ANAHEIM, Calif. – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team won its first FIVB World League title on Sunday by taking as 3-1 (26-24, 23-25, 25-23, 25-22) victory over Serbia in the gold medal match before a crowd of 5,700 at Maracanazinho Gymnasium in Rio de Janeiro.
The U.S. Men, ranked third in the world, finish World League with a record of 12-4. Serbia, tied for eighth in the world with Puerto Rico, finishes second at 10-6. Russia defeated host Brazil, the five-time defending World League champion, 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 23-25, 25-19) to take the bronze medal.
Team USA won $1 million for the overall tournament victory. Its previous best World League finishes were bronze medals in 1992 and 2007. All four teams in the medal matches will play next at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. The men’s tournament begin on Aug. 10.
U.S. setter Lloy Ball (Fort Wayne, Ind.) was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and also Best Setter. Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) won the award for Best Libero for the second year in a row.
Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) led the U.S. Men on Sunday with 21 points on 18 kills and three blocks. Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawai’i) added 16 points on 12 kills – including the final three points of the match – three blocks and one ace. Riley Salmon (League City, Texas) scored 13 points on 12 kills and one ace.
Among other U.S. scorers, Ryan Millar (Palmdale, Calif.) scored 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and one ace. David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) added nine points on seven kills and two blocks. Gabe Gardner (San Clemente, Calif.) scored four points on four kills and Ball had three points on two kills and one ace.