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U.S. Men Hold off Surging Puerto Rico

By B.J. Evans | Aug. 16, 2015, 10 p.m. (ET)

RENO, USA (Aug. 16, 2015) – Playing its second five-set match in as many days, the U.S. men's team competing at the Pan American Cup came out on the winning side on Sunday, defeating Puerto Rico, 25-21, 25-15, 22-25, 28-30, 15-9 at the Reno Event Center.

The United States (2-3) will play Mexico (1-4) at 3 p.m. on Sunday in the fifth-place match. Puerto Rico (0-4) will play Dominican Republic (1-4) for seventh place.

The U.S. men’s team may have been a little dejected after losing a five-set match to Canada late on Saturday, which took them out of the running for a medal. But they did not show any signs of fatigue in the first two sets, running away with wins.


Puerto Rico stepped up its level in the third and fourth sets and the U.S. did not adjust. The U.S. took a 6-5 lead in the fifth set, then used a 4-0 run behind the serving of Greg Petty to secure the lead and went on to win.

“Puerto Rico picked it up," said Petty, who started the last two sets at outside hitter. "I felt like they were kind of asleep in the first two sets and then they started playing a lot better and we were really slow at adjusting to what they were doing. In the fifth set we played our game and had it rolling. We put pressure on them and made them play our game.”

The U.S. led in spikes (69-58) and blocks (13-7). Puerto Rico led in aces (4-3) and scored on 31 U.S. errors while committing 30. The United States’ hitting efficiency was .441 as compared to .279 for Puerto Rico.

Opposite Ben Patch led the United States with 22 points on 21 spikes and one block. Outside hitter Cody Kessel added 15 points on 13 attacks and two blocks. Middle blockers Bobby Walsh and Jeff Jendryk and setter Graham McIlvaine each had three blocks for the U.S.

Puerto Rico opposite Maurice Torres led all scorers with 26 points on a match-high 25 spikes and one block. Middle blocker Jessie Colon scored 12 points on eight spikes, three blocks and one ace.

“We were getting away with some stuff early and I don’t think the motivation was good for either team and so we were able to do really well," U.S. Coach Jeff Nygaard said. "As is with all of the situations of these games, there’s a lot of pride and there was an uptick. They had their moment where they became passionate, started hitting harder and had success so it was on us to respond. We were pleased to take away in that one.”

Sunday's starters
Outside hitters: Jake Langlois and Cody Kessel
Middle blockers: Jeff Jendryk and Bobby Walsh
Opposite: Ben Patch
Setter: Graham McIlvaine
Libero: Michael Brinkley

Sunday's statistics
Kills: Patch 21, Kessel 13, Langlois 9, Jendryk 6, Walsh 5, McIlvaine 5, Russell 5, Petty 5
Blocks: Jendryk 3, McIlvaine 3, Walsh 3, Kessel 2, Langlois 1, Patch 1
Aces: Petty 1, Walsh 1, Langlois 1
Digs: McIlvaine 7, Langlois 6, Patch 5, Kessel 5, Brinkley 5, Walsh 2, Jendryk 2, Petty 2, Russell 1