Kowal and Mattei Invited To World University Games Tryout
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., May 9, 2003 -Penn State men's volleyball players Keith Kowal (Reading, Pa.) and Ricky Mattei (San Juan, Puerto Rico) are two of 24 players invited by USA Volleyball to tryout for the team it will send to compete in the 2003 World University Games in Daegu, Korea, from Aug. 21-31.
Both Kowal and Mattei played vital roles in Penn State's success this season, recording a 26-6 record and advancing to the 2003 NCAA semifinal match in Long Beach, Calif. before falling to BYU in four games.
Kowal earned second team All-America honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) as he shattered Penn State's single-season blocking record, ending the season with 163 total blocks. The junior was a first team All-EIVA selection in addition to being named Academic All-EIVA and EIVA Player of the Week for Feb. 18. He also selected to the EIVA and Long Beach State Beach Bash All-Tournament teams.
Mattei, also a junior, led the Penn State defense with 2.56 digs per game en route to being named a first team All-EIVA honoree and a member of the Long Beach State Beach Bash All-Tournament team. Mattei led the Lions in digs in 27 matches, including recording a season-high 16 digs twice.
The 24 selected athletes represent 14 university teams and three high school teams from throughout the United States. The players begin training on Friday, June 27 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
In March veteran collegiate volleyball coach Arnie Ball of IPFW was selected as the head coach of the 2003 USA Men's World University Games team. He will be assisted by Andy Read, who is currently in his seventh season as an assistant coach for the Long Beach State men's volleyball team.
Once a team is selected (12 players and alternates), it will compete in the Japan-USA Men's Challenge Cup in Japan-a series of six matches-from July 26-Aug. 3. The team will then return to Colorado Springs to begin final preparations for the World University Games.
The team that represents the United States in Korea will have big shoes to fill. At the last summer World University Games in Beijing, China, in 2001, Team USA, led by current national team members Dave McKienzie, Jim Polster, Chris Seiffert and Mac Wilson, went undefeated (7-0) en route to winning its first-ever gold medal at the event.
Nine of the tryout players were honored April 30 by being selected as an AVCA All-American. Doug English (Cal State Northridge), Joe Nargi (Cal State Northridge), Jim Pelzel (UC Irvine), Sean Rooney (Pepperdine), Chris Tamas (University of the Pacific) and Delano Thomas (University of Hawai'i) all earned first-team All-America honors. Kowal, Shane Davis (Loyola-Chicago) and Jeff Ptak (IPFW) captured second-team All-America accolades.
Another member of the tryout roster, Tyler Hildebrand (Long Beach State), was named the AVCA Newcomer of the Year.
Five of the 2003 tryout players-BYU's Mike Burke, Pepperdine's Andy Hein and Rooney, and Penn State's Kowal and Ricky Mattei-competed for their respective collegiate teams in the NCAA men's volleyball championship semifinals in Long Beach, Calif.
Also included on the list are three high school athletes: middle blocker Tom Hulse from Evanston, Ill; outside hitter Steve Klosterman from Long Beach, Calif.; and setter Jon Winder from Irvine, Calif. Hulse and Klosterman are both seniors at their respective high schools. Winder is a junior.
2003 USA World University Games Tryout Roster:
Name Ht. Pos. School Hometown