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 21-25, 15-10
Pool B: Brazil def. Egypt, 25-19, 25-15, 25-18
Pool A: Bulgaria def. China, 25-20, 25-21, 26-28, 25-19
Pool B: Poland def. Germany, 25-17, 33-31, 25-20
Tuesday, Aug. 12 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool B: Russia def. Germany, 25-27, 25-21, 21-25, 25-23, 16-14
Pool B: Poland def. Egypt, 25-21, 25-18, 25-10
Tuesday, Aug. 12 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool A: USA def. Italy, 24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21
Pool B: Brazil def. Serbia, 25-27, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21
Pool A: China def. Venezuela 25-21, 21-25, 16-25, 25-21, 16-14
Pool A: Bulgaria def. Japan, 29-27, 23-25, 25-21, 25-19
Thursday, Aug. 14 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool A: Italy def. Venezuela, 25-21, 25-20, 25-21
Pool B: Germany def. Egypt, 29-27, 25-21, 25-21
Thursday, Aug. 14 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool B: Russia def. Brazil, 22-25, 26-24, 31-29, 25-19
Pool B: Poland def. Serbia, 31-29, 22-25, 25-22, 25-21
Pool A: China def. Japan, 25-20, 25-23, 17-25, 16-25, 15-10
Pool A: USA def. Bulgaria, 27-29, 25-21, 25-14, 26-24
Saturday, Aug. 16 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool A: USA def. China, 25-22, 25-12, 25-18
Pool B: Russia def. Egypt, 25-19, 25-14, 25-18
Saturday, Aug. 16 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool B: Serbia def. Germany, 25-21, 27-25, 24-26, 25-23
Pool A: Italy def. Bulgaria, 25-20, 25-21, 25-16
Pool B: Brazil def. Poland, 30-28, 25-19, 25-19
Pool A: Venezuela def. Japan, 25-23, 25-21, 25-23
Monday, Aug. 18 - at Beijing Institute of Technology Gymnasium
Pool A: Bulgaria def. Venezuela, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16, 25-22
Pool B: Brazil def. Germany, 25-22, 25-21, 25-23
Monday, Aug. 18 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Pool B: Poland def. Russia, 17-25, 26-24, 24-26, 25-23, 15-12
Pool B: Serbia def. Egypt, 25-16, 25-13, 25-17
Pool A: Italy def. China, 25-17, 25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 16-14
Pool A: USA def. Japan, 25-18, 25-12, 25-21
Wednesday, Aug. 20 - Quarterfinals at Capital Indoor Stadium
Russia def. Bulgaria, 20-25, 25-16, 25-22, 25-21
Italy def. Poland, 25-19, 25-22, 18-25, 26-28, 17-15
Brazil def. China, 25-17, 25-15, 25-16
USA def. Serbia, 20-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 15-12
Friday, Aug. 22 - at Capital Indoor Stadium
Men's semifinal 01, 12:30 p.m.
Men's semifinal 02 8 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 24 Capital Indoor Stadium
Men's bronze-medal match, 10 a.m.
Men's gold-medal match, Noon
Men's Award ceremony, 1:50 p.m.