Bulgaria storms into Reno to play USA
Reno, USA, June 25, 2013 – The United States will face a surging team from Bulgaria in their FIVB World League match on June 28-29 at the Reno Events Center in this city known for the bright lights of its casinos.
Team USA, ranked fifth in the world, sits in third place with a 3-1 record after going 1-1 with Argentina (1-3 and 3-1) and 2-0 against France (3-0 and 3-2).
Bulgaria, ranked eighth in the world, has gone 2-0 against France (3-2 and 3-0) and 2-0 against Argentina (3-0 and 3-1) to share the lead in Pool A with Brazil (4-0).
“Bulgaria looks to be physical and experienced,” U.S. coach John Speraw said. “They have at least a few guys who went to the Olympics last year.
“I’m happy we’re playing them at home. It’s during our Boys’ Junior National Championships, so I’m excited for all the young players to come watch an international volleyball match.”
After two straight weekends of World League play, the United States had the weekend of June 21 away from competition. Speraw said his young team spent the time watching video and working to improve.
The team the U.S. Men will bring to Reno will include five players from the 2012 team that took second in World League – Matt Anderson, David Lee, Rich Lambourne, Paul Lotman and David Smith – and went on to finish fifth at the Olympic Games in London. Two of those players – Lambourne and Lee – also competed on the 2008 team that won gold at both the FIVB World League and the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The European side is hungry to reach the medal stand in 2013 after placing fourth at both the 2012 World League and the 2012 Olympic Games.
Bulgaria’s leading scorer thus far has been opposite Tsvetan Sokolov, a 2012 Olympian, who has 90 points on 77 spikes, seven blocks and six aces. Behind him is wing spiker Todor Aleksiev with 59 points on 49 spikes, eight blocks and two aces. Aleksiev’s success percentage of 56.98 places him first among all spikers in World League.
Viktor Yosifov is Bulgaria’s top blocker with a total of 12 and an average of .80 per set.
Wing spiker Matt Anderson is leading the U.S. in scoring with 68 points on 54 spikes, nine blocks and five aces. He is followed by wing spiker Paul Lotman with 48 points on 40 attacks, six blocks and two aces. Lotman’s success percentage of 51.95 puts him ninth among all World League players.
Anderson and Lee lead the U.S. in blocking. Each has nine blocks and an average of .56 blocks per set.
U.S. libero Erik Shoji is third among all World League players in digs with 36 and an average of 2.25 per set. Anderson leads all World League players in receiving with 87 excellent receptions, and three errors in 101 attempts for an efficiency percentage of 83.17.