HAVANA, Cuba (June 6, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s National Team ended its five-day stay in Cuba with a 25-21, 24-26, 25-17, 25-18 win of its second friendly match against the host country on Monday at the Coliseo Ciudad Deportiva.
Both teams will move on to play in the FIVB World League and then at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
U.S. serving was on point, as the U.S. finished with nine aces, led by outside hitter Garrett Muagututia with five and outside hitter Paul Lotman with two. Cuba finished with three aces.
The U.S. Men also scored on 41 errors by Cuba while committing 25.
“We came out prepared this time,” Muagututia said. “Those of us on the bench last time were sort of scouting them. “We had in our minds where we were going to be defensively. We knew as long as we could serve and pass better than them, we could put them in some tough situations.”
Libero Erik Shoji was credited with five digs, including a save that fell for a point on Cuba’s side. Lotman was credited with 10 excellent receptions.
“It was nice that some of the second-team guys could get in tonight and contribute so well,” said setter Kawika Shoji, who scored five points on three blocks, one kill and one ace. “I think we’re going to build on this for World League.”
Shoji set the U.S. Men to a .388 hitting efficiency while Cuba hit .179.
Muagututia and Lotman led all scorers with 16 points each. Muagututia scored on nine kills, two blocks and five aces. Lotman scored on 12 kills, two blocks and two aces.
Middle blocker David Smith led the U.S. block party with four and scored 13 points overall. Matt Anderson started the first three sets at opposite and led in kills with 13 along with one ace.
U.S. Head Coach John Speraw was happy with the friendly matches in preparation for World League.
“For us to be able to get out on the court, put on the uniform and play a good opponent is great,” Speraw said. “I think the opportunity here for a lot of guys to get a chance and a look, especially in a year we’re making a lot of tough decisions, is important.”
The U.S. Men will begin FIVB World League pool play on June 16-18 in Rio de Janeiro.
Outside Hitters: Paul Lotman and Garrett Muagututia
Middle Blockers: David Lee and David Smith
Opposite: Matt Anderson
Setter: Kawika Shoji
Libero: Erik Shoji
Kills: Matt Anderson 13, Paul Lotman 12, David Smith 9, Garrett Muagututia 9, David Lee 6, Murphy Troy 2, Kawika Shoji 1
Blocks: Smith 4, Shoji 3, Lotman 2, Muagututia 2, Troy 1, Lee 1
Aces: Muagututia 5, Lotman 2, Anderson 1, Shoji 1
Digs: Erik Shoji 4, Muagututia 3, Anderson 1, Lee 1, K Shoji 1, Dustin Watten 1