Priddy, a former Mountain Pointe player and 1996 graduate, had waited
long enough. He helped Team USA fight from behind to take a 14-13
ensuing play, Cuba's right-side hitter spiked the ball into Priddy
and teammate Tom Hoff's waiting arms for the block. The ball fell
on Cuba's side of the court. Priddy fell on his knees and on his
still remember the play," said Priddy, 26, "I was losing
my balance and I was laying there for a while. I was relieved it
was over. I'm so excited we're going to Athens to do what we've
been working for the last four years. People don't understand how
hard it is to qualify for the Olympics."
moved to Chandler with his family from Orlando his sophomore year
in high school when Mountain Pointe started a volleyball program
under coach Fred Mann. Priddy helped Mann build a dominant volleyball
program, winning the state title in its second year of existence.
Priddy then played at Loyola Marymount University, where he earned
numerous All-America honors before playing professionally in Austria
and as a starter on Team USA since 2001.
Priddy, who said he isn't worried about a terrorist threat in Athens,
now lives in Colorado Springs, where he trains and practices in
the U.S. Olympic headquarters. He said he signed a one-year contract
to play professional volleyball in Italy after the Olympics and
then there is a good indication he will come back to the States
to join the AVP Beach Volleyball Tour.
now, his focus is all on Athens.
try to keep my mind on if we can play and reach our potential -
not necessarily something spectacular but if we play as good as
we can play, I'll be incredibly satisfied," Priddy said. "But
we are all thinking medal. We're not just playing to get into the
Olympics. And we're not just happy to be there. We're playing to
mother, Sharon, said she still wasn't sure if her son was going
to the Olympics after the qualifying victory even though he has
been a starter on the national team for three years. But when he
was officially named to the team, it finally became a reality.
you could say he's officially a starter on the team," she said.
"Now it's starting to hit. Where are we staying? What are we
going to wear? Is it hot over there? It's starting to sink in."
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