Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Team USA Crushes Young Bulgarian Roster

The following post is an article I posted on www.middlehitter.com originally on June 20, 2008. I posted it here on the blog as it has been moved to the website archives.

Team USA defeated Team Bulgaria in three quick sets Friday night, 25-23, 25-16 and 25-16 in front of a crowd of 4, 450 fans. The starting rotation for Team USA was Hoff, Priddy and Ball across the front row with Stanley, Touzinsky and Millar across the back. Lambourne was the libero. Team Bulgaria started Gaydarski, Aleksiev, Zhekov across the front with Milushev, Ananiev and Tsvetanov across the back row with Salparov as Libero.

Bulgaria played even with USA in the first set including leading 17-15 at one point. While Bulgaria had a higher attacking percentage (.640 vs. .550) and out blocked (3 vs. 2) Team USA, the difference was Reid Priddy’s two service aces during a run that took the US from a 17-18 deficit to a 22-18 lead. That run seemed to take the energy out of the young Bulgarian team.

The second set was all USA as they pushed an early lead from 9-4 to 17-8 and 20-12 leads later in the set. Lloy Ball had three of his four match aces in this set changing the serves from a short roll to a well placed line serve. A couple of mental breakdowns occurred during the set for both teams. Tsvetan Sokolov had an easy USA serve receive over pass to put down but he stuffed it straight down on the Bulgarian side of the net. The very next play Team USA watched a bumped free ball land between them in the campfire coverage mode. Reid Priddy ended the set with a crushing cross shot.

The third set started out tighter with both teams trading points until 11-11. Danail Milushev, Bulgaria’s top scorer with 14 points blasted the 11th point on a tight set but appeared to strain his lower back while landing and ducking under the outside portion of the net. Next up was the Clayton Stanley serving show. Stanley took team USA from 12-11 to a 17-11 lead including 4 aces and one crushing serve resulting in an easy overpass kill for Ryan Millar. This removed the fight from the young Bulgarian team resulting in an easy 25-16 Team USA victory.

The next match will be Saturday night at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, IL.

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