PRESS RELEASE 09.01.2004


NORCECA Men - USA reach gold medal match

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico, January 9, 2004 - Favourites USA moved one step closer to the 2004 Olympic Games by sweeping Canada 27-25, 27-25, 25-16 in a well-contested semifinal at the NORCECA Olympic Qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico on Friday night.

Reid Priddy scored a match-high 16 points and Ryan Millar added 15 as Team USA maintained their unbeaten run at the tournament with a perfect 5-0 record.

"It was a traditional match well fought against Canada," USA captain Lloyd Ball said. "I think we made the necessary adjustments in our service and receiving to win the match".

"Once again we failed in the final moments of the first two sets," Canadian coach Stelio DeRocco said. "It has been a constant problem for us in this tournament".

Clay Stanley added 10 points as Team USA swept Canada for the second time in three days. The match was a rematch of the 2003 NORCECA Zone Championship showdown between the two teams, won by the United States, 3-1.

The United States have lost just one set in this tournament (in their 3-1 round-robin win over Cuba) and will be favoured to beat Cuba, who beat Puerto Rico 3-1 in the other semifinal, in Saturday's final.

Puerto Rico will meet Canada, who now stand at 1-4 for the tournament, in Saturday's bronze medal match.