COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 29, 2017) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will be focused on a showdown with Canada after beating Costa Rica, 25-11, 25-7, 25-8 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.
The U.S. Men (3-0) advance to Saturday’s semifinal where they will face Canada (2-0) at 7 p.m. MT. Canada has defeated the United States the last three times they have played, including pool play at the 2016 Olympic Games, 2017 FIVB World League pool play and in the World League third-place match.
The United States put on a show for the large and enthusiastic crowd, leading Costa Rica in spikes (39-7), blocks (9-1) and aces (10-0). Costa Rica scored 18 points on U.S. errors.
U.S. outside hitter Aaron Russell led all scorers with 12 points on eight spikes and a match-high four blocks. Opposite Ben Patch had 11 points, including a match-high 10 attacks. Setter Kawika Shoji, outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and middle blocker Mitch Stahl each had three aces.
Stahl, who is making his first road trip with the senior U.S. men’s team and has started the last two matches, said it wasn’t hard to get motivated for the match against an overpowered Costa Rican team.
“Whenever you wear these colors on your chest, this flag, it’s not difficult to get up for any match” Stahl said. “It’s pretty cool. It’s a great experience, a great opportunity and a great honor to play for your country and represent our nation.”
Costa Rica took a group photo with the U.S. Men after the match.
U.S. Head Coach John Speraw wanted to make sure his team didn’t let down.
“Their energy was great and some of those guys hadn’t seen the court yet this tournament,” Speraw said. “It was a good opportunity for them too and they deserve it.”
Middle blocker Dan McDonnell, libero Dustin Watten, outside hitter Carson Clark and Shoji all played for the first time in the tournament.
“It always feels great to get out there with the guys and compete in front of a great crowd,” McDonnell said. “It was a little bit of a curveball late last night (to find out they would be playing in the quarterfinals), but we made a quick turnaround.”
U.S. Starters vs Costa Rica
Outside hitter: Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke
Middle blockers: Dan McDonnell and Mitch Stahl
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Kawika Shoji
Libero: Dustin Watten
U.S. Statistics vs Costa Rica
Kills: Patch 10, Russell 8, Jaeschke 7, McDonnell 6, Stahl 4, K Shoji 3, Carson Clark 1
Blocks: Russell 4, McDonnell 2, K Shoji 1, Patch 1, Stahl 1
Aces: K Shoji 3, Jaeschke 3, Stahl 3, McDonnell 1
Digs: Watten 8, Jaeschke 6, K Shoji 4, Stahl 3, McDonnell 3, Patch 3, Clark 1