U.S. Men Work for Ticket to Worlds

By BJ Evans | May 18, 2014, 11 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 18, 2014) – The U.S. Men’s National Team held off a scrappy Guatemala squad, 25-18, 25-22, 25-15 on Sunday to win the NORCECA World Championship Qualification Third-Round Pool O Tournament at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

The U.S. Men's National Team
  The U.S. Men show off their gold medals.

With the victory, the U.S. Men (4-0) qualified for the 2014 FIVB World Championship on Aug. 30-Sept. 21 in Poland. Guatemala (2-2) will compete in a final qualifier against second-place teams from other NORCECA qualifying tournaments. In the third-place match, St. Lucia (1-3) defeated Haiti (1-3), 15-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-21, 15-12.

U.S. libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) was named tournament MVP, Best Libero, Best Digger and Best Receiver. Lee was named the tournament’s Best Blocker along with his teammate, middle blocker Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.). Outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) won Best Server and outside hitter Aaron Russell took Best Spiker.

Guatemala served notice on Sunday that they were going to play hard by taking a 9-8 lead in the first set and later tying the score at 10-10.

“That was much tougher than expected,” U.S. middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) said. “They played good volleyball. They made their serves. They played great defense. We made a ton of service errors and that’s what made it so close.”

A serving run by outside hitter Reid Priddy (Richmond, Va.) gave the U.S. Men a 13-10 lead that they built on. In the second set, the U.S. Men led 19-15, but Guatemala used two straight aces to pull to within one at 19-18. Guatemala’s next serve went long and a U.S. block put it back into the lead. The U.S. Men led 8-6 at the first technical timeout (TTO) of the third set and increased it to 16-10 at the second TTO.

“Guatemala played great and we should give them a lot of credit,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Los Angeles) said. “They came in with a lot of enthusiasm. They made a lot of great plays. They did some different things that we didn’t see in the first match.  We didn’t play our best volleyball but we got the win so off to World Champs we go.”

The U.S. Men led Guatemala in kills (37-25), blocks (5-2) and digs (12-4). The teams tied in aces (6-6). Guatemala scored 22 points on U.S. errors while the U.S. benefitted from 27 Guatemala miscues.

Lee and opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) each scored 11 points to lead the U.S. Men. Lee scored on six kills, a match-high four blocks and one ace. Clark connected on a match-high 11 attacks.

Russell added nine points on seven kills and two aces. Priddy scored seven points on five kills, one block and one ace. McDonnell totaled five points on four attacks and one ace.

Outside hitter Sean Rooney (Wheaton, Ill.) scored four points on four attacks. Setter Ryan Ammerman (Denver, Colo.) scored one point with an ace.

Ammerman was credited with 19 running sets and no faults. He set Team USA to a .458 hitting efficiency. Shoji was credited with three digs and 10 excellent receptions.

Speraw started Priddy and Rooney at outside hitter, Lee and McDonnell at middle blocker, Clark at opposite, Ammerman at setter and Shoji at libero. Russell took over for Rooney to start the second set and Riley McKibbin (Honolulu, Hawaii) played as a serving substitute.

U.S. Men’s Roster for the NORCECA World Championship Qualifier
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2. Sean Rooney (OH, 6-10, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine) 
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU) 
4. David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State) 
5. Ryan Ammerman (S, 6-9, Denver, Colo., UC Irvine)
7. Dan McDonnell (MB, 6-6, Glendale, Ariz., UC Irvine) 
8. Reid Priddy (OH, 6-4, Richmond, Va., Loyola Marymount)
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
12. Russell Holmes (MB, 6-8, Fountain Valley, Calif., BYU)
15. Carson Clark (Opp, 6-6, Santa Barbara, Calif., UC Irvine)
18. Aaron Russell (OH, 6-9, Ellicott City, Md., Penn State)
19. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
20. Riley McKibbin (S, 6-2, Honolulu, Hawaii, USC)

Head Coach: John Speraw
Assistant Coach: Matt Fuerbringer
Assistant Coach: Mike Wall
Team Manager: Andrea Becker
Athletic Trainer: Aaron Brock
Technical Coordinator: Anton Willert
Consultant Coach: Mike Sealy
Consultant Coach: Erik Sullivan

FIVB World Championship NORCECA Men’s Qualification Tournament Results
Guatemala def. Haiti, 25-17, 25-20, 25-8
USA def St. Lucia, 25-16, 25-12, 25-9
Haiti def. St. Lucia, 12-25, 25-23, 25-19, 30-28
USA def. Guatemala, 25-12, 25-14, 25-16
Guatemala def. St. Lucia, 25-18, 25-18, 25-19
USA def. Haiti, 25-7, 25-10, 25-15
Third-place: St. Lucia def. Haiti, 15-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-21, 15-12
First-place: USA def. Guatemala, 25-18, 25-22, 25-15

FIVB World Championship NORCECA Women’s Qualification Tournament Results
Panama def. Honduras, 25-17, 20-25, 25-13, 25-16
USA def. Guatemala, 25-10, 25-18, 25-11
Guatemala def. Honduras, 25-19, 25-19, 25-27, 25-22
USA def. Panama, 25-16, 25-12, 25-9
Panama def. Guatemala, 16-25, 25-16, 18-25, 25-23, 15-11
USA def. Honduras, 25-12, 25-13, 25-16
Third-place: Guatemala def. Honduras, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-13
Gold-medal: USA def. Panama, 25-18, 25-5, 25-5


Comments