COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 6, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team set up a rematch with Cuba by beating Mexico, 25-18, 25-16, 25-23 on Friday in the semifinals of the NORCECA Continental Championship in Winnipeg.
The United States (4-0) swept Cuba (4-1) in the final match of pool play on Wednesday. Cuba came back and beat Puerto Rico in Thursday’s quarterfinals and then defeated Canada in Friday’s semifinal.
The U.S. Men will play Cuba at 2 p.m. PT on Saturday. The match will be shown live on FloVolleyball.tv.
“We like the matchup, obviously,” U.S. Head Coach John Hawks said. “We’re not going to take it that, because we beat them the first time, we’re going to beat them again. We absolutely don’t think that.”
U.S. serving was on point against Mexico as it led in aces 7-1. Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco led in aces with three and led all scorers with 15 points.
Outside hitter Brenden Sander added 14 points, including a match-high 13 kills.
Setter Micah Ma’a made several key plays, including the United States’ only block and an ace for the final point of the match. He and setter Joe Worsley, who played part of the second and third sets, set the U.S. to a .417 hitting efficiency. Mexico hit .286. Mexico led in blocks 2-1.
Head Coach John Hawks brought in several substitutes during the second set including Kyle Russell for Kyle Ensing at opposite, George Huhmann and Tommy Carmody for Jeff Jendryk and Mitch Stahl at middle blocker and Cody Kessel for Brenden Sander at outside hitter. He also platooned liberos Kyle Dagostino and Gage Worsley.
“The opportunity to get these guys playing time in the third set was important to us,” Hawks said. “They certainly deserved it.”
Ma’a gave credit to Mexico for its third-set comeback attempt.
“We knew they were a lively group,” Ma’a said. “After going down two sets, some teams would back off. They came for us. I think that’s a credit to them and their culture and their coaching staff and their guys.”
U.S. STARTERS VS MEXICO
Outside hitters: T.J. DeFalco and Brenden Sander
Middle blockers: Jeff Jendryk and Mitch Stahl
Opposite: Kyle Ensing
Setter: Micah Ma’a
Libero: Kyle Dagostino
Substitutes: Joe Worsley (S), Tommy Carmody (MB), Cody Kessel (OH), George Huhmann (MB), Gage Worsley (L)
U.S. STATISTICS VS MEXICO
Kills: Sander 13, DeFalco, 12, Jendryk 5, Ensing 4, Russell 3, Huhmann 3, Stahl 2, Ma’a 2, Kessel 1
Blocks: Ma’a 1
Aces: DeFalco 3, Ma’a 1, Stahl 1, J Worsley 1, Sander 1
Digs: Dagostino 4, Ensing 3, DeFalco 3, J Worsley 2, Russell 1