Tom Pingel with Men's Junior National Team

July 06, 2008, 2:25 a.m. (ET)

Saturday, July 5

8:30a b-fast and straight to the bus for a short practice in preparation for MEX and a hopeful trip to the medal stand tonight.

Special thanks to the family members of players that made the trip to San Salvador on short notice as the team was announced on about June 23.  The USA cheering section consisted of:

Joe Kauliakamoa’s Grandparents
Joe Sunder’s Father
Erik Shoji’s Parents
Gus Ellis’ Parents
Brad Lawson’s Parents
Murphy Troy’s Father

The match for 7th place was won by Guatemala 3-0.  Fifth place was captured by Puerto Rico 3-0 over Dominican Republic.

Match Time

We start the same was with Joe K (S); Troy & Bourne (OH); Caldwell (OP); Ellis and Jayne (MB) and Shoji (L).  USA is on their game – MEX is not.  USA wins #1 25-15.

We go the same in #2 and it begins the same as USA has a big lead, but after some subs enter for MEX, they are getting hot.  Digging balls; tooling blocks – they are putting pressure on us and we can’t seem to find an answer.  Fortunately, a couple of late MEX errors allow us the win, 25-23.

We start the same way in 3, but the lull from the end of 2 continues and MEX takes an early lead.  Fortunately, we get a little momentum back and then get a big boost from sub Joe Sunder at opposite.  We ride the Sunder wave to victory 25-19 and win the match and the Bronze 3-0.

Going into today’s matches, Erik Shoji was the tournaments leading digger, passer and libero. Tri Bourne was in the top 5 of passing.  Murphy Troy was #2 in point scoring.  Unfortunately, I’ll be unable to give you the final results of this or the gold medal match as I’m sending this prior to the end.  I urge you to go to for the complete wrap-up of the event.

Awards, then the parents are taking the team to “Tony Romas” for a final dinner.  Back to the hotel to pack and a quick nap before boarding the bus for the airport at about 3:30a.  Then back to the good ‘ole US of A

My pleasure writing these.  Thanks for reading.  Sorry about the typos as I don’t take the time to thoroughly proof.