SEPTEMBER 3, 2021 – The U.S. Men’s National Team opened the 2021 Pan American Cup with a win Friday, sweeping Mexico 3-0 (25-17, 29-27, 25-20) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
“I’m proud of the guys,” head coach Andy Read said. “We had a good first set and we were able to climb back to take the second and the match. We showed we are a strong team physically and mentally.”
USA took an early match lead, winning the first set 25-17. The Americans fell behind early in the second and eventually trailed by 10 points. Down 18-24, outside hitter Cole Gillis took the serve and delivered a couple aces. A few Mexico errors and U.S. points in transition later, the U.S. successfully rallied for a 24-24 tie. The teams traded points until the U.S. led 28-27, when outside hitter Francisco Sani delivered an ace to clinch the comeback set victory.
In the third, USA established a four-point lead midway through and maintained that margin, winning 25-20 to complete the sweep.
The U.S. Men will continue play at the Pan American Cup Saturday, September 4, with a 5 pm Eastern/2 Pacific match against Puerto Rico. Live stats for that contest will be available online.
“Tomorrow will be a new day and a new challenge with Puerto Rico,” Read said. “We will not catch anyone else by surprise, so we’ll have to continue to improve. If today is our best day in the tournament, it would be a disappointment. But if today is simply the start of something greater, these next several days will be very special for these young men.”
Middle blocker Shane Holdaway led all players with 12 points Friday: nine kills and three blocks. Sani was one shy at 11. He paired six kills with a trio of blocks and two aces. Six other Americans found the floor at least four times.
The U.S. led Mexico in every offensive category: attack points (38-25), blocks (8-5) and aces (9-5). They also passed more efficiently (64% positive passes to 51%, unofficially) and unofficially tallied two more receptions.
Nine made their U.S. Men’s National Team debuts Friday – Holdaway, Gillis, Sani, Kevin Kauling, Jacob Pasteur, Nathan Lietzke, Ethan Champlin, Daniel Wetter and Grant Sloane.
September 3: USA def. Mexico, 3-0 (25-17, 29-27, 25-20)
September 4: vs. Puerto Rico, 5 p.m. Eastern/2 Pacific
September 5: vs. Dominican Republic, 7 p.m. Eastern/4 Pacific
September 6: vs. Suriname, 3 p.m. Eastern/Noon Pacific
September 7: vs. Canada, 5 p.m. Eastern/2 Pacific
September 8: Semifinals
September 9: Finals
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
2 Shane Holdaway (Middle Blocker, 6-8, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Long Beach State, Southern California)
3 Kevin Kauling (Setter, 6-8, Naperville, Ill.; Lewis, Great Lakes)
4 Cole Gillis (Outside Hitter, 6-5, San Jose, Calif.; UC Irvine, Northern California)
5 Jacob Pasteur (Opposite, 6-4, Westminster, Md.; Ohio State, Chesapeake)
8* Tyler Mitchem (Middle Blocker, 6-11, Bolingbrook, Ill.; Lewis, Great Lakes)
9 Nathan Lietzke (Setter, 6-6, Austin, Texas; Stanford, Lone Star)
11 Francesco Sani (Outside Hitter, 6-6, Bethesda, Md.; UC Irvine, Chesapeake)
13 Merrick McHenry (Middle Blocker, 6-7, Bedford, Texas; UCLA, North Texas)
14 Ethan Champlin (Outside Hitter, 6-2, Oceanside, Calif.; UCLA, Southern California)
15 Daniel Wetter (Middle Blocker, 6-5, Camarillo, Calif.; CSUN, Southern California)
18 Grant Sloane (Outside Hitter, 6-7, Irvine, Calif.; UCLA, Southern California)
19 Kyle McCauley (Outside Hitter, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif.; UC San Diego, Southern California)
23 Cole Power (Libero, 5-11, Huntington Beach, Calif.; UC Irvine, Southern California)
24 Kyle Dagostino (Libero, 5-9, Tampa, Fla.; Stanford ‘19, Florida)