U.S. Men's Sitting Still Perfect, Sweep Costa Rica

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 11, 2015, 12:51 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 11, 2015) – The U.S. Parapan Men’s Sitting Team overwhelmed Costa Rica 25-12, 25-9, 25-17 Tuesday morning to improve to 4-0 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, concludes the preliminary round against Brazil (4-0) in a battle of undefeated teams on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET. Brazil has already qualified for the 2016 Paralympic Games as the host country.

Team USA had 10 of its 12 players score with nine of those players totaling at least three points. Jese Schag (Sheridan, Ill.) and Charlie Swearingen (Gulfport, Miss.) each scored seven points in the victory. Schag pocketed four kills on 10 attacks and three blocks. Swearingen charted five kills on 12 swings, one block and one ace.

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“The team played well today,” U.S. Parapan Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team Head Coach Quinton Kraeer said. “We were able to use a number of our bench players to provide them some additional experience. Our focus is continuing to be where it needs to and we will rest tonight and prepare for Brazil tomorrow.”

Daniel Regan (St. Louis, Mo.) and Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) each scored six points with four kills and two aces in starting two sets. Stephen Bracken (Brighton, Colo.), who started the third set after being a sub in the first two sets, pocketed four kills on seven attacks with one ace. Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.) added two kills and a block in starting just the third set, while James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa.) downed three kills. J Dee Marinko (New Castle, Okla.) recorded two kills and a block in starting the third set, while Travis Ricks (San Diego) was credited with one kill.

"We had a good, relaxed match against Costa Rica," Duda said. "I was happy to see that all of our team members got in and contribute today. I know we are all looking forward to tomorrow."

Team USA out-blocked Costa Rica 7-1 and held an 8-0 advantage in aces as the Americans held a 77.1 excellent reception percent. Hugo Storer (Greensboro, N.C.) tallied 12 excellent receptions on 13 chances and eight digs in starting the first and third sets at libero. Stuck and Schag were credited with nine digs each.

The U.S., using a 6-2 offense with Stuck and Schag setting in the backrow and hitting while in the front row, converted 38.0 percent of its attacks with a .190 hitting efficiency (30-15-79). Schag had 26 running sets on 32 set attempts, while Stuck had 16 running sets on 22 set attempts. The American defense limited Costa Rica to a 13.6 kill percent and negative .152 hitting efficiency (9-19-66).

The U.S. cruised through the first set taking advantage of Costa Rica’s errors. The Americans were up 19-7 with nine of their points coming on opponent mistakes. Team USA ended the frame at 25-12 as Costa Rica could not open up a run. The Americans out-scored Costa Rica 12-1 in kills in the set and converted 42.9 percent of their attacks. On a downside, Costa Rica scored 11 of its 12 points on U.S. errors.

Team USA opened the second set strong with a 4-0 advantage and took an 8-2 lead into the first technical timeout. The Americans went on a 9-1 scoring spurt with a combination of blocks (four) and aces (five) to extend the gap to 17-4. The U.S. cruised into the final at 25-9. The Americans notched five blocks and five aces to go with eight kills on 16 attacks in the set.

After the U.S. opened the third set leading 4-1, Costa Rica fought back to within 7-6. Team USA quickly reached a four-point cushion at 12-8. However, Costa Rica battled back to level the score at 12-all with four unanswered points. USA scored six unanswered points to establish a 22-15 advantage. The Americans ended the set at 25-17.

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 def. Costa Rica 25-12, 25-9, 25-17
Aug. 12: United States vs. Brazil, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13: Semifinals
Aug. 14: Medal Round