U.S. Clips Ukraine 3-2 to Advance to World University Games Semifinals

Aug. 15, 2007

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BANGKOK, Thailand - The United States Men's Volleyball Team battled for a hard-fought 3-2 win over the Ukraine Wednesday in a quarterfinal match at the 2007 World University Games in Bangkok. Team USA, which advanced to the semifinals with the victory, took the marathon match by scores of 25-21, 25-22, 22-25, 27-29, and 15-8.

While the Ukraine kept the first two sets close, the U.S. gained the advantage and held on in the second half of both sets. In the third, Team USA pulled ahead 6-2 early and led by as many as six points when momentum shifted and the Ukraine tied the score at 14-14. The U.S. was unable to recover, falling 22-25.

Despite keeping the score within three points throughout the fourth set, Team USA never gained the upper hand. The squad fell 27-29, forcing the match to a fifth set. In the deciding frame, the U.S. squad used a 7-2 run to lead them to victory.

The U.S. improved to 6-0 with the win.

"We got off to a really good start," said U.S. head coach Alan Knipe. "You know when you're up 2-0 on a team in the medal rounds, you're going to get their best shot in Game 3. We knew they were going to hit their serves as hard as they could and go for broke. They gained the momentum and it took a while for us to get it back. But, we played fairly well towards the end of game four, and in game five, we were as clean as we could possibly be."

Opposite hitter Matt Proper (Penn State) and outside hitter Robert Tarr (Long Beach State) led the United States with 18 points each. Proper had 15 kills, two blocks, and a service aces, while Tarr posted 17 kills and a block. Outside Paul Lotman (Long Beach State) added 17 points on 16 kills and a block.

Former UCSB player Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) did not see action in the match due to a hand injury. He is listed as day-to-day.

The U.S. will face Turkey Thursday in the semifinals. The match will be played at the Sports Authority of Thailand, Indoor Stadium.

The 2007 Summer World University Games run from August 8-18. Team USA consists of 144 athletes - 68 women and 76 men. Overall, more than 140 countries are participating, and nearly 8,000 athletes competing. The World University Games or Universiade, which include both summer and winter versions, are held every two years for student-athletes between the ages of 17 and 28. Eligible athletes must be registered for a full course of study at a university or have obtained their degrees within a year of the Games. The World University Games, sponsored by FISU, the International University Sport Federation, bring together top collegiate athletes from around the world for 11 days of competition in a multi-sport Olympic-style event. The U.S. entered the Summer World University Games for the first time in 1965 and hosted the 1993 Games in Buffalo, N.Y.