COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 19, 2013) – The United States held off the Dominican Republic to win its first pool play match of the men’s Pan American Cup, 26-24, 25-14, 22-25, 21-25, 15-7 on Monday in Mexico City.
The United States is 1-0 in Pool B and will play Trinidad & Tobago on Tuesday and host Mexico on Wednesday.
The U.S. Men led in kills (56-53) and blocks (7-6) while the teams were tied in aces (4-4).
Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) led the United States’ effort with 19 points on 15 kills, three blocks and one ace. Middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak (Warsaw, Poland) added 14 points on eight kills, three blocks and a match-high three aces.
After the United States won the first two sets, the Dominican Republic came back to win the next two thanks to Elvis Contreras, who led all scorers with 22 points, along with Wilfrido Hernandez Incarnation (11 points) and José Miguel Cáceres (10 points).
“It was a good match for both teams,” U.S. Head Coach Shawn Patchell said. “We felt nervous in the beginning, had some trouble in the third and fourth sets. We could not stop Caceres, but pulled out and improved our service. I am happy for this win.”
U.S. Team Captain Ryan Ammerman (Parker, Colo.) speculated that Mexico City’s altitude (7,943 feet above sea level) might have had an effect on the team.
“We practice normally in California, in Anaheim (close to sea level), and now we have to acclimate here,” he said.
Among other U.S. scorers, outside hitter Josh Taylor (Honolulu) scored 12 points on 12 attacks. Opposite Will Price (Laytonsville, Md.) totaled nine points on nine kills. Middle blocker Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.) finished with six points on six attacks.
Outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) scored three points on three kills. Ammerman, at setter, scored two points on one kill and one block. Middle blocker Russ Lavaja (St. Charles, Ill.) and opposite Shawn Sangrey (Columbia, Pa.) each scored one point on one kill.
Ammerman was credited with 24 running sets and one fault on 73 attempts. Setter Connor Olbright (Orange, Calif.), who played as a substitute, had two running sets on three attempts.
Libero Michael Brinkley (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was credited with five excellent receptions. Sander also had five.
Patchell started Sander and Sunder at outside hitter, Ratajczak and McDonnell at middle blocker, Price at opposite, Ammerman at setter and Brinkley at libero. Taylor took over for Sunder in the second set and started the rest of the match. Olbright, Sangrey and Lavaja played as substitutes.
U.S. Men’s Team Roster for Pan American Cup
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Connor Olbright (S, 6-4, Orange, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 Josh Taylor (OH, 6-7, Honolulu, Hawaii, Pepperdine)
5 Ryan Jay Owens (OH, 6-6, Evanston, Ill., Orange Coast College)
6 Joe Sunder (OH, 6-7, Greensburg, Pa., Penn State)
8 Michael Brinkley (L, 5-10, Huntington Beach, Calif., UC Irvine)
9 Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine)
12 Will Price (Opp, 6-5, 207, Laytonsville, Md., Penn State)
14 Ryan Ammerman (S, 6-8, Parker, Colo., UC Irvine)
15 Shawn Sangrey (Opp, 6-5, Columbia, Pa., Ohio State)
17 Jacek Ratajczak (MB, 7-2, Warsaw, Poland, Cal State Northridge)
18 Russ Lavaja (MB, 6-7, St. Charles, Ill., BYU)
19 Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
Head Coach: Shawn Patchell (Concordia University)
Assistant Coach: Allan Vince (Cal Baptist University)
Team Manager/Technical Coordinator: Nick MacRae (Long Beach State)
Physiotherapist: Jamie Rodgers