COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, September 30, 2017 – The U.S. Men’s National Team got a measure of revenge over Canada on Saturday with a 25-20, 25-22, 25-21 victory before 3,100 fans at the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The victory qualifies the U.S. Men (4-0) for the 2018 FIVB World Championship. They will play Dominican Republic (3-1) for the NORCECA title on Sunday at 5 p.m. MT.
Canada had defeated the United States the last three times they had played each other.
Setter Micah Christenson said the losses definitely motivated the U.S. team.
“It’s become a pretty awesome rivalry (between the U.S. and Canada),” Christenson said. “We’re in the same zone. We’ve played them a couple times over the past year and they’ve gotten the better of us. All credit to them. They are world class.”
Two of the previous losses to Canada came in the 2017 FIVB World League when the U.S. didn’t have Olympic medalists outside hitter Aaron Russell, opposite Matt Anderson and middle blocker Max Holt. Those players made an impact on Saturday.
Russell was the scoring leader with 15 points on 15 spikes. Anderson added 11 points on eight attacks and three aces. Holt scored three points and pressured Canada with his serving and blocking.
“In general, we served well and we passed their serves well,” Russell said. “I think that put them in bad situations and we were able to capitalize.”
The United States finished with seven aces while Canada had none. The U.S. also led in kills (35-32) and blocks (6-2). The U.S. hitting efficiency was .426 behind Christenson. Canada hit .239. But the U.S. came out confident in the first set and took a 12-9 lead that increased to 19-13.
Canada kept the next two sets closer, but couldn’t get a significant lead.
“(Canada) has gotten so much better over the last four to eight years, Speraw said. “They have some good young talent and they’ve beaten us recently. I thought our energy and focus was there throughout the entire match.”
U.S. Starters vs. Canada
Outside hitters: Taylor Sander and Aaron Russell
Middle blockers: Max Holt and David Smith
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Micah Christenson
Libero: Erik Shoji
U.S. Statistics vs. Canada
Kills: Russell 15, Anderson 8, Sander 4, Smith 4, Holt 3, Christenson 1
Blocks: Sander 3, Christenson 2, Smith 1
Aces: Christenson 3, Anderson 3, Smith 1
Digs: Anderson 5, E Shoji 4, Russell 2, Christenson 2, Smith 1
U.S. Men’s Roster
1. Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., UCLA)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola of Chicago)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
13. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6. Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
14. Ben Patch (Opp, 6-8, Provo, Utah, BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
20C. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
Head Coach: John Speraw
Team Manager Nate Ngo
Assistant Coaches: Rob Neilson and Brian Thornton
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Doctor: Andrew Gregory
Consultant Coach: Greg Walker
Strength Coach: Tim Pelot