McLaughlin-Led U.S. Team Claims Gold Medal at Pan American Cup Final in Mexico

June 21, 2009

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CHIAPAS, Mexico - The Rick McLaughlin-led United States team defeated Canada 3-2 to defend its title at the 2009 NORCECA Pan American Cup in Chiapas, Mexico on Saturday night. McLaughlin is UCSB's head men's volleyball coach.

In a rematch of last year's final. the U.S. won the opening set 32-30 before Canada won games two and three, 25-16 an 26-24. The Americans, however, kept their poise and took the final two games, 25-17 and 15-12.

Dean Bittner (Long Beach State) led the U.S. team with 26 points while Robert Tarr (Long Beach State) added 14 and Nathan Meerstein (Penn State) had 11.

"I think that the team didn't (become) desperate after being down 2-1," said McLaughlin. "We could adjust our quick game and the blocking at the corners. We are very happy with this victory in the start of the year for our program."

McLaughlin, who watched his team go a perfect 4-0 at the Pan Am Cup, was pleased with his experience as head coach.

"The team was great to coach," he said. "It was also fun to work with K.P. as head of our delegation."

K.P. is former UCSB coach Ken Preston who was also part of the U.S. delegation.

McLaughlin will head to San Jose, Calif., next weekend and Chicago on July 8 to assist the U.S. Men's National Team in World League Play. The U.S. will play China twice in San Jose and Italy twice in Chicago. Former Gaucho All-American Evan Patak is one of the top players on the U.S. World League team.

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