HAVANA, Cuba (June 4, 2016) – Three-time Olympian and 2008 gold medalist Reid Priddy helped the U.S. Men’s National Team come back from a first-set loss as the U.S. defeated Cuba, 21-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-22 in a friendly match at Coliseo Ciudad Deportiva in Havana.
The two teams will play again on Monday before the U.S. departs on Tuesday. The estimated attendance on Saturday was 3,000.
Priddy, who hasn’t played full time for the U.S. National Team for two seasons due to injuries, led all scorers with 18 points on a match-high 14 kills and four blocks, including three in the fourth set. One of those three blocks was one-handed.
“I think as we started to learn (Cuba’s) guys, we started to get a beat on reads and that really helped,” Priddy said. “Sometimes it takes a little while to get a beat on who you’re playing.”
Priddy said he had a similar blocking performance for his Italian club team this season.
“Sometimes I get on a run and see what’s coming,” Priddy said. “Other times I feel totally loss.”
Cuba’s serving was tough as it led in aces, 5-3, including four from Luis Sosa. But the U.S. Men led 50-44 in kills and 13-6 in blocks. Besides Priddy’s four blocks, middle blocker Max Holt had four while opposite Matt Anderson and setter Kawika Shoji each added two.
Rolando Cepeda led Cuba in scoring with 13 points on 13 kills.
Outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke scored 12 points before having to leave the match in the fourth set with an apparent ankle injury. Holt finished with 10 points with two aces and four kills to go with his blocks. Opposite Murphy Troy, who took over for Anderson in the second set added 10 points on 10 kills.
Middle blocker Russell Holmes helped the team with strong serving.
“(Cuba) is super strong and athletic,” Holmes said. “I thought we did a good job staying composed and staying in the battle.”
Outside Hitters: Thomas Jaeschke and Reid Priddy
Middle Blockers: Max Holt and Russell Holmes
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Kawika Shoji
Libero: Erik Shoji
Kills: Reid Priddy 14, Thomas Jaeschke 12, Murphy Troy 10, Russell Holmes 5, Max Holt 4, Matt Anderson 2, Kawika Shoji 2, Garrett Muagututia 1
Blocks: Priddy 4, Holt 4, Anderson 2, Shoji 2, Holmes 1
Aces: Holt 2, Holmes 1
Digs: Erik Shoji 5, Troy 1, Jaeschke 1