McLaughlin's Team USA Will Play for Pan Am Cup Gold Saturday

May 28, 2010

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The U.S. Men's A2 Volleyball Team, led by UCSB head coach Rick McLaughlin, will play for the gold medal on Saturday at the 2010 Pan American Cup after sweeping Brazil, 26-24, 26-24, 25-18, in Friday's semifinal at Roberto Clemente Coliseum.

Team USA (4-0) will face Argentina (3-0) in Saturday's gold-medal match. Argentina came back to defeat Puerto Rico, 3-2 (27-29, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-10) in Friday's late semifinal. Brazil (2-1) will play Puerto Rico (2-2) in the bronze-medal contest.

The U.S. had to fight off set point in each of the first two sets against Brazil, but took control of the third, gaining a 15-7 lead before coasting to victory.

"The first two sets could have gone either way and perhaps we play the match again and the result is the reverse," McLaughlin said. "We somehow weathered the storm in the first two sets, but these Brazilian guys really can block and have a great future. We served very well and the key was turning around the second set."

"The United States team had a very fast offense today and also a fast defense touching a lot of balls," Brazilian Head Coach Rubinho Leonaldo said. "We had a lot of problems with our reception, but above all there was a beautiful game played by USA."

Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) paced the U.S. team. Clark finished with 13 points on a match-high 13 kills (0.45 attack percentage) while Jablonsky scored 13 points on 11 kills (0.58 attack percentage), one block and one ace.

Robert Tarr (Cape Canaveral, Fla.) added 11 points on 11 kills (0.35 attack percentage) and David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) notched 11 points on seven kills (0.58 attack percentage), three blocks and one ace.

Brazil was led by Rogerio Nogueira and Renan Buiati, who each had 11 points.

Brazil out-blocked Team USA 14-7. But the U.S. had 47 kills (0.46 attack percentage) while Brazil had 36 (0.35 attack percentage). The United States also took advantage of 21 errors by Brazil while only committing 15.

Among other U.S. scorers, Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.), a former Gaucho and All-American, scored seven points on four kills and three blocks.

Setter Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) scored one point on one kill. He was also credited with 15 running sets and no faults on 80 attempts.

Libero Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.) was credited with 11 receptions and no faults on 18 attempts. He had five digs and nine faults on 17 attempts. Tarr led the team in digs with seven and five faults on 14 attempts.

McLaughlin started Jablonsky and Tarr at outside hitter, Brunner and Smith at middle blocker, Clark at opposite, Thornton at setter and Watten at libero.

Dean Bittner (Lakewood, Calif.) and Max Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.) played as substitutes.

Tournament Schedule and Results (All times EDT)

Pool A
May 24: Brazil def. Colombia, 25-17, 25-14, 24-26, 25-23
May 25: Brazil def. Canada, 16-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-8
May 26: Canada def. Colombia, 28-26, 25-16, 25-14

Pool B
May 24: Puerto Rico def. Mexico, 25-20, 21-25, 25-23, 25-18
May 25: USA def. Mexico, 19-25, 25-23, 25-18, 26-28, 15-9
May 26: USA def. Puerto Rico, 19-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-23

Pool C
May 24: Argentina def. Dominican Republic, 25-19, 26-24, 25-22
May 25: Argentina def. Venezuela, 25-13, 25-19, 25-22
May 26: Dominican Republic def. Venezuela, 25-18, 25-17, 25-19

May 27
Ninth place: Colombia def. Venezuela, 25-22, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21, 17-15
Quarterfinal: USA def. Dominican Republic, 25-14, 25-18, 25-18
Quarterfinal: Puerto Rico def. Canada, 25-23, 17-25, 25-22, 28-30, 16-14

May 28
Seventh place: Mexico def. Colombia, 25-19, 23-25, 25-15, 25-20
Semifinal: USA def. Brazil, 26-24, 26-24, 25-18
Semifinal: Argentina def. Puerto Rico, 27-29, 23-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-10

May 29
4 p.m.: Fifth place: Canada vs. Dominican Republic
7 p.m.: Third place: Brazil vs. Puerto Rico
9 p.m.: First place: USA vs. Argentina

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans,

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