James Stuck passes the ball

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 12, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s Sitting Team will have a chance to qualify for the 2024 Paralympics on Saturday after the team defeated Canada 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 27-25, 22-25, 15-12) in the semifinals at the ParaVolley Pan America Zonal Championship in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

The U.S. Men will play Brazil in the gold medal match at 12:30 p.m. PT, and the winner of that match will qualify for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Brazil defeated the U.S. 3-1 in the first match of the tournament.

In Friday’s match, the U.S. and Canada battled with tough defense and powerful hits. When one team managed to gain a significant lead, the other team quickly chipped away at the deficit.

Match Statistics (PDF)

The fifth set was no different from the first four, as Canada led by scores of 6-3 and 8-6, but both times the U.S. dug deep to tie the score. At 11-11, Eric Duda notched two straight kills to give the U.S. a 13-11 lead. Zach Upp sailed his rocket serve a bit long to allow Canada back in at 13-12. But a massive block by James Stuck and a hitting error by Canada’s Doug Learoyd sealed the win for the U.S.

“A win is a win,” U.S. head coach Greg Walker said. “Kudos to Team Canada. Especially lately, they have been a thorn in our sides. We had to refocus. We don’t get tomorrow if we don’t get today. They do some really good things over there; they stay scrappy. We were just able to make a few more plays.”

Walker praised his team’s ability to come back all week.

“In the past when we got down, we haven’t been the team that’s been able to get out there, refocus, execute and close out.” he said.” But I think this tournament has been pretty good. If we dig a hole in our matches, we can battle back. That’s been really good to see that trend.”

Canada led the U.S. in kills (57-55) and blocks (17-10). The U.S. led in aces (11-3).

Zach Upp led all scorers with 29 points on 20 kills, three blocks and six aces. Eric Duda scored 23 on 20 kills, two aces and a block. James Stuck totaled 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and an ace.

Rod Green had 10 points on six kills, three blocks and an ace. Chris Seilkop rounded off the U.S. scoring with two points on a block and an ace. Libero Nick Dadgostar was credited with 43 receptions, 65% positive.

With only rival Brazil standing between the U.S. and Paris, Walker was optimistic.

“The one thing we know, absolutely, without a doubt, the mission was to come here and qualify,” he said. “That first game with Brazil, we had a couple unforced errors that weren’t normal for us. Brazil played just like they normally do. If we can pull out a couple plays on our side of the net, we should be OK. We’re excited.”

Watch the gold medal match against Brazil at 12:30 p.m. PT live on YouTube.

U.S. Men’s Sitting Team Roster
No Name (Position, Height, Hometown, Region)
Travis Ricks (L, 5-7, San Diego, Calif., Southern California)
Dan Regan (OH, 6-0, St. Louis, Gateway)
Nicholas Dadgostar (L, 6-0, Sidney, Neb., Chesapeake)
Ben Aman (OH, 6-5, Edmond, Okla., Oklahoma)
Eric Duda (S/OH, 6-5, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Florida)
7 Robbie Gaupp (Opp/OH, Havre De Grace, Md., Chesapeake)
James Stuck (S/OH, 6-5, New Kensington, Pa., Keystone)
9 Dandy Wilson  (Opp/OH, Alexandria, Va., Old Dominion)
11 Roderick Green (MB, 6-3, West Monroe, La., Bayou)
12 Patrick Young (OH, 6-4, Albuquerque, N.M., Sun Country)
14 John Kremer (L, 5-9, Buford, Ga., Southern)
15 Chris Seilkop (OH, 6-6, Deland, Fla., Florida)
17 Zach Upp (OH, 6-5, Bartlett, Ill., Great Lakes)
49 Sam Surowiec (OH, 6-2, Everett, Wash., Evergreen)

Head Coach: Greg Walker
Assistant Coach: Joe Skinner
Assistant Coach: Julie Allen
Performance Analyst: Sydnie Mabry
Athletic Trainer: Brian Farr
Team Leader: Kyle Homeyer

Men’s Schedule (All time PT)
May 9: Brazil def. USA 3-1 (20-25, 25-22, 19-25, 23-25)
May 10: USA def. Canada, 3-1 (28-26, 25-22, 20-25, 25-23)
May 11: USA vs Argentina, 3-1 (25-21, 23-25, 25-13, 25-15)
May 12 semifinal: USA def. Canada, 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 27-25, 22-25, 15-12)
May 13 at 12:30 p.m. Gold medal match: USA vs. Brazil