Hoffman Estates, Illinois, July 7, 2009 - The United
States finds itself in a must-win situation this weekend when it plays Italy in
two 2009 FIVB World League matches at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman
The U.S. Men, No. 2 in the world, lead World League Pool
A with a 6-2 record. But No. 6 Italy is hot on its trail at 5-3 having beaten
visiting Netherlands twice on July 3 and 5.
"We are definitely looking forward to playing in the
U.S. again," said U.S. coach Alan Knipe, who just returned with the team
from China where the U.S. split two matches with the Chinese. "I know they
had great crowds in Hoffman Estates for the World League last year, so we are
really looking forward to seeing a lot of fans of both the U.S. and Italy."
Team USA defeated Italy twice when the teams played in
Italy on June 19 and 21. The scores were 3-1 (25-21, 30-28, 21-25, 25-21) and
3-1 (25-19, 18-25, 25-22, 25-20). The United States is now 22-37 against Italy
"I think Italy will be much improved from when we
faced them," Knipe said. "We will need to play our best
Outside hitter Sean Rooney of Wheaton, Illinois, who
played on both the FIVB World League championship team and also the 2008
Olympic gold medal team, will have plenty of family and friends in the stands
for the matches, which will take place July 10-11 at 7 p.m. both days.
Rooney is leading the U.S. Men in World League scoring
with 121 points on 109 kills, 11 blocks and one ace. He is 10th overall among
all World League scorers. Rooney's 109 kills in 212 attempts puts him fifth
among all spikers with a 51.42 success percentage.
Also making a homecoming of sorts will be middle blocker
Andy Hein from Carol Stream, Illinois, who has started every 2009 World League
match, while Ryan Millar takes the summer off.
Hein is the second leading blocker for the U.S. Men
(behind David Lee) with 17 blocks in 43 attempts and an average of 0.53 blocks
per set. He is 11th among all World League blockers.
Outside hitter Cristian Savani leads Italy in scoring
with 124 points on 109 kills, 11 blocks and four aces. He is tied for seventh
among all World League scorers and third among all spikers with a success
percentage of 52.4.
Middle blocker Andrea Sala leads Italy in blocking and is
second overall with 22 blocks in 61 attempts and an average of 0.79 blocks per