Associate Director, Communications
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 12, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s Team opened the World University Games with a 25-17, 25-23, 25-15 victory over Mexico on Friday in Shenzhen, China.
The U.S. will continue Pool D action against Turkey on Saturday at 8 p.m., followed by Czech Republic on Aug. 15, United Arab Emirates on Aug. 16 and Thailand on Aug. 17. After an off-day, the tournament moves into the quarterfinal round on Aug. 19, followed by the semifinals on Aug. 20 and medal matches on Aug. 22.
Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.) led all scorers with 15 points, all on kills coming off 27 swings as part of a .407 hitting efficiency. Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) chipped in 10 kills on 22 attacks as part of a .364 hitting efficiency for all hits points.
Brad Lawson (Honolulu) scored seven points, while Thomas Amberg (Westwood, Calif.) contributed six points. Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and Weston Dunlap (Newport Beach, Calif.) tacked on three points each, while Kawika Shoji (Honolulu) rounded out the scoring with two points.
"It was a nice start for our team," U.S. Head Coach Gordon Mayforth said. "We have been getting better every day since we arrived in Japan 10 days ago. If we can continue to improve I think we can be in the mix. Tomorrow we play Turkey and know we will have to play better."
Erik Shoji (Honolulu) totaled six digs along with four excellent receptions on 11 attempts. Lawson added five excellent receptions on a team-high 26 attempts to go with four digs. Kawika Shoji provided 26 assists on 62 total set attempts.
"Jeff Menzel and Erik Shoji were both players of the match," Mayforth said. "Jeff made lead the team offensively while Erik made some really special plays in the back court."
U.S. Head Coach Gordon Mayforth started Kawika Shoji at setter, Troy at opposite, Menzel and Lawson at outside hitter, and Dunlap and Amberg at middle blocker. Erik Shoji was the libero for the match. Clark subbed into the match all three sets for Kawika Shoji. Riley McKibben (Honolulu) came off the bench to play in the first and third sets in place of Troy. Tri Bourne (Honolulu) subbed into the match in both the first and second sets, while Cory Yoder (San Clemente, Calif.) was a sub in the third set.
While Mexico held a slim 3-2 margin in aces and both teams notched six blocks, the U.S. held a commanding 38-25 margin in kills. The Americans converted 40 percent of their attacks for points as part of a .295 hitting efficiency, while Mexico converted just 26.0 percent of its attacks as part of a .063 hitting efficiency.
"Today we had a chance to be the first match in the Shenzhen Gym, which will be the arena for the Finals," Mayforth said. "Our hope is that we were the first match at this site and the last match....meaning we are in the gold-medal match."
The U.S. last sent a men’s team to the World University Games, which occur every two year, in 2007 when it finished with the bronze medal in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2005, the U.S. placed 11th in Izmir, Turkey. In 2003, the team won the bronze in Daegu, Korea.
2011 World University Games
Aug. 12-23 in Shenzhen, China
The U.S. opened the first set with a 5-0 lead as Menzel scored three kills, Troy added another and Lawson aced Mexico. After Mexico scored two points at 5-2, the U.S. reached a 9-3 advantage with kills from Troy and Dunlap aroudn two Mexico errors. Team USA reached a 15-6 margin with a Troy kill around three Mexico errors in a 4-0 scoring run. After trailing 20-12, Mexico scored three quick points to narrow the deficit to 20-15. However, the Americans never allowed the Mexicans any closer as it closed the set 25-17 with a Dunlap block.
Mexico pushed out to a 7-3 lead in the second set, only see the U.S. respond with a 3-0 scoring run with a Lawson kill and block to close to 7-6. Trailing 11-8, the Americans notched three straight points wiht a Lawson kill around two Mexico errors to knot the score at 11-all. The U.S. gained its first lead of the second set at 13-12 on consecutive Menzel kills. The Americans reached the second technical timeout leading 16-14 after a Troy kill. However, Mexico tied the score at 16-all with two quick points out of the break, then established a 19-18 advantage on a U.S. error. The lead reversed to the U.S. side at 20-19 with consecutive kills by Troy and Menzel. The Americans pushed to a 22-20 advantage on back-to-back kills from Amberg and Menzel while siding out to a 25-23 victory.
The U.S. gained the first two-point separation of the third set with three straight points - two Troy kills around a Mexico error - going into the first technical timeout leading 8-6. After a Mexico point, Team USA rolled off four consecutive points including a Kawika Shoji ace and Amberg block to establish a 12-7 lead. The U.S. reached the second technical timeout leading 16-9 after a Menzel kill and Mexico error. After Mexico scored a point out of the break, the U.S. rolled off five unanswered points to take a 21-10 lead with a kill and block from Clark, a kill from both Lawson and Menzel and a Mexico error. After Mexico closed to 22-13 with an ace, Clark tallied a kill and Lawson followed with a block to reach set and match point at 24-13. Mexico saved two match points before a service error ended the set at 25-15.
U.S. Men’s Roster
Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 - Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
2 - Thomas Amberg (OH, 6-7, Westwood, Calif., UCLA)
3 - Tri Bourne (OH, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawaii, Southern California)
4 - Carson Clark (Opp, 6-5, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
5 - Weston Dunlap (MB, 6-9, Newport Beach, Calif., UCLA)
6 - Brad Lawson (OH, 6-7, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
7 - Riley McKibbin (S, 6-2, Honolulu, Hawaii, Southern California)
8 - Ryan Meehan (MB, 6-8, Dana Point, Calif., Long Beach State)
9 - Jeff Menzel (OH, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
10 - Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
11 - Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
12 - Cory Yoder (OH, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
Head Coach: Gordon Mayforth (St. Petersburg, Fla.)
Assistant Coach /Team Leader: Pete Hanson (Ohio State)
Assistant Coach: JT Wenger (UCLA)
Trainer: Larnie Boquiren
Jim Baughman (Opp, 6-7, Valencia, Calif., Long Beach State)
Kyle Caldwell (Opp, 6-9, Newport Beach, Calif., UCLA)
Taylor Hughes (OH, 6-7, Fallbrook, Calif., Pacific)
Matt Pollock (MB, 6-9, Orland Park, Ill., Pepperdine)
Matt Rawson (MB, 6-7, Los Angeles, Calif., Hawaii)
Rob Stowell (Opp, 6-7, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., BYU)
Match Schedule (All times local)
Aug 12: U.S. def. Mexico 25-17, 25-23, 25-15
Aug 13: USA vs. Turkey, 8 p.m.
Aug 15: USA vs. Czech Republic, 6 p.m.
Aug 16: USA vs. United Arab Emirates, 3 p.m.
Aug 17: USA vs. Thailand, 6 p.m.
Aug 19: Quarterfinals
Aug 20: Semifinals
Aug 22: Gold and bronze medal matches