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USA looking for improvement against Finland

David Lee (left) and Matt Anderson go up to block Finland's Antti Siltala when the two teams played on June 12 in Tampere, Finland.

Hoffman Estates, Illinois, USA, June 23, 2010 – The United States will have their first rematches of the 2010 World League when they host Finland on June 25-26 at Sears Centre Arena in Illinois.


After two straight losses to host Russia, USA defeated Finland 3-1 twice in the second weekend of World League, on June 11-12 in Tampere. The following weekend they beat Egypt twice in Concord, North Carolina.

The United States are in second place in Pool C with a 4-2 record while Finland are in third at 1-5. They hold a one-point lead over fourth-place Egypt.


Finland is coming off two straight losses to Russia 3-0 and 3-1 after the side took them on away last weekend.

In Finland, the United States did not have 2008 Olympic MVP Clay Stanley at opposite, nor did they have 2008 Olympian and team captain Reid Priddy at outside hitter. Both players are expected to be in Hoffman Estates, a suburb of Chicago.

The question mark is at setter. Donald Suxho, a 2004 Olympian, was injured during the United States’ first match against Egypt on June 18 in Concord, North Carolina. It is not known if he will be able to play against Finland. If not, then part-time start Kevin Hansen, a 2008 Olympian, will start for the U.S.A., backed up by Tyler Hildebrand.


Regardless of the players, U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe says his team needs to play better against Finland than it did against Egypt if it hopes to maintain second place in Pool C and set up a final showdown against Russia on July 9-10 in Wichita, Kansas.


“It’s about what we do on our side of the net,” Knipe said. “It’s our attention to detail. We need better preparation. We need to be better on serve receive, both individually and as a team. We need better swings out of system.


“Finland is a very nice team. It has the ability to set the ball fast and is an aggressive serving team. We’re going to have to be ready to play.”


Opposite Antti Siltala leads Finland in scoring after six World League matches with 96 points on 85 kills, six blocks and five aces. Urpo Sivula is second with 72 points on 67 spikes, two blocks and three aces.


Finland libero Pasi Hyvärinen leads all World League players in digs with 89 and 13 faults in 120 attempts. He averages 3.71 digs per set.


Outside hitter Matt Anderson leads Team USA in scoring with 61 points on 51 kills, three blocks and four aces.


U.S. middle blocker David Lee leads all World League players in blocks with 28 blocks in 111 attempts and a per-set average of 1.22.


The U.S. Men have an overall record of 15-2 against Finland since their first match in 1978.



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