U.S. Men's A2 Team to Play for Pan Am Gold Medal

May 28, 2010, 8:53 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

Pan American Cup matches are being shown live at www.mediasports.tv.

Unoffical DataVolley Statistics * Official Statistics

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 28, 2010) – The U.S. Men’s A2 Volleyball Team 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 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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. Men’s A2 Team 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,” U.S. Men's A2 Team Head Coach Rick 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. Men’s A2 team 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.) 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 excellent 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 opposite.

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

The U.S. Men’s A2 Team fell behind 5-2 in the first set as Brazil came out swinging with three kills and two blocks. But kills by Clark, Brunner and Tarr kept the U.S. close and Brazil’s lead at the first technical timeout (TTO) was 8-6. With Brazil leading 10-8, Jablonsky and Smith scored on two attacks in a row, followed by a Brazil error that put Team USA ahead 11-10. Brazil tied the score with a kill, but two straight attacks by Clark and Smith put the United States ahead 13-11.With the U.S. leading 14-13, it used a kill by Brunner and block from Jablonsky along with a Brazil error to reach the second TTO with a 16-13 lead. With the U.S. leading 20-16 after a Clark kill, Brazil called timeout and then scored the next five straight points on a kill, an ace and three U.S. errors. Now trailing 21-10, Team USA regained the lead on two straight kills from Clark. Brazil used two attacks of its own to lead 23-22. Tarr, who had struggled early in the set, tied the score with a kill, but Puerto Rico reached set point first at 24-23. A Tarr attack tied the score again at 24-24. A Jablonsky kill put the United States ahead 25-24 and a final Tarr kill gave the United States the set victory.

Smith opened the second set with three straight blocks for the United States for a 3-0 lead. Team USA continued to lead 8-6 at the first TTO after getting two kills from Clark and another from Smith. Later, with the U.S. leading 11-9, Brazil scored four straight points, including two kills and a block from Gustavo Bonatto, to take a 13-11 lead. McLaughlin called timeout and Team USA responded with a Smith kill, followed by a Brazil error to tie the score. Brazil led 16-14 at the second TTO and increased that to 17-14 when the United States came back with three straight points, including two kills by Tarr, to tie the score again. The two teams battle back and forth, but Brazil reached set point first at 24-23. Clark tied the score with a kill. Smith gave Team USA a 25-24 lead with an ace and Brunner capped it off with a kill.

Trailing 4-3 to open the third set, the U.S. went on a 7-1 run, including two kills and an ace by Jablonsky, two kills from Smith and a setter dump by Thornton to take a 10-5 lead. Later, leading 11-7, the U.S. Men’s A2 Team scored four straight points on successful attacks by Jablonsky and  Clark along with two from Tarr to lead 15-7. Brazil came back to score four straight points, including three by Bruno Araujo, to cut the score to 15-11. But Team USA scored three straight points on a Brazil error and a block and kill from Brunner to maintain its lead. The United States reached match point at 24-17. Brazil held off the loss with a kill. But it scored the final point for the U.S. with a service error.

2010 U.S. Pan American Cup Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Weight, Hometown, College)
1 Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, 162, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
2 Robert Tarr (OH, 6-6, 200, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)
3 Matt McKinney (OH, 6-9, 225, Santa Ynez, Calif., UCLA)
4 J.D. Schleppenbach (OH, 6-4, 198, Ventura, Calif., Pepperdine)
5 Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, 187, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
6 Dean Bittner (Opp, 6-7, 187, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7 Max Lipsitz (MB, 6-7, 209, Williamsville, N.Y., Penn State)
8 Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, 194, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
10 David Smith (MB, 6-7, 190, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
11 Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-5, 196, Mesa, Ariz., Long Beach State)
12 Carson Clark (Opp, 6-5, 205, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
13 Theo Brunner (MB, 6-7, 205, Ridgefield, Conn., UC Santa Barbara)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, 205, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
19 Andy McGuire (L, 6-0, 160, Manhattan Beach, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)

Head Coach: Rick McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara)
Team Manager: Chris Birch (Penn State)
Assistant Coach: John Hawks (Long Beach State)
Therapist/Trainer: Brian Baise (Harvard)
Technical Coordinator: Chris Birch (Penn State)

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