Wichita, Kansas, July 14, 2009 - U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe knows that his team must win at least one match against the Netherlands in FIVB World League play this weekend to secure first place in Pool A and advance to the Final Round.
But Knipe does not feel any pressure being in the driver's seat.
"What you want (in the last weekend of World League) is to have something to play for and have it in your control," Knipe said. "Our job is to take care of the things we can control."
The United States will do its best to keep things in its control when it plays the Netherlands on July 17-18 (7 p.m. CT both nights) at Charles Koch Arena on the campus of Wichita State University. The United States leads Pool A with a 7-3 record. Netherlands is in third place at 4-6.
While the Dutch cannot catch the U.S., it could play spoiler if it wins both matches and Italy, which is in second at 6-4, wins both of its matches in China. The United States has a record of 22-31 against Netherlands since 1981.
Team USA opened their World League campaign by playing Netherlands in Rotterdam and dropped the first match 0-3 (22-25, 19-25, 24-26). However, the U.S. came back to win the second match 3-2 (25-16, 30-32, 25-17, 20-25, 15-6).
"First off, they played really well against us, especially on Night 1," Knipe said. "I thought we played a lot better Night 2. They have some guys who have some experience."
The Netherlands is led in scoring by 6-10 opposite Kay van Dijk, who has 128 points on 116 kills, eight blocks and four aces. Outside hitter Robert Horstink is second with 110 points on 95 kills, six blocks and nine aces. Horstink is sixth among all spikers in World League scoring.
Netherlands' Rob Bontje is seventh among all blockers with an average of 0.64 per set.
Team USA is being paced by outside hitter Sean Rooney, who is fifth among all scorers with 158 points on 142 kills, 13 blocks and three aces. He is seventh among all spikers.
U.S. middle blocker David Lee is fourth among all blockers with an average of 0.74 per set.