SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (September 6, 2021) – The United States Men’s National Team emphatically booked a ticket to the Pan American Cup semifinals Monday by beating Suriname, 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-14) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
“The guys are excited to know they’ve qualified for the semis,” head coach Andy Read said. “They did the hard work early in the tournament to achieve that goal. Tomorrow’s match is another against a good opponent that presents the opportunity for our team to improve, something necessary if they want to reach their full potential and see themselves atop the medal stand.”
Tuesday’s match, against Canada at 5 p.m. Eastern/2 Pacific, could be for the No. 1 spot in the standings and No. 1 seed in the semifinals, which begin Wednesday, September 8. The U.S. (3-1; 17 points) currently is first in the round robin standings, but Canada, which entered the day first (3-0, 13 points), plays Dominican Republic (3-0, 12 points) in a pivotal contest Monday night.
Teams earn five points for a three-set win and four for a four-set win. For three-set victories or defeats, they earn points equal to the number of sets they win. If Canada wins in three sets Monday night, it’ll be in sole possession of first place. With any other result, the U.S. will at least be tied for first.
The U.S. controlled every aspect of Monday’s game, outscoring Suriname 36-16 from attacks, 7-3 from blocks and 12-0 from the service line. USA unofficially scored on over half of their attack attempts as those 36 points came from just 71 swings.
Opposite Jacob Pasteur landed half of USA’s aces and added 13 kills for 19 points, the most by an American in the tournament so far. Outside hitter Ethan Champlin added 13 points total, nine from kills, one block and three aces. Middle blocker Merrick McHenry led the U.S. at the net with four blocks.
A couple reserves saw minutes Monday. Libero Matthew Palma made his Pan American Cup debut when he played the second and third sets. Palma was the final American to debut this week. Also, setter Nathan Lietzke got some chances to run the offense, making 15 sets and serving up one ace during sets two and three.
The U.S. only trailed for three points during the entire match: the first three points of the second set.
September 3: USA def. Mexico, 3-0 (25-17, 29-27, 25-20)
September 4: USA def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 26-24)
September 5: Dominican Republic def. USA, 3-2 (25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 17-25, 15-8)
September 6: USA def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-14)
September 7: vs. Canada, 5 p.m. Eastern/2 Pacific
September 8: Semifinals
September 9: Finals