COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 27, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Sitting Volleyball Team is one win away from qualifying for the 2020 Paralympics following a second consecutive sweep over Canada on Tuesday in as many days during the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Team USA defeated Canada 25-20, 25-16, 25-23 on Tuesday in the semifinals to advance to the gold-medal match at 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The Americans will face the winner of the second semifinal between Brazil and Colombia being played later today at 4 p.m. ET. The Parapan Am Games winner earns a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Zach Upp (Bartlett, Illinois) paced the American offense with five kills and five aces to go with two blocks for 12 points. JDee Marinko (Newcastle, Oklahoma) contributed six kills and two aces for eight points. Roderick Green (West Monroe, Louisiana) chalked up four kills on nine errorless swings and four blocks for eight points.
James Stuck (New Kensington, Pennsylvania) popped off five kills and one ace for six points. Eric Duda (Marietta, Georgia) and Stephen Bracken (Brighton, Colorado) rounded out the scoring with two points each.
American libero John Kremer (Buford, Georgia) handled 24 of the Team USA 42 receptions with a 67 positive percent. Upp was perfect on eight receptions.
Team USA converted 33 percent of its attacks with a .179 hitting efficiency (22-10-67). Canada also had a 33 kill percent, but were limited to a .077 hitting efficiency (30-23-91) with its 23 attack errors.
Although Canada held a 30-22 advantage in kills (30-22), the U.S. minimized its errors and that became the difference. The Americans had 18 total errors (eight service, 10 attacking) to the Canadians’ 27 errors (14 service, 23 attacking). Team USA had an 8-4 edge in aces and both teams put up eight blocks.
Canada opened the first set on fire with a 7-2 advantage only to the Americans bounce back to take a 13-12 lead on an 11-5 run. Canadian regained a three-point cushion at 16-13, and that lead was wiped clean at 17-all. The Americans broke an 18-all tie with four unanswered points with a Stuck ace, Green kill and Upp block for a 22-18 lead en route to a 25-20 victory.
Team USA opened the second set with a 5-0 lead on two Stuck kills and three Canadian errors. The American lead reached double-digits at 16-6 with three consecutive points and the U.S. held firm with a 25-16 victory.
Canada bolted to an 8-3 lead early in the third set only to see the advantage erased with the advantage reversed to Team USA at 11-10. Canada pulled back in front at 16-13, but the U.S. quickly tied it at 16-all with a kill and ace by Marinko and an Upp kill. Consecutive Canadian errors provided the Americans a 21-20 lead. Team USA reached match points at 24-22 with an Upp kill and Marinko ace. After Canada saved one match point, Green ended the set at 25-23 with a kill.