COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 3, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team recovered from third-set deficits of 15-19 and 22-24 to defeat Guatemala, 25-22, 25-21, 26-24 on Tuesday at the NORCECA Continental Championship in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
The U.S. Men (2-0) will play Cuba (2-0) to determine the pool winner on Wednesday at 4 p.m. PT.
Outside hitter Brenden Sander (see photo) came through with nine points in the third set on Tuesday to help the U.S. Men hang on to the sweep. Setter Micah Ma’a also stepped up, serving for the United States’ final three points, including an ace.
“Overall, it wasn’t the cleanest for us,” Sander said. “We had a few communication issues. But I think part of the match is getting through those communication issues.”
U.S. Head Coach John Hawks subbed out Ma’a for setter Joe Worsley and starting opposite Kyle Ensing for Kyle Russell to start the third set. He went back to Ma’a and Ensing with the team trailing.
“Credit to Guatemala for coming out and playing hard; making us work and putting us in a position where we had to be in a stressful situation,” Hawks said.
“At the end of the day, some guys stepped up. Some guys need to back to the video and watch how we did and how we reacted to those situations.”
The U.S. Men led Guatemala in kills (41-36), blocks (12-1) and aces (9-5). Guatemala scored 25 points on U.S. errors while committing 14.
Sander finished with a total of 16 points on 14 kills and two aces. Outside hitter T.J. DeFalco added 12 points on nine kills and three blocks. Middle blocker Mitch Stahl totaled 11 points on eight kills, one block and two aces.
Ensing finished with seven points on four kills, one block and two aces.
U.S. STARTERS VS GUATEMALA
Outside hitters: T.J. DeFalco and Brenden Sander
Middle blockers: Mitch Stahl and Jeff Jendryk
Opposite: Kyle Ensing
Setter: Micah Ma’a
Libero: Kyle Dagostino
Substitutes: Joe Worsley (S), David Wieczorek (OH), George Huhmann (MB), Gate Worsley (L), Kyle Russell (Opp)
U.S. STATISTICS VS GUATEMALA
Kills: Sander 14, DeFalco 9, Stahl 8, Ensing 4, Russell 4, Jendryk 1, Ma’a 1
Blocks: Jendryk 3, DeFalco 3, Ma’a 2, Ensing 1, Stahl 1, Huhmann 1, Russell 1
Aces: Ensing 2, Stahl 2, Ma’a 2, Sander 2, Huhmann 1
Digs: Dagostino 2, DeFalco 1, Worsley 1
U.S. Roster for the NORCECA Championship
Sept. 2-7 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada