U.S. Men's Sitting Sweep Host Canada at Parapan

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 10, 2015, 8:45 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 10, 2015) – The U.S. Parapan Men’s Sitting Team defeated host Canada 25-21, 25-20, 25-18 on Monday evening to improve to 3-0 in the Parapan American Games preliminary round being held in Toronto.

Team USA, which needs to either win the Parapan American Games or finish second to Brazil to earn a berth into the 2016 Rio Paralympics next summer, challenges Costa Rica (0-3) on Tuesday at 11:05 a.m. ET. The Americans close out the preliminary round on Wednesday against Brazil at 7 p.m. ET. The semifinals are scheduled for Aug. 13 with the medal-round matches on Aug. 14.

J Dee Marinko (New Castle, Okla.) scored a match-high 12 points for Team USA with 10 kills on 19 swings, one block and one ace. Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) contributed 10 points with nine kills on 30 attacks and a block. Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.) totaled four kills and two blocks in the victory.

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"We had alot of emotion and confidence going into tonight," Duda said. "One of our toughest challenges was actually playing the team across the net rather than our friends that are the Canadian team members. With tonight's win, we are of course thinking about our matchup with Brazil on Wednesday, but will not overlook our match tomorrow against Costa Rica."

James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa.) charted six points with four blocks and two kills. He added 47 running sets on 59 set attempts to lead the Americans to a 34.3 kill percent and .181 hitting efficiency (36-17-105). Edgardo Laforest (San Juan, Puerto Rico) pocketed four kills on eight swings and a block in playing just the first half of the match before being subbed out.

"We came out with good energy, a few ups and downs, but we fought through it and were able to take control of the match," Marinko said. "Tonight just futher demonstrated how we can rally as a team at the times necessary and push forward to achieve our goals."

Team USA held a slim 11-10 margin in blocks while Canada had a 2-1 margin in aces. The American defense held Canada to a 22.1 kill percent and .038 hitting efficiency (23-19-104).

"The team played really well tonight," U.S. Parapan Men's Sitting Volleyball Team Head Coach Quinton Kraeer said. "Canada is a good team and pushed us to play at the level we are capable to defeat a tough opponent. Our bench was also instrumental in providing positive energy to the guys on the floor and overall, it was just a really good night for us."

Daniel Regan (St. Louis, Mo.) added four kills and Jese Schag (Sheridan, Ill.) collected three points in place of LaForest in the later stages of the match. Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss.) rounded out the scoring with two points on a kill and block late in the third set.

Libero John Kremer (Buford, Ga.) accounted for 20 excellent receptions on 27 chances to go with eight digs. Stuck added 11 digs and LaForest chipped in 10 digs in his limited action. Marinko was perfect 7-of-7 in excellent receptions to go with eight digs. Duda added six digs and six excellent receptions on nine chances.

The U.S. took a 6-3 advantage early in the opening set, only to have Canada score the next six points with three blocks and an ace to take the lead at 9-6. Team USA bounced back with eight unanswered points to regain the lead at 14-9. Canada trimmed an 18-13 deficit down to one point at 19-18 on a 5-1 run, but the USA stopped the spurt with two quick points to pull ahead 21-18. The Americans held off Canada the rest of the way for a 25-21 victory. LaForest led Team USA in scoring with four first set points. The Americans took advantage of 12 Canadian errors to offset a 4-2 block advantage for the hosts.

Team USA bounced back from a 5-4 deficit in the second set to establish an 8-5 advantage at the first technical timeout. The Americans pushed their lead to six at 15-9 following three consecutive points. The U.S. maintained the momentum through the rest of the set and won 25-20. Team USA scored five blocks in the set and held Canada to only seven kills in the frame.

The Americans bolted to a 5-2 margin in the third set. The U.S. widened its margin to 14-8 on a mini run midway through the set. Team USA cruised the rest of the way for a 25-18 victory. The Americans converted 15 of 33 attacks for points in the third set and added four blocks while limiting Canada to an 18.4 kill percent in the frame.

U.S. Parapan American Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team Roster
1 – Travis Ricks (DS, San Diego, Calif., 5-7)
2 – Daniel Regan (MB, St. Louis, Mo., 6-0)
5 – Eric Duda (OH, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 6-5)
6 – Jese Schag (S, Sheridan, Ill., 6-2)
7 – Stephen Bracken (OH, Brighton, Colo., 6-3)
8 – James Stuck (S, New Kensington, Pa., 6-5)
9 – Hugo Storer (L, Greensboro, N.C., 6-0)
10 – Edgardo Laforest (OPP, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 6-1)
11 – Roderick Green (MB, West Monroe, La., 6-3)
13 – Charlie Swearingen (MB, Gulfport, Miss., 6-3)
14 – John Kremer (L, Buford, Ga., 5-9)
18 – J Dee Marinko (OH, New Castle, Okla., 6-4)

Head Coach: Quinton Kraeer
Assistant Coach: Greg Walker
Assistant Coach/Technical Coordinator: Elliot Blake
Trainer: Patrick Lawrence
Team Leader: Dixie Collins

U.S. Parapan American Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team Schedule (times listed as ET)
Aug. 8: United States def. Colombia 25-17, 25-21, 25-13
Aug. 9: United States def. Mexico 25-15, 25-11, 25-5
Aug. 10: United States def. Canada 25-21, 25-20, 25-18
Aug. 11: United States vs. Costa Rica, 11:05 a.m.
Aug. 12: United States vs. Brazil, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13: Semifinals
Aug. 14: Medal Round