U.S. Men fall to Germany in tight five set match

By Karen Patterson (Karen.patterson@usav.org) | Sept. 11, 2016, 11:40 a.m. (ET)

RIO DE JANEIRO (Sept. 11, 2016) – The U.S. Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team played its most competitive match of the year, but came up short against Germany on Sunday, losing 20-25, 25-15, 25-10, 23-25, 15-10.

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The U.S. came out firing in Set 1. Aided by scrappy defense, Captain Eric Duda (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) led the team with five first set. Roderick Green (West Monroe Louisiana) provided a spark of his own at the net with three blocks and one kill in the opener.

Green finished the match with a team-high 17 points (10 kills, six blocks, one ace), while Duda added 14 points (10 kills, four blocks). J. Dee Marinko (Guthrie, Oklahoma) had a team-high 11 kills and James Stuck (Puyallup, Washington) added 10 points (five kills, four blocks, one ace)

Germany altered its lineup in Set 2, also changing its offensive strategy to attack high off the blockers’ hands balanced with well-placed tip shots.

“We knew they were really good at tipping so it was a battle between staying in to cover the tip versus playing high-hands defense. We worked on it and just had to remind ourselves we could cover those balls,” Duda said.

More: Official Rio Stats P2Official Rio Stats P3 | USAV DataVolley Statistics 

Germany appeared poised to take the match, controlling the pace in the second and third sets. However, the U.S. rallied midway through the fourth set, tying it at 11-11 after trailing 11-8, before going ahead for good on a German attack error followed by a Duda kill. Germany crept back in after the U.S. went up 23-19, but Duda slammed the door shut on the set with a kill to send the match to a tie-breaker.

“This is the most consistent that we have been able to pull ourselves up,” Head Coach Greg Walker said. “To go down the second set and the third, we said we have nothing to lose. We’re going to keep playing our offense and defense. All-around they were working so hard.”

The U.S. began the fifth set slow, falling behind 7-1 and 8-3 before rallying off five points to tie the set at 8-8 on a German attack error. The teams again evened things at 10-10, before Germany pulled ahead for good.

Walker was particularly pleased with the team’s performance behind the service line. Although the U.S. only recorded two aces, the team missed just one serve in five sets after missing six serves in three sets against Brazil on Friday.

“I thought every single guy was productive from the service line and we knew if we were going to win the match we had to perform from the service line,” Walker said. “They hit their zone, they hit their targets and we couldn’t have asked for anything more.”

Alex Schiffler led Germany with 19 points (16 kills, three blocks and one ace) in a match that was oddly personal. Schiffler is married to U.S. Women’s Sitting Team player Michelle Schiffler (DeLand, Florida) and spent most of 2016 training with the U.S. Men in Edmond, Oklahoma.

“It was not so easy,” Schiffler said of playing the U.S. “I was thinking it would be easier than it actually was because this U.S. team was playing in my opinion the best I ever saw from them. They had strong defense and it was a good fight. It was not so easy to win.”

The U.S. Men finish pool play on Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET against Egypt. Egypt is 2-0 in pool play after topping both Germany and Brazil in five sets.

U.S. Starters vs. Germany
Middle blockers:
  Roderick Green, James Stuck
Outside hitters:  Eric Duda, J. Dee Marinko
Opposite:  Chris Seilkop
Setter:  Jese Schag
Libero: John Kremer

U.S. Statistics vs. Germany
Kills:  Marinko 11, Green 10, Duda 10, Schag 6, Stuck 5, Seilkop 5
Blocks:  Green 6, Stuck 4, Duda 4, Schag 2, Ben Aman 1
Aces: Stuck 1, Green 1
Digs: Kremer 10, Duda 7, Stuck 7, Marinko 5, Green 5, Schag 4, Seilkop 2, Dan Regan 1
Assists: Schag 20, Duda 9, Stuck 7, Kremer 2, Aman 1

U.S. Paralympic Men’s Sitting Volleyball Team Roster
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown)

2. Dan Regan (Middle Blocker, 6-0, St. Louis, Missouri)
4. Ben Aman (Outside Hitter, 6-5, Tacoma, Washington)
5. Eric Duda (Outside Hitter, 6-5, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
6. Jese Schag (Setter, 6-2, Norway, Illinois)
8. James Stuck (Setter, 6-5, New Kensington, Pennsylvania)
10. Edgar LaForest (Outside Hitter, 6-2, San Juan, Puerto Rico)
11. Roderick Green (Middle Blocker, 6-3, West Monroe, Louisiana)
13. Charlie Swearingen (Outside Hitter, 6-3, Gulfport, Mississippi)
14. John Kremer (Libero, 5-9, Buford, Georgia)
15. Chris Seilkop (Outside Hitter/Middle Blocker, 6-6 DeLand, Florida)
16. Josh Smith (6-2 Opposite, Riverside, California)
18. J. Dee Marinko (Outside Hitter, 6-4, Guthrie, Oklahoma)

Head Coach: Greg Walker
Assistant Coach: Joe Skinner
Team Leader: Dixie Collins
Athletic Trainer: Katherine King

2016 Paralympic Games Men’s Sitting Volleyball Pools
Pool A: Brazil, Egypt, Germany, United States
Pool B: Iran, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine, China

2016 Paralympic Games Men’s Sitting Volleyball Pool Schedules
All times EDT

Sept. 9
Brazil def. USA, 25-14, 25-17, 25-14
Egypt def. Germany, 18-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-14, 15-7

Sept. 10
Iran def. China, 25-22, 25-13, 25-14
Bosnia-Herzegovina def. Ukraine, 25-12, 25-22, 25-20

Sept. 11
Egypt def. Brazil, 25-18, 13-25, 25-23, 10-25, 15-13
German def. USA, 20-25, 25-15, 25-10, 23-25, 15-10

Sept. 12
China vs. Ukraine, 1 p.m.
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. Iran, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 13
USA vs. Egypt, 1 p.m.
Germany vs. Brazil, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 14
Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. China, 5:30 p.m.
Ukraine vs. Iran, 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 16
Men’s 7th-8th Classification, 12:30 p.m.
Men’s 5th-6th Classification, 2:30 p.m.
Semifinal 1: 5:30 p.m.
Semifinal 2: 7:30 p.m.

Sept. 18
Men’s bronze medal match, 8:30 a.m.
Men’s gold medal match, 11 a.m.