Tulsa, Oklahoma, June 21, 2011 – The only thing that has seemed consistent for USA in its first four weekends of the 2011 FIVB World League have been its inconsistency.
Other than a two-match sweep of Puerto Rico on June 3-4 in San Juan, the U.S. has split its results each weekend, opening with a loss and then coming back with a victory in the second match.
But the United States’ five victories against three losses are enough to keep it in second place in Group A, ahead of Poland (4-4) and behind Brazil (5-1), which it will face in two matches this weekend (June 24-25) at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Moreover, the U.S. is currently the second-best, second-place team in the intercontinental round behind Cuba, a position it hopes to improve on.
U.S. coach Alan Knipe has been making minor adjustments to improve his team’s consistency, from adjusting its training schedule to starting Russell Holmes at middle blocker. But, he said, his strategy against Brazil will remain the same as it has been throughout World League.
“Brazil is Brazil and it is going to play well,” Knipe said. “We’re going to worry about what we’re doing on our side of the court.”
The United States is the only team in Group A to defeat Brazil, handing the South American team a 25-21, 25-22, 16-25, 26-24 defeat on June 12 before 17,800 Brazilian fans in Belo Horizonte Brazil. But if the U.S. hopes to repeat that feat, it will need consistent play from its best athletes.
Outside hitter and team captain William “Reid” Priddy leads the U.S. in scoring and us eighth among all World League players with 120 points on 99 kills, 12 blocks and nine aces. Middle blocker David Lee leads the team in blocking and is fourth overall with an average of 0.93 blocks per set. Opposite Clay Stanley leads all World League servers in aces with an average of 0.52 per set. Libero Rich Lambourne is third among all diggers with an average of 3.48 per set.
Opposite Leandro Vissotto leads Brazil in scoring with 76 points on 63 kills, 12 blocks and one ace. He is also the team’s leading blocker. Lucas Saatkamp leads the team in aces with 0.19 per set. However libero Sérgio “Serginho” Dutra Santos leads all liberos and is second among receivers and second among diggers.