SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (September 7, 2021) – In a match that pitted the top two teams at the NORCECA Pan American Cup against each other, the U.S. Men’s National Team prevailed, beating Canada 3-2 (21-25, 25-18, 31-29, 18-25, 15-13) to end pool play.
“Both teams played really hard, it was a high level game of volleyball,” head coach Andy Read said. “We are so glad about finishing first in the pool.”
With the win, the U.S. (4-1; 20 points) clinches the top spot in the round robin standings and the No. 1 seed in the playoff round. They’ll face the tournament’s fourth seed, either Mexico or Dominican Republic. Those two countries will complete the round robin Tuesday night.
Regardless of its opponent, the U.S. will play at 7 p.m. Eastern/4 Pacific Wednesday, Sept. 8. That contest will be streamed live online.
The U.S. trailed Canada in the box score, scoring fewer points in the attack (47 to 61) and from the service line (6 to 8). USA took better care of the ball, however, committing just 30 errors opposed to Canada’s 46. The Americans also passed at a 61% positive rate compared to 49%.
Four Americans scored double-digit points. Outside hitter Grant Sloane led the way with 17, 14 from the attack, and Cole Gillis scored 14, all but one from kills. Middle blocker Merrick McHenry added 12 points, and fellow middle Shane Holdaway scored 10.
Defensively, Gillis led the U.S. with 27 total receptions, 59% positive. Libero Kyle Dagostino made 23, 57% positive and outside hitter Kyle McCauley made 21, 71% positive.
The first set went to Canada, but the U.S. won the second. In the third, USA faced five set points as Canada led 19-24, but, with tough serving from Gillis, the Americans scored six in a row for a set point of their own. The teams traded points until USA won it 31-29 on an ace from Holdaway.
Canada won the fourth and held the advantage for much of the fifth set tiebreaker. Down 9-11, the U.S. scored three in a row for a lead. Canada halted the run and tied it at 12-all, but USA scored three of the final four points to clinch the match.
“We talk about critical moments in matches. Every point is equal, but not every point is the same,” Read said. “This team has taken that idea and run with it.”
September 3: USA def. Mexico, 3-0 (25-17, 29-27, 25-20)
September 4: USA def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-17, 25-23, 26-24)
September 5: Dominican Republic def. USA, 3-2 (25-23, 25-18, 22-25, 17-25, 15-8)
September 6: USA def. Suriname, 3-0 (25-14, 25-11, 25-14)
September 7: USA def. Canada, 3-2 (21-25, 25-18, 31-29, 18-25, 15-13)
September 8: Semifinals, 7 p.m. Eastern/4 Pacific
September 9: Finals
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College, USAV Region)
2 Shane Holdaway (Middle Blocker, 6-8, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Long Beach State, Southern California)
3 Kevin Kauling (Setter, 6-8, Naperville, Ill.; Lewis, Great Lakes)
4 Cole Gillis (Outside Hitter, 6-5, San Jose, Calif.; UC Irvine, Northern California)
5 Jacob Pasteur (Opposite, 6-4, Westminster, Md.; Ohio State, Chesapeake)
8* Tyler Mitchem (Middle Blocker, 6-11, Bolingbrook, Ill.; Lewis, Great Lakes)
9 Nathan Lietzke (Setter, 6-6, Austin, Texas; Stanford, Lone Star)
11 Francesco Sani (Outside Hitter, 6-6, Bethesda, Md.; UC Irvine, Chesapeake)
13 Merrick McHenry (Middle Blocker, 6-7, Bedford, Texas; UCLA, North Texas)
14 Ethan Champlin (Outside Hitter, 6-2, Oceanside, Calif.; UCLA, Southern California)
15 Daniel Wetter (Middle Blocker, 6-5, Camarillo, Calif.; CSUN, Southern California)
18 Grant Sloane (Outside Hitter, 6-7, Irvine, Calif.; UCLA, Southern California)
19 Kyle McCauley (Outside Hitter, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif.; UC San Diego, Southern California)
22 Matthew Palma (Libero, 5-11, Costa Mesa, Calif.; UC San Diego, Southern California)
24 Kyle Dagostino (Libero, 5-9, Tampa, Fla.; Stanford ‘19, Florida)