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49er Volleyball Front And Center In 2012 London Olympic Games

Published: July 17, 2012

When CSULB supporters watch the 2012 Olympic Games in London beginning July 27, they will have plenty to root for, especially if that rooting interest is volleyball.

When USA Volleyball announced its nominations for the U.S. Olympic Men’s Volleyball Team, the 12-man roster included former 49ers David Lee, Paul Lotman and David McKienzie.

The nominated athletes and staff will represent the United States during the men’s volleyball competition scheduled to take place July 29-Aug. 12. The U.S. men’s squad is the defending Olympic gold metal winner and ranked No. 6 in the world. It will open the London Olympic Games against Serbia on July 29.

Lee, a middle blocker from Alpine, Calif., will compete in his second Olympic Games after being a key member of the 2008 squad that won the gold medal in Beijing.

Lotman, an outside hitter from Lakewood, and opposite McKienzie from Littleton, Colo. will both be competing in their first Olympic Games. Alan Knipe, who is on a leave of absence as the head coach of CSULB men’s team, is in his fourth season with the national squad and had a 52-27 record heading into 2012. This year the U.S. men have compiled a record of 14-3, including winning the NORCECA Men’s Continental Olympic Qualification Tournament in Long Beach.

On the women’s side, Danielle Scott-Arruda and Tayyiba Haneef-Park were both named to the United States Women’s Volleyball Olympic roster, and will represent Team USA as it tries to win another medal this summer.

For Scott-Arruda, her selection means that she will be traveling to a record fifth Olympic Games, breaking a record that she shared with another former 49er, Tara Cross-Battle, after representing the team in the Beijing Olympics. Scott-Arruda was the National Player of the Year while leading the 49ers to the 1993 national championship.

Haneef-Park will be participating in her third trip to the Olympics, making the team on the right side after playing middle blocker in college. Haneef-Park led the 49ers to the 2001 national championship match as well as being a member of the 1998 national championship team.
With two selections on the roster, Long Beach State is tied with Penn State, Washington and Stanford for the most on the team.

Olympic volleyball salute parade
Photo by Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland.
Disneyland hosted a USA Olympic Volleyball salute parade July 17 prior to the teams’ departure for London. CSULB alums include Danielle Scott-Arruda, far right, top; and Tayyiba Haneef-Park, third from top (with raised arm).

Both Scott-Arruda and Haneef-Park played for Team USA in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, helping the team to a silver medal finish.

The only non-volleyball CSULB athlete competing in the games is Kenneth Medwood, who as a 49er went to the NCAA National Track and Field meet in 2010. He will be competing for Belize in the 400-meter hurdles.