May 29, 2010

McLaughlin's U.S. Men's A2 Team Wins Pan American Gold

May 29, 2010

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Led by UCSB men's volleyball head coach Rick McLaughlin, the U.S. Men's A2 Volleyball Team won its third straight Pan American Cup title on Saturday as it swept Argentina in the gold medal match, 25-23, 25-21, 30-28, at Roberto Clemente Coliseum.

The U.S. won the tournament with a 5-0 record. Argentina took silver at 3-1. Puerto Rico defeated Brazil in the bronze medal match, 3-1 (25-18, 25-17, 16-25, 25-17).

McLaughlin also led the U.S. to Pan Am gold in 2009 in Mexico.

Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.), selected as the tournament's Most Valuable Player, led the U.S. with 19 points on 15 kills (0.65 attack percentage), three blocks and the United States' only ace.

Robert Tarr (Cape Canaveral, Fla.) added 13 points on 11 kills (0.48 attack percentage) and two blocks.

"It was a tough match but we kept our game plan," Tarr said. "Argentina is a great team. They kept coming back and never quit. I am just happy for everybody."

David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) totaled nine points on eight kills (0.66 attack percentage) and one block. Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) collected nine points on eight kills (0.36 attack percentage) and one block. Former UCSB All-American Theo Brunner (Ridgefield, Conn.) scored eight points on three kills and a match-high five blocks.

For Argentina, Cristian Poglajen compiled 17 points and Federico Pereyra and Gustavo Giustiniano added 15 and 14 respectively.

"I am really happy for my guys who kept improving with every match of the tournament," McLaughlin said. "It was a real battle between two teams with the same characteristics, good setters and two good outside hitters."

The United States out-blocked Argentina 12-2. Argentina had more total kills than the U.S. (49-46) and more aces (6-1), but Team USA's attack percentage was 0.50 while Argentina's was 0.43. The United States also scored on 21 Argentinean errors while committing only 15.

The Argentineans praised the play of the United States during the post-match press conference.

"We lost to a team that played better than us," Coach Alejandro Grossi said. "Their attack was amazing and played great defense stretching us to the limit of our ability."

Argentina's Demian Gonzalez added: "I am sad because we couldn't win but also happy because our team had the chance to compete in this tournament which was good for our young squad."

Among other U.S. players, setter Brian Thornton (San Clemente, Calif.) scored one point on one kill and was also credited with 26 running sets and no faults on 75 attempts.

Libero Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.) had four digs and 10 faults on 21 attempts. He was also credited with nine excellent receptions and three faults in 17 attempts. Tarr led the U.S. with 18 excellent receptions and two faults in 38 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.), Lipsitz (Williamsville, N.Y.), Tyler Hildebrand (Mesa, Ariz.) and Matt McKinney (Santa Ynez, Calif.) all played as substitutes.

Final Rankings
USA
Argentina
Puerto Rico
Brazil
Canada
Dominican Republic
Mexico
Colombia
Venezuela

Tournament Results
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
Fifth place: Canada def. Dominican Republic, 25-15, 28-26, 25-10
Third place: Puerto Rico def. Brazil, 25-18, 25-17, 16-25, 25-17
First place: USA def. Argentina, 25-23, 25-21, 30-28

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans, usavolleyball.org

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