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Priddy Leads USA To Best Olympic Finish in 12 Years

Aug. 29, 2004

Athens, Greece - Loyola Marymount's Reid Priddy (2000) returns to the United States this week after leading the USA men's volleyball team to its highest Olympic finish in 12 years in Athens over the last two weeks. Priddy, starting at outside hitter for Team USA and 2000 communication studies graduate of LMU, led the Americans on a journey to the bronze medal game, handing the eventual gold medalists Brazil its first loss during pool play along the way. An improbable run to an Olympic medal came to a sudden 3-0 end for the USA men's volleyball team Sunday afternoon at Peace and Friendship Stadium. Russia took the 25-22, 27-25, 25-16 victory in the bronze medal match and captured its second-consecutive Olympic medal, as the Russians earned a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) scored a team-high 13 points to lead the United States, who despite the loss surpassed nearly everyone's expectations by finishing in fourth place, its highest finish in 12 years. Sunday's match was a lot closer than the final 3-0 score would indicate. The United States had chances to win each of the first two sets but faltered down the stretch. Trailing 18-16 in the first set, the Americans embarked on a 5-1 run to take a 21-19 lead. A kill by Stanley, a Russia hitting error, a dump by Ball and two kills by Priddy (Richmond, Va.) gave Team USA the two-point advantage. But Russia tied the score at 21-all after a service error by Ball and an illegal contact call on the Americans that forced a USA timeout. Tom Hoff (Park Ridge, Ill.) put Team USA on top, 22-21, with a kill, but they would not score again as Russia finished the set with two kills, a block and an ace to take the early 1-0 advantage. Despite Sunday's disappointment, the Americans were proud of what they accomplished in Athens and plan to use it to build toward the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. "We got in the top four and we're happy about that," said Priddy. "I think our team gave everything we had, emotionally and physically, for this tournament and it just took too much out of us. We came up short today and it caused us to do some things we don't normally do as a team. That's disappointing. But we gave it all we had, and that's all we came here to do: to fight as hard as we could." Priddy was one of three LMU athletes competing at the 2004 Olympic Games. Rachel Riddell and incoming freshman Christine Robinson are members of the Canadian women's water polo team. For complete coverage on Priddy and Team USA, visit USA Volleyball by clicking here. -GO LIONS-


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