COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 12, 2015) – The U.S. Parapan Men’s Sitting Team lost its first match of the Parapan American Games on Wednesday evening, falling to Brazil 25-14, 19-25, 25-18, 25-15 in the final preliminary round match played in Toronto, Canada.
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, will meet border-rival Canada in the semifinals on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET. The semifinal winner would secure a berth into the 2016 Paralympics should Brazil also win its semifinal match against Colombia.
"I thought we played a really good game tonight," U.S. Parapan Men's Sitting Volleyball Team Head Coach Quinton Kraeer said. "Brazil is a strong team and the guys worked hard to battle and challenge them. With us taking the second set off them, I believe the team feels confident in its ability to play the game against them, and should we meet later in the tournament, we will be ready. Now we will try to rest as much as we can before we face another good team in Canada for tomorrow's semifinal."
J Dee Marinko (New Castle, Okla.) paced the Americans with 10 points on the strength of nine kills via 24 attacks and a block. Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) and Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.) each totaled eight points with six kills and two blocks. Duda added 25 excellent receptions on 29 chances and nine digs.
"Although the outcome wasn't what we wanted, the team put up a good fight," Duda said. "I think it was some of our best team play in the tournament thus far and hopefully we can carry that into tomorrow's semifinal."
James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa.) produced seven points on four kills, two blocks and an ace. Edgardo Laforest (San Juan, Puerto Rico) collected five kills, 16 digs and 14 excellent receptions on 19 chances in the loss. Daniel Regan (St. Louis, Mo.) rounded out the scoring with three kills and an ace.
John Kremer (Buford, Ga.) was credited with 14 excellent receptions on 26 chances. Stuck added 50 running sets on 62 set attempts as the Americans converted 29.5 percent of their attacks with a .080 hitting efficiency (33-24-112).
Brazil won the net battle with a 12-7 advantage in blocks and a 46-31 margin in kills. Brazil converted 39.5 percent of its attacks with a .235 hitting efficiency (47-19-119). The South Americans also enjoyed a 6-2 margin in aces.
Brazil grabbed an early 4-2 lead in the opening set before the Americans came back to knot the score at 5-all. Brazil used a scoring run to amass a 16-11 lead at the second technical timeout. Brazil continued to stretch out the lead before capturing the set 25-14. Brazil produced four blocks and converted 56.0 percent of its attacks in the set with 14 kills, compared to Team USA’s nine kills with a 27.3 kill percent.
Brazil broke a 2-all tie in the second set with three unanswered points to grab a 5-2 advantage. However, the Americans charged back with six of the next seven points to take an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout. Team USA extended its margin to 13-8 with three straight points, the stretched the lead to 18-11 with another 3-0 run. The U.S. held off Brazil down the final stages for a 25-19 victory. The Americans converted 36.6 percent of their attacks in the second set while Brazil chilled to a 23.8 kill percent.
Brazil clawed its way to an 8-5 lead at the third set’s first technical timeout, then score four of the next five points to stake a 12-6 advantage. Brazil moved into a 20-11 lead late, but the U.S. was not done as it put together a 6-2 run to close the gap to 22-17. However, Brazil scored three of the last four points to take 25-18 victory. The South Americans converted 53.9 percent of their 26 attacks in the set and limited Team USA to a 25.0 kill percent in the frame.
Brazil started the fourth set strong with a 4-1 advantage as it took advantage of three U.S. errors and increased the margin to 11-2 with seven straight points. Team USA responded with four straight and pulled to within four at 14-10 on an 8-3 run. Brazil answered with three unanswered points to take a 17-10 lead and followed through to the end for a 25-15 victory.
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: Brazil def. United States 25-14, 19-25, 25-18, 25-15
Aug. 13: United States vs. Canada, 5 p.m.
Aug. 14: Medal Round