USA Men's VB Falls To Russia

Reports From USA Volleyball & B.J. Hoeptner Evans

The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team’s 2010 World League campaign got off to a rough start on Friday as the United States fell to Russia, 25-15, 26-24, 25-14 in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The two teams will play again on Saturday (June 5,) at 6 p.m. in Russia (8 a.m. ET, 5 a.m. PT) in their second pool play match of the six-week continental round.

Outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) led the U.S. Men with nine points on eight kills and one block. Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) added eight points on six kills, one block and one ace. Outside hitter Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) scored eight points on eight kills.

Russian middle blocker Dmitriy Muserskiy led all scorers with 13 points on eight kills, a match-high four blocks and one ace. Opposite Teras Khtey added 12 points on a match-high 10 kills and two blocks.

According to the official statistics, Russia out-blocked Team USA 9-4 and led in aces 8-2.

The U.S. Men were credited with 28 kills and 22 errors on 80 attempts. Russia had 40 kills and 11 errors on 76 attempts. Team USA struggled on serve receive with 12 “excellents” and 10 errors on 64 attempts.

“Russia made it hard for us with their service,” U.S. Men’s Head Coach Alan Knipe said in an FIVB release. “And unfortunately, we made some unforced errors in the second set when we had a chance to tie the score. The service and reception made the difference in the game. We failed to show our usual standard of playing”  

U.S. middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) added: "It was really tough match and probably we made some tactical mistakes. I hope tomorrow will come with the different performance."

Millar finished the match with five points on three kills and two blocks. Opposite Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) had three points on three kills. Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) was credited with one point on an ace.

Suxho was credited with eight running sets (assists) and on fault on 31 attempts. Setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.), who came in for Suxho at the end of the second set and started the third, was credited with four running sets and one fault on 37 attempts.

Libero Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) was credited with five digs and one fault on 11 attempts. He was also credited with five “excellent” receptions and three faults on 19 attempts.

Knipe started Anderson and Salmon at outside hitter, Lee and Millar at middle blocker. Patak at opposite, Suxho at setter and Lambourne at libero.

Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) started the third set for Anderson at outside hitter.

Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) played as substitutes.

In the first set, the U.S. Men took an 8-7 lead into the first technical timeout (TTO), scoring on two kills by Anderson, an ace from Suxho and one kill each from Millar, Patak, Lee and Salmon. But Russia came back with a 7-0 run, including three points on U.S. attack errors, to take a 14-8 lead. The Russian surge ended on its attack error. But Team USA never gained momentum and could not string together more than one point at time in falling 25-15.

The U.S. Men seemed to settle down in the second set and took a 7-5 lead, scoring on an opening ace by Lee and kills from Salmon and Anderson as well as four Russian errors. Russia responded with four straight points on two kills and two blocks to take a 9-7 lead. Team USA tied the score at 9-9 on a Russian error and Patak kill. The two teams traded points until the score was tied at 13-13. That’s when the U.S. went on a 5-0 run, including kills by Millar, Anderson and Patak, to lead 18-13. Russian Head Coach Daniele Bagnoli called timeout and Semen Poltavskiy ended the U.S. run with a kill. With the U.S. leading 19-15, Knipe substituted Hansen for Suxho. With the U.S. leading 20-16, Russia scored three straight points on two kills and an ace. Knipe called timeout and the U.S. Men responded with a kill by Patak. The U.S. lead was 22-20 when Russia called timeout and then scored three straight points to lead 23-22. Millar tied the score with a kill and an Anderson block gave the United States set point at 24-23. But Russia’s Yury Berezhko fought off the set loss with a kill and a U.S. error followed by another Berezhko kill gave the set to Russia.

Buoyed by the victory, Russia took an 8-3 lead at the first TTO of the third set. Knipe substituted Anderson for Patak at opposite, but Russia extended its lead to 10-3. Knipe substituted Lotman for Salmon at outside hitter. With Russia leading 14-6, Team USA made a brief run on attacks by Anderson and Millar. But Russia quickly answered with two points of its own and kept up the pressure. Russia was leading 18-10 when Knipe called timeout. Lee responded with two straight kills, but a Poltavskiy attack ended the run. Russia reached match point at 24-13. A Russia serving error gave the U.S. one more point before Khtey ended the match with a kill.

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