Aug. 16, 2007
BANGKOK, Thailand - Despite a team-high 14 points from Evan Patak, the U.S. Men's Volleyball Team lost for the first time at the 2007 World University Games Thursday, falling 3-0 against Turkey in a semifinal tilt. Team USA will play for bronze Saturday.
The U.S., which entered the match with a perfect 6-0 record at the Games, was defeated by scores of 24-20, 28-26, and 39-37.
"We made a lot of unforced errors early, and we didn't really play that bad as the game went on, we just could never really get back," said U.S. head coach Alan Knipe. "We had a chance to win game two, and then a number of opportunities in game three. Turkey is an experienced team. And it's great experience for our guys who, with the exception of a few, have no international experience at this level. They played against a team with a lot more matches than they have, and Turkey won it last time."
Patak, who played at UCSB from 2004-07, posted his 14 points on 10 kills, two service aces, and a pair of blocks. The opposite hitter from Pleasanton, Calif. has led Team USA in points in five of seven matches.
Jayson Jablonsky (UC Irvine) had 12 kills for the U.S., while Jonathan Winder (Pepperdine) had three blocks.
Turkey, which will take on Canada in Saturday's gold medal match, was paced by Volkan Gug's match-high 17 points, which included 16 kills. Sinan Cem Tanik and Ahmet Togoglu each posted seven kills and Can Ayvazoglu finished with a match-best four blocks.
The U.S. will face Italy in the bronze medal match Saturday at Thammasat University. The Italians were downed 3-1 by Canada in Thursday's other semifinal.
Patak was on the U.S. roster for the 2003 World University Games where the Americans won bronze.
"Overall, we're playing for a medal still," said Knipe. "We're playing a great team in Italy for the bronze, so we have to quickly shift our focus and approach it like we have every match. Italy has a long tradition of being a good volleyball country. They're talented like all four teams that are left, so it should be a good match."
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.