COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 19, 2015) – The U.S. men’s team competing at the Pan American Games recovered from a first-set loss and a serious threat in the second and went on to defeat Mexico, 20-25, 27-25, 25-16, 25-17 on Sunday at Exhibition Center in Toronto.
The U.S. men’s team improved to 1-1 heading into its match against host Canada (2-0) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET. The match is scheduled to be shown live on ESPN3.
Team USA won Sunday’s match despite committing 40 unforced errors to 27 by Mexico. The U.S. dominated in blocks (11-2), aces (9-3) and kills (50-38).
“Mexico is a really good team, with an amazing ball control,” U.S. Head Coach Charlie Sullivan said. “They put a lot of pressure on us. We were making mistakes”
Opposite Zach La Cavera and middle blocker Taylor Averill led the U.S. with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Outside hitter Brian Cook was next with 14 while outside hitter TJ DeFalco added 11, including three aces and two blocks.
Substitutes played an important role as setter Matt West took over for starter Jonah Seif in the first set started the rest of the match while DeFalco stepped in for AJ Nally and played the rest of the match. Cody Caldwell also played as a substitute.
Daniel Vargas and Jorge Barajas stood out among Mexican players with 14 and 13 points.
“We were playing a little scrambled in the beginning. We played against a good team,” DeFalco said.“We were sure that they were going to come out and fight, but we figured it out and played some good volleyball, so I am really proud of my team.
“We had not played at this kind of environment before,” U.S. setter Matt West said. “Even though we had one match, we’ve still got the kind of feeling of butterflies inside. But we figured it out and got together. We came out after struggling that first set and closed with a win.”
Outside hitters: Brian Cook and AJ Nally
Middle blockers: Taylor Averill and Kris Johnson
Opposite: Zach La Cavera
Setter: Jonah Seif
Libero: Michael Brinkley
Kills: Averill 14, La Cavera 13, Cook 11, DeFalco 6, Johnson 5, Nally 1
Blocks: Averill 2, Johnson 2, La Cavera 2, West 2, De Falco 2, Cook 1
Ace: DeFalco 3, La Cavera 2, Cook 2, West 2
Digs: Brinkley 6, Cook 5, DeFalco 2, La Cavera 2, Averill 2, Johnson 2, West 1
U.S. Pan American Games
Men’s Volleyball Team Roster
3 - Taylor Averill (MB, 6-7, San Jose, Calif., University of Hawaii)
5 - Michael Brinkley (L, 5-10, Huntington Beach, Calif., University of California – Irvine)
6 - Cody Caldwell (OH, 6-7, Newport Beach, Calif., Loyola University – Chicago)
7 - Brian Cook (OH, 6-6, Santa Cruz, Calif., Stanford University)
12 - Kris Johnson (MB, 6-11, Long Beach, Calif., California Baptist University)
14 - TJ DeFalco (OH, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., Long Beach State University)
16 - Zach La Cavera (OPP, 6-5, Huntington Beach, Calif., University of California – Irvine)
17 - Mitch Stahl (MB, 6-8, Chambersburg, Pa., University of California – Los Angeles)
19 - AJ Nally (OH, 6-5, Rochester, N.Y., Springfield College)
21 - Ben Patch (OPP, 6-8, Provo, Utah, Brigham Young University)
22 - Jonah Seif (S, 6-6, Thousand Oaks, Calif., University of California – Santa Barbara)
25 - Matt West (S, 6-6, Seattle, Wash., Pepperdine University)
Pan Am Games Schedule (All Times Local)
Pool A: Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Cuba
Pool B: Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States
Pool Play for Team USA
July 17: Puerto Rico def USA, 25-23, 24-26, 25-20, 28-26
July 19: USA def Mexico, 20-25, 27-25, 25-16, 25-17
July 21: USA vs. Canada, 7 p.m.
July 22: Quarterfinals
July 24: Semifinals
July 26: Medal Rounds