Stanford grad Erik Shoji, third among all World League players in digs with 36 and an average of 2.25 per set, and the U.S. men's national volleyball team will face a surging team from Bulgaria in their FIVB World League match on Saturday and Sunday, with both matches beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Reno.
Cardinal grad Kawika Shoji has settled into the setter's role for the Americans.
Team USA, ranked fifth in the world, sits in third place with a 3-1 record after going 1-1 with Argentina (1-3 and 3-1) and 2-0 against France (3-0 and 3-2).
Bulgaria, ranked eighth in the world, has gone 2-0 against France (3-2 and 3-0) and 2-0 against Argentina (3-0 and 3-1) to share the lead in Pool A with Brazil (4-0).
"Bulgaria looks to be physical and experienced," U.S. coach John Speraw said. "They have at least a few guys who went to the Olympics last year.
"I'm happy we're playing them at home. It's during our Boys' Junior National Championships, so I'm excited for all the young players to come watch an international volleyball match."
After two straight weekends of World League play, the United States had the weekend of June 21 away from competition. Speraw said his young team spent the time watching video and working to improve.
The team the U.S. men will bring to the Reno Events Center will include five players from the 2012 team that took second in World League: Matt Anderson, David Lee, Rich Lambourne, Paul Lotman and David Smith.
That team went on to finish fifth at the Olympic Games in London. Two of those players, Lambourne and Lee, also competed on the 2008 team that won gold at both the FIVB World League and the Olympic Games in Beijing.
The European side is hungry to reach the medal stand in 2013 after placing fourth at both the 2012 World League and the 2012 Olympic Games.
Bulgaria's leading scorer thus far has been opposite Tsvetan Sokolov, a 2012 Olympian, who has 90 points on 77 spikes, seven blocks and six aces. Viktor Yosifov is Bulgaria's top blocker with a total of 12 and an average of .80 per set.
Anderson is leading the U.S. in scoring with 68 points on 54 spikes, nine blocks and five aces. He is followed by outside hitter Paul Lotman with 48 points on 40 attacks, six blocks and two aces. Lotman's success percentage of 51.95 puts him ninth among all World League players.
Anderson and Lee lead the U.S. in blocking. Each has nine blocks and an average of .56 blocks per set.
Anderson leads all World League players in receiving with 87 excellent receptions, and three errors in 101 attempts for an efficiency percentage of 83.17.