U.S. Comeback Against Cuba Comes Up Short
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 3, 2011) – The U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team’s valiant comeback came up short on Saturday and it fell to Cuba, 25-23, 29-27, 25-27, 19-25, 15-8 in the final of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship.
The U.S. Men (4-1) won their 10th NORCECA Championship silver medal while Cuba (5-1) took its 15th NORCECA gold medal and second in a row. Both teams have qualified for the FIVB World Cup in November and December. The top three teams at the World Cup will qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
U.S. middle blocker Dave Lee (Alpine, Calif.) won the tournament's Best Blocker award.
However one night after a 21-block performance against Puerto Rico, the U.S. Men struggled to stop Cuba’s prolific hitters, particularly Team Captain Wilfredo Leon, who led all attackers with 28 kills, including seven in the tie-breaking fifth set.
The U.S. effort was led by outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) who finished with 18 points on 16 attacks and two blocks. Opposite Clay Stanley (Honolulu, Hawaii) added 16 points on 11 kills, one block and four aces. Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) scored 13 points on eight kills, four blocks and one ace.
Cuba led the U.S. in successful attacks, 68-54. The United States held the 11-10 edge in blocking and the teams were tied in aces, 6-6. The United States scored 39 points on Cuba’s errors while giving up only 29 on its own errors.
Among other U.S. scorers, middle blocker Ryan Millar (Alpine, Utah) finished with seven points on four kill and three blocks. Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) added six points on five attacks and one ace. Outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) had five points on five attacks. Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) totaled four points on four kills.
Setter Kevin Hansen (Newport Beach, Calif.) scored two points on one kill and one ace.
U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.) started Anderson and Lotman at outside hitter, Lee and Holt at middle blocker, Stanley at opposite, Hansen at setter and Rich Lambourne (Tustin, Calif.) at libero.
Millar started the final three sets for Holt. Jablonsky started the last three sets for Lotman. Opposite Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) played as a substitute.
Cuban libero Keibel Gutierrez was elected the Most Valuable Player of the tournament and also won Best libero, Best receiver and Best digger.
Leon received the awards for Best spiker and Best Scorer. Cuba's Fernando Hernandez was the Best server.
Canada's Dustin Schneider the Best setter. The “Jim Coleman Award” was received by Cuban Orlando Samuels, as the best coach.
Cuba led 10-9 in the first set when two Stanley kills and a Cuba error put the U.S. ahead 12-10. Cuba scored to pull back to within one and the U.S. lead was still one at 13-12 when Anderson had a kill and a block to increase the lead to three. The U.S. lead was two at 19-17 when Stanley had a kill and an ace to increase the lead to four. The U.S. lead was still four at 22-18 when Cuba scored five straight points on a kill, a block and three U.S. errors to lead 23-22. The U.S. Men tied the score on Cuba’s error before committing two straight errors of their own for the victory. Leon had seven points in the set for Cuba. Stanley had six for the United States.
The second set was tied at 12-12 in the second set when an Anderson block and Lotman ace put the U.S. up by two. The U.S. increased the lead to three at 19-16 on a Holt kill and block by Lee before Cuba scored three straight points to tie the score. Cuba took a two-point lead at 23-21, but the United States tied the score on Cuba’s error and a Hansen block. A Cuba kill gave it set point at 24-23, but it committed two straight errors to give the U.S. set point. Cuba used two straight kills to take a second set point at 26-25, but another Cuban error tied the score. Cuba took its third set point at 27-26, but Stanley fought off the loss with a kill. Finally, two straight Cuba kills won the set for the Caribbean team. The U.S. out-blocked Cuba 3-1 in the set and scored 10 points off Cuban errors, but Cuba led 18-12 in successful attacks.
The third-set score was tied at 11-11 when the U.S. Men scored four straight points on a kill and ace by Lee, a Cuban error and a Millar attack. Cuba came back with three straight points from Henry Bell to pull to within one, but Anderson’s attack gave the U.S. a 16-14 lead at the second technical timeout (TTO). The U.S. reached set point first at 24-20, but Cuba came back with four straight points on two kills, a block and a U.S. error to tie the score. The U.S. took its fifth set point at 25-24 on Cuba’s error, but Leon tied it with a kill. An Anderson strike gave the U.S. its sixth set point and a Cuban error gave it the win.
The teams were tied at 9-9 in the fourth set when Cuba used two straight kills to go up by two. Cuba led 16-13 at the second TTO and still led by three at 17-14 when the U.S. Men tied the score on an Anderson kill and two blocks from Lee. A Leon strike gave Cuba the 18-17 lead, but the U.S. came back with six straight points including two aces from Stanley, a Jablonsky kill and a Lee block to lead 23-18. The U.S. took set point at 24-19 and quickly ended the set with the victory.
The momentum didn’t carry into the fifth set as Cuba took a 2-0 lead on a Leon kill and ace from Fernando Hernandez. The U.S. scored on Cuba’s error before another Leon kill put Cuba ahead 3-1. With Cuba leading 5-3, the U.S. tied the score on Anderson’s kill and a Millar block. However a U.S. error gave Cuba a one-point lead and it went on to score five more points on four kills, three from Leon, and a U.S. error to lead 11-5 and move on to the win.
2011 NORCECA Men's Continental Championship
Aug. 29-Sept. 3
Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
U.S. Men's Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 Matt Anderson (OH, 6-7, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
2 Sean Rooney (OH, 6-9, Wheaton, Ill., Pepperdine)
3 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
4 David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
5 Rich Lambourne (L, 6-3, Tustin, Calif., BYU)
6 Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
9 Ryan Millar (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Utah, BYU)
10 Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
13 Clay Stanley (Opp, 6-9, Honolulu, Hawai'i, Hawaii)
14 Kevin Hansen (S, 6-5, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford)
16 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
17 Max Holt (MB, 6-8, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
Head Coach: Alan Knipe (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Team Manager: Gary Sato (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Therapist/Trainer: Frank Ciarelli
Technical Coordinator: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Medical Support: Aaron Brock (Storm Lake, Iowa)
Team Doctor: David Dyck
Aug. 29: Canada def. Mexico, 25-21, 23-25, 27-25, 25-22
Aug. 29: Puerto Rico def. St. Lucia, 25-11, 25-17, 25-11
Aug. 30: Canada def. St. Lucia, 25-18, 25-14, 25-13
Aug. 30: Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, 27-25, 25-19, 25-17
Aug. 31: Mexico def. St. Lucia, 25-16, 25-14, 25-22
Aug. 31: Canada def. Puerto Rico, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17
Aug. 29: USA def. Trinidad and Tobago, 25-15, 25-7, 25-12
Aug. 29: Cuba def. Costa Rica, 25-16, 25-13, 25-15
Aug. 30: Cuba def. Trinidad and Tobago, 25-14, 25-15, 25-13
Aug. 30: USA def. Costa Rica vs. USA, 25-16, 25-12, 25-9
Aug. 31: Trinidad and Tobago def. Costa Rica, 26-24, 25-17, 28-26
Aug. 31: USA def. Cuba, 24-26, 25-23, 25-23, 25-17
Sept. 1: Cuba def. Mexico, 25-10, 25-23, 25-14
Sept. 1: Puerto Rico def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-17, 25-15, 25-19
Sept. 2: Trinidad & Tobago def. St. Lucia, 25-20, 25-21, 25-17
Sept. 2: Mexico def. Costa Rica, 23-25, 22-25, 25-12, 25-15, 15-11
Sept. 2: Cuba def. Canada, 23-25, 25-17, 24-26, 25-17, 15-9
Sept. 2: USA def. Puerto Rico, 25-14, 25-16, 26-24
Final Classification 7-8
Sept. 3: Costa Rica def. St. Lucia, 25-23, 25-10, 25-18
Final Classification 5-6
Sept. 3: Mexico def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-20, 25-12, 25-21
Sept. 3: Bronze Medal – Canada def. Puerto Rico, 25-20, 25-23, 25-14
Sept. 3: Gold Medal – Cuba def. USA, 25-23, 29-27, 25-27, 19-25, 15-8