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U.S. Men's Sitting Team Takes Parapan Silver

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 14, 2015, 8:52 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 14, 2015) – For the third consecutive Parapan American Games, the U.S. Parapan Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team will walk away one victory shy of its goal of gold as Team USA lost to Brazil 25-19, 25-17, 25-14 in the title match Friday evening in Toronto.

The Parapan American Games silver medal does have a bright some. Yesterday Team USA earned their ticket to the 2016 Paralympic Games by defeating Canada in a tough four-set semifinal match, which was an over-powering objective in Toronto. The Americans had not earned a ticket to the Paralympic Games since competing in the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) paced the Americans with nine points, all kills via 36 attacks. J Dee Marinko (New Castle, Okla.) chipped in six kills on 20 attacks and two blocks for eight points. Roderick Green (West Monroe, La.) added four kills on 19 swings and a block for five points.

"We gave them a good fight and unfortunately it wasn't in the cards tonight," Duda said. "The good thing is that we played well as a team, fought hard and learned tremendously from this week's tournament. Now, we look forward to the next chapter."

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James Stuck (New Kensington, Pa.) was credited with 42 running sets on 55 set attempts to go with three blocks. Edgardo Laforest (San Juan, Puerto Rico) rounded out the scoring with a kill and block.

John Kremer (Buford, Ga.) turned in eight excellent receptions on 14 attempts and three digs. Daniel Regan (St. Louis, Mo.) started all three sets.

Marinko pocketed 12 excellent receptions on 13 chances with three digs. LaForest collected six digs and 18 excellent receptions on 25 chances. Duda charted seven excellent receptions on nine chances.

Previous Results: 8/8 USA vs COL | 8/9 USA vs MEX | 8/10 USA vs CAN | 8/11 USA vs CRC | 8/12 USA vs BRA | 8/13 USA vs CAN

Brazil out-blocked Team USA 11-6 and held a slim 3-1 margin in aces. The South Americans converted 37.5 percent of their attacks with a .216 hitting efficiency (33-14-88). In contrast, the U.S. was limited to a 20.6 kill percent and negative .052 hitting efficiency (20-25-97).

"Tonight was a good matchup," U.S. Parapan Men's Sitting Volleyball Team Head Coach Quinton Kraeer said. "Brazil is certainly a strong team and I thought our guys came out ready to play, but we just couldn't execute the way we needed to. I thought this was a good match for us in particular to learn, grow, and reach the level we need to be competitive in Rio."

Brazil had defeated Team USA 3-1 in the preliminary round match on Aug. 12 to take the top seed into the playoffs.

Brazil started the first set by scoring the first three points. Team USA leveled the score at 5-all with a Duda kill and Stuck block, but Brazil answered with four unanswered points to grab a 9-5 advantage prompting a USA timeout. The Americans responded with a 4-1 run that included two Marinko kills to close to 10-9. Brazil moved out to a six-point lead at 18-12, but the Americans started a comeback with three straight points to close to 18-15. Team USA inched to within two at 20-18 on a Duda kill. Brazil ended the set with four unanswered points for a 25-19 victory. Brazil doubled-up Team USA in kills 14-7 in the set to offset the Americans 5-3 advantage in blocks.

Brazil took the first two points of the second set and reached the first technical timeout with an 8-4 margin. Brazil stretched its lead to 16-10 at the second technical timeout and advance the margin to seven points at 18-11. Brazil maintained the advantage through to a 25-17 victory. The South Americans converted 46.2 percent of their attacks and had two blocks.

Team USA started the third set with a 3-1 margin, but Brazil fired back with three unanswered points to retake the lead at 4-3 and reached the first technical timeout with an 8-5 advantage. Brazil opened up a five-point edge at 12-6 and kept the momentum through to the 25-14 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 Results
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 def. Canada 26-24, 25-23, 16-25, 25-21
Aug. 14: Brazil def. United States 25-19, 25-17, 25-14