Alum Sean Rooney Wins FIVB World League Gold
July 23, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. – Four-time All-American and Pepperdine men’s volleyball alum Sean Rooney helped lead the U.S. Men’s National Team to victory on Sunday in Florence, Italy, defeating #1-ranked Brazil to take home the FIVB World League gold medal. It was just the second time Team USA claimed the gold medal in World League action, following their championship run in 2008.
The USA vs. Brazil title match will be aired on NBC Sports Network on Monday, July 28 at 4 p.m. PT. Alum Kevin Barnett will serve as commentator.
Rooney, captain of the 2014 U.S. squad, was also a member of the national team that won World League silver in 2012 and gold in 2008. The outside hitter is also the proud owner of an Olympic gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Games.
The FIVB World League, originating in 1990, is contested annually. With the 2014 title, the U.S. is now just the fourth country to win the league championship more than once. Brazil holds the most FIVB World League titles with nine, followed by Italy (eight) and Russia (three).
Team USA won Pool B, which included Russia, Serbia and Bulgaria, during the intercontinental round with a 9-3 record. As the Pool B winners, the United States advanced to the Group 1 finals.
Australia, which was captained by Wave alum Paul Carroll, did not win their pool during the intercontinental round, but earned a bid to the Group 2 finals as the tournament’s host. The Aussies made the most of the home court advantage and upset the Netherlands and France to move on to the Group 1 finals.
Six teams converged in Florence, Italy for the Group 1 finals including the #4-ranked United States, #1 Brazil, #2 Russia, #3 Italy, #11 Iran and #12 Australia.
The men in the Red, White and Blue fell to Italy before rebounding with a 3-1 win over Australia to avoid elimination and advance to the semifinals for a meeting with Iran. Team USA beat the Iranians, 3-0. Meanwhile in the other semifinal, Brazil knocked out the home favorites in straight sets.
In the title match, the United States edged the Brazilians 31-29 in the opening frame and put away the match in four sets. Finals scores were 31-29, 21-25, 25-20, 25-23.
In addition to Rooney and Carroll, two other Pepperdine alums competed for their counties this World League season. Fred Winters captained Team Canada, which finished second in Pool C with a 6-6 record. The Puerto Rican national team, headlined by 2013 graduate Maurice Torres, earned their first-ever World League win with a 3-2 triumph over Slovakia in Pool G.
Rooney was a member of the 2005 NCAA championship winning Wave squad, and was subsequently named the AVCA Player of the Year.