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U.S Men hold of Argentina in five-set friendly win

Ryan Miller, here celebrating against Argentina in the 2007 FIVB World Cup, scored 12 points against the South Americans as Team USA won in five sets Tuesday

Irvine, California, May 28, 2008 - A young Argentine team put up a fight, but could not outlast the U.S. Men’s National Team on Tuesday as Team USA won a five-set battle 19-25, 27-29, 25-20, 25-20, 15-12 at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Exhibition for Volleyball at the Bren Center on the campus of UC Irvine.

Almost 3,000 raucous fans cheered on the U.S. Men, who were led by Reid Priddy with 19 points on 16 kills and three blocks. Argentina’s players, all of whom are younger than 30, were led by Lucas Chavez with 22 points on 17 kills, three blocks and two aces.

The Argentines used the match to prepare for the FIVB Men’s Olympic World Qualification Tournament from May 31 to June 8 in Tokyo. The U.S. Men will begin their 2008 FIVB World League odyssey on June 13-14 in Finland.

Tuesday’s match gave the U.S. team many things to work on before the World League, said U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon.

The U.S. Men went into the match flat and struggled particularly on defence in the first two sets. In the first set, the United States had no blocks and 53 percent “excellent” serve receptions. The U.S. team hit for 40 percent in the first set and 38 percent in the second. Argentina hit for 66 percent in the first set and 56 in the second.

“We’ve only had this group together a little over a week,” McCutcheon said. “I’m not surprised. I thought we were able to learn some really good lessons. We’ve got a lot of work to do. The good news is we have time to put things in place.”

David Lee, Ryan Millar and Gabe Gardner each scored 12 points for the U.S. Men. Lee had nine kills and three blocks. Millar and Gardner each had eight kills, two blocks and two aces.

Sean Rooney scored 11 points on nine kills and two blocks. Kevin Hansen scored five points on one kill and a match-high four blocks. Clay Stanley scored five points on five kills and Riley Salmon tallied four points on four kills.

Libero Rich Lambourne finished the match with 71 percent “excellent” service receptions.

After Argentina lost to Team USA 1-3 in a scrimmage on Saturday, their Head Coach Jon Uriarte made some adjustments that took the U.S. Men by surprise, including starting Martin Hernandez, who usually plays opposite, at middle blocker.

Hernandez responded with 13 kills and one ace. Lucas Ocampo added 17 points on 15 kills, one block and one ace.

But Uriarte’s team could not sustain the momentum it built in the first two sets.

“We are happy that our young team could play this type of match, but we still need to do some mental work,” Uriarte said.

McCutcheon started Priddy and Salmon at outside hitter, Lee and Millar at middle blocker, Stanley at opposite, Hansen at setter and Lambourne at libero.

Rooney substituted for Salmon in the second set and started the rest of the match.

Gardner substituted for Stanley in the second set and started the rest of the match.

Brandon Taliaferro, Delano Thomas and Scott Touzinsky all entered the match to serve.



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