The U.S. Men’s National Team can look forward to a showdown with Cuba after beating Puerto Rico on Wednesday 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-12) in a NORCECA Men’s Senior Continental Championship match at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Sept. 7, 2023) – The U.S. Men’s National Team held off a tough challenge from Cuba to win their match 3-2 (25-22, 25-17, 24-26, 22-25, 15-12) on Thursday at the NORCECA Senior Men’s Continental Championship at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center.
The U.S. Men won their pool (3-0) and advance straight to Saturday’s semifinal while Cuba (2-1) will play Mexico (0-2) in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. on Friday. The Dominican Republic (1-1) will play Puerto Rico (1-2) in the other quarterfinal at 7:30 p.m.
Cuba finished the match holding an edge in kills (59-57) while the USA led in blocks (17-7) and aces (6-5). Each team finished with 31 scoring errors. Cuba made four errors in the fifth set while the U.S. Men had two.
U.S. Head Coach John Speraw was happy with the poise his team showed even when it was down 8-4 in the fifth set.
“I thought it was important for us, after practicing for a month, to be tested,” Speraw said. “If we want to be the best version of the team that we can be this summer, it’s going to require some stress. We certainly had some stress tonight.
“To come back after all that really showed a lot of poise, and I am proud of this group for doing that.”
U.S. outside hitter T.J. DeFalco led all scorers with 26 points on a match-high 19 attacks (.412), a match-high six blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Aaron Russell added 20 points on 17 kills (.556), two blocks and one ace. Middle blocker Max Holt totaled 12 points on seven spikes (.461), three blocks and two aces.
Micah Christenson set the U.S. Men to a .407 hitting efficiency. Cuba hit .264.
“Cuba started serving and passing better in the third and fourth sets,” said Christenson, who also scored three points on two blocks and an ace. “They were killing a lot of high balls and medium pass balls off the block to weird places. Credit to them. Their volleyball ability is great.”
Among other scorers, opposite Matt Anderson scored eight points on eight kills. Middle blocker Jeff Jendryk played as a substitute and totaled six points on four kills and two blocks.
Middle David Smith scored five points on two kills, two blocks and an ace.
Libero Erik Shoji was credited with 10 digs and 14 excellent receptions.
U.S. Men’s Roster for the 2023 NORCECA Continental Championship
No. Player (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
1 Matt Anderson (Opp, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State, Western Empire)
2 Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State, Chesapeake)
4 Jeff Jendryk (MB, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
6 Timothy McIntosh (L, 6-0, Miami, Fla., Sacred Heart, Florida)
8 T.J. DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State Univ., Southern California)
9 Jake Hanes (OPP, 6-10, Orland Park, Ill., Ohio State Univ., Great Lakes)
11 Micah Christenson (S, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Univ. of Southern California, Hawaii)
12 Max Holt (MB, 6-10, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State, Ohio Valley)
14 Micah Ma’a (S, 6-3, Kaneohe, Hawaii, UCLA, Aloha)
17 Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola Univ. Chicago, Great Lakes)
18 Garrett Muagututia (OH, 6-5, Oceanside, Calif., UCLA, Southern California)
19 Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., Univ. of Hawaii, Northern California)
20 David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., Univ. of California Irvine, Southern California)
22 Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford Univ., Hawaii)
Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coaches: Matthew Fuerbringer and Javier Weber
Performance Analyst and Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Team Leader: Nate Ngo
Strength and Conditioning Coach: Tim Pelot
Mental Performance Coach: Peter Naschak
Team Doctor: Daniel Green
U.S. Referee: Devonie McLarty
NORCECA Continental Championship Schedule
All times ET
Canada def. Dominican Republic, 3-0 (25-11, 25-8, 25-12)
Cuba def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-15)
USA def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-14, 25-9, 25-10)
Cuba def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-11, 25-19, 25-23)
Canada def. Mexico, 3-0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-20)
USA def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-14, 25-18, 25-12)
Puerto Rico def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-21)
Dominican Republic def. Mexico, (25-21, 25-21, 25-21)
USA def. Cuba, 3-2 (25-22, 25-17, 24-26, 22-25, 15-12)
Sept. 8 Quarterfinals
Quarterfinal: Cuba def. Mexico, 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 25-23)
Quarterfinal: Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 32-30)
Sept. 9 Semifinals and Classifications
3 p.m. Classification 5/7: Puerto Rico vs Mexico
5 p.m. Semi: USA vs Dominican Republic
7:30 p.m.: Semi: Canada vs Cuba
Sept. 10 Medal Matches and Classifications
3 p.m.: Classification 6/7
5 p.m.: Bronze Medal Match
7:30 p.m.: Gold Medal Match