Paul Lotman: Our goal for World Championships is the same as World League - get to the podium and hope for the gold

2014-07-31 10:40:58
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In this short interview American outside hitter, Paul Lotman, shares his thoughts about the World League, the Team USA and the upcoming World Championships in Poland.

Zuzanna Dulnik: Congratulations on the victory at the World League. Did you expect in the beginning of the event that the Team USA would grab the gold?

 

Paul Lotman: We set our first goal to make the Final Six in Firenze. We knew our pool was very difficult with Russia, Serbia, and Bulgaria, but we won a lot of matches and won 2 very important away matches in Russia and Serbia to qualify for the final round. We knew we had as good a chance as anyone else to win the gold once we arrived in Firenze.

 

 

What was the key to win with Brazil? Do you think they played below their potential?

 

No, I think it was a very close and competitive match the entire night. Winning the first set was very important, and I think if we lost that set and also the 2nd set, it might have been a different result. Our serve and block/defense was the key to the match. We were putting them in difficult situations with our serve and we blocked a lot of balls. David Lee was unbelievable in this category as you probably noticed.

 

 

There are new faces on the team this year. Do you think you found your optimal squad that will take you to the Olympics in Rio?

 

It's impossible to say at this point, so far from the Olympics. I think this team has very good chemistry and balance, we push each other to train and play hard and we are also get along well when we are not playing volleyball. This balance is crucial for the success of a team.

 

 

Taylor Sander certainly added more power to USA attack, but doesn't he make the passing line more fragile?

 

He has struggled in reception some matches, but everyone can struggle at some point. In the important matches he has proved himself to be a world class player, and has shown he can be an elite receiver as well. With time and training he can become one of the best position 4 players in the world, and maybe even in the history of volleyball. I have been very impressed with his transition from university to professional volleyball, I have never seen someone make such a huge jump to the elite level. I hope he continues to improve, because he can become even better and it will help our team moving toward the Olympics as well.

 

 

 

 

Photo 1. Team USA celebrating their second World League gold medal.

 

 

 

Let's talk about World Championships in Poland. What do you expect from USA?

 

Our goal for World Championships is the same as World League - get to the podium and hope for the gold. It is a very long and difficult tournament, so we must be in top form mentally and physically. 

 

 

Pool D, with USA, Italy, Iran, France, Belgium and Puerto Rico is certainly the most balanced.

 

Yes, very balanced. I think we are in the most challenging pool and each match will be very difficult. We will need to learn how to recover from a difficult loss and also not lose focus after getting a big win. 

 

 

Who are the favorites in your opinion and why?

 

Russia, Brazil, USA, and Poland are my favorites. Serbia and Italy are very good as well. Poland will have the support of a country behind them, so they will be a dangerous team to play in the later stages.

 

 

Despite different rumours you have decided to renew your contract with Asseco Resovia. What can we expect from the team in the next season?

 

I am very excited for another year in Resovia, our team is going to be very competitive once again. With 5 great position 4 players it won't be easy to be in the starting 6, but I embrace the challenge. I learned a lot from my experience last year and am excited to see what this team is capable of this year.

 

 

Do you expect some fans from Rzeszow to support you during the first phase of the World Championships, since Krakow is so close?

 

I really hope so, I am sure the fans will be excited to see high level volleyball and am looking forward to seeing Resovia fans in the crowds.

 

 

 

Zuzanna Dulnik.

 

 

 

fot. fivb.org

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