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NORCECA teams do battle in Pool A of World League

USA captain William "Reid" Priddy (8) is among the top scorers of this year's FIVB World League
San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 2, 2011 – It will be a battle between NORCECA teams when Puerto Rico hosts United States on June 3-4 at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in action of Pool A of FIVB World League.

The American team, currently ranked fifth in the world, split victories visiting Poland during the first round at Lodz, while World League debutant and 16th ranked Puerto Rico lost to nine-time monarchs and world champions Brazil in both of its matches in San Juan.

The NORCECA vice champions opened the season with a three-set defeat to the Polish by score of 25-20, 25-22, 25-19 and then bounced back with a 25-22, 25-19, 37-35 victory. In its first two matches ever in the premier men’s annual event, Puerto Rico lost to the two-time World League defending champions Brazil by scores of 25-15, 25-19, 25-16 and 25-19, 31-29, 25-23.

The last time USA and Puerto Rico were pitted together was in the semifinals of NORCECA Continental Tournament with the American side outclassing the islanders in three sets (25-16, 25-23, 25-22). Since 1981, USA have a 22-1 record against Puerto Rico.

“They’re a good team and have played together a long time,” USA captain Reid Priddy said. “This will be the first measuring stick against them for Olympic qualifying.”
The USA squad will most likely face Puerto Rico again this year at the 2011 NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship where both teams will be fighting to qualify for the 2011 World Cup, which provides the first opportunity to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.

The United States has not made any changes to its 14-man roster but Puerto Rico is facing some issues with the health of setter Angel Perez and libero Gregory Berrios.
Perez missed some practice time following flu-like symptoms but was back training on Wednesday while Berrios hurt his right knee during the first match against Brazil and likely will be replaced in the regular side by Joel Rivera.

“Perez had no fever and was able to work but not with a lot of intensity”, Puerto Rico’s coach Carlos Cardona said. “If he is OK, he will play on Friday”.

Regarding Berrios, Cardona said the team is waiting for the results of an MRI test. “He will continue rehabbing with basic movements without forcing it,” he said. “We don’t want to make things worst and I am not planning to let him play until we are sure he is able to perform safely.”

Captains Priddy and Hector Soto are among the top scorers of the FIVB World League after the first round of Intercontinental Pool Play. Priddy totales 33 points against Poland while Soto recorded 29 against Brazil.

Both matches in Puerto Rico will be on national TV with a press conference with both coaches and captains scheduled on Thursday at 18:00 local time at Old San Juan Sheraton Hotel.

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