Thornton, Smith named to U.S. Olympic men's volleyball team roster

Brian Thornton and David Smith, both former UC Irvine standouts, have been named to the U.S. Olympic men's volleyball team, pending approval from the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Upon approval, Thornton and Smith along with the rest of the nominated team and staff will represent the United States at the 2012 Olympic Games July 29 through Aug. 12 in London.

Thornton and Smith, who were key figures in UCI's first national championship team in 2007, become the first UCI student-athletes to be Olympians in the sport of men's volleyball. The Anteater duo made the 12-man roster which features athletes from eight different universities. UCI and BYU have the second most representatives behind Long Beach State's three players.

Thornton, a setter, earned second team All-America as well as All-Mountain Pacific Sports Federation honors twice and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament in 2007. He is UCI's all-time assists leader (4,662). Thornton was a UCI Scholar-Athlete who graduated with a degree in sociology.

Smith was named first-team All-American and first team All-MPSF in 2007 as well as selected to the NCAA all-tournament team. As a senior, the middle blocker led the nation with a .559 hitting percentage, which is a UCI season record. He is also UCI's career leader in block assists (471) and total blocks (520). Smith, who graduated with a degree in civil engineering, was a UCI Scholar-Athlete.

John Speraw, the former UCI coach who is now the head man at UCLA, is an assistant for Team USA.

Jayson Jablonsky ('07), who was the 2006 National Player of the Year, is a replacement athlete for the team, as is Kevin Hansen, a former Corona del Mar High standout.

Rob Browning, a Newport Beach resident, is the team manager for Team USA.

The U.S. men are the defending Olympic champions and ranked No. 6 in the world. The 2012 U.S. Olympic men's volleyball team trains at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim.

The U.S. men qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games by winning the NORCECA Men's Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament in May in Long Beach.

The U.S. men have qualified for nine previous Olympic Games: 1964, '68, '84, '88, '92, '96, 2000, '04 and '08. They have won the gold medal in 1984, '88 and 2008 and won bronze in 1992.

The U.S. men will begin play in the London Olympic Games on July 29 against Serbia.

2012 U.S. Olympic Men's Volleyball Team

Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)

Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)

David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)

Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)

Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)

Donald Suxho (S, 6-5, Korce, Albania, USC)

Reid Priddy (OH, 6-5, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)

Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)

Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)

Clay Stanley (OPP, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawaii)

David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)

David McKienzie (Opp, 6-4, Littleton, Colo., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)

Team Manager: Rob Browning (Newport Beach, Calif.)

Assistant Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)

Assistant Coach: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Assistant Coach: Ron Larsen (Lafayette, Calif.)

Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)

Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)

Replacement Players for the U.S. Olympic Men's Volleyball Team

Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)

Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Utah, BYU)

Riley Salmon (L, 6-6, League City, Texas, Pierce College)

Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)

Gabe Gardner (Opp, 6-8, San Clemente, Calif., Stanford)

Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)

Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)

Jonathan Winder (S, 6-8, Irvine, Calif., Pepperdine)

2012 Olympic Games Men's Volleyball Schedule

Pool A (World Ranking): Italy (3), Poland (4), Argentina (8), Bulgaria (9), Australia (22), Great Britain (92)

Pool B (World Ranking): Brazil (1), Russia (2), USA (6), Serbia (7), Germany (13), Tunisia (18)

July 29: USA vs. Serbia, 4:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m. PT)

July 31: USA vs. Germany, 4:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m. PT)

Aug. 2: Brazil vs. USA, 8 p.m. (noon PT)

Aug. 4: Russia vs. USA, 4:45 p.m. (8:45 a.m.)

Aug. 6: USA vs. Tunisia, 8 p.m. (noon PT)

Aug. 8: Quarterfinal Matches at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.

Aug. 10: Semifinal Matches at 3 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Aug. 12: Men's Bronze Medal Match, 9:30 a.m.

Aug. 12: Men's Gold Medal Match, 1 p.m.

Aug. 12: Men's Gold Medal Ceremony, 2:50 p.m.

— From staff reports

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