Patak Rallies U.S. to Win Over Japan at WUG

Aug. 11, 2007

BANGKOK, Thailand - Evan Patak and the U.S. Men's Volleyball team lost it first set of the 2007 World University Games Saturday but shook it off and went on to defeat Japan 3-1 in Pool C play at Assumption University.

Scores of the match went 25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 26-24 in favor of the U.S., which is now 3-0 at the WUG after blanking both Germany and Sweden.

"I thought that we were okay in game one, we made a lot of errors to start game two, and gave them a pretty good margin and comfort level," said U.S. head coach Alan Knipe. "Then in game three, we faced the first real gut-it-out fight that really showed we want to play well, we want to win these matches and we're going to lay it out. And, in game four, it could have gone either way all the way to the end. I thought our guys did a great job of keeping their composure, waiting for their opportunity, and when they got it, they made the plays down the stretch."

In the third set, the lead changed hands nine times. Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) recorded two aces late in the set to give the U.S. a two-point lead at 23-21.

"I'm really happy with the fact that we've been tested now," said Knipe. "We lost a set, and we went overtime in a set in points, 26-24, and we had to come from behind. These are all good things for us to build on as we go through the tournament."

Patak led the team in scoring for the third consecutive match, collecting 16 today for a total of 47 points in the Games.

Four other players also posted double digits in scoring: Robert Tarr (Long Beach State) with 15 points from 15 kills; David Smith (UC Irvine) with 12 - 11 kills and one block; Andrew Hein (Pepperdine) with 11 and Paul Lotman (Long Beach State) with 10, including two aces.

Patak and Hein also shared the team high in blocks with three apiece.

The U.S. continues play in Pool C Sunday vs. Poland at the IMPACT Convention Center. The team wraps up pool play on Monday against Chinese Taipei, also at IMPACT.

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 will be participating, and nearly 8,000 athletes will compete. 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.