DETROIT, Mich. (May 21, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National Team used powerful serving to defeat a young Mexican team, 25-15, 25-12, 25-17 on Thursday at the NORCECA Champions Cup at Joe Louis Arena.
The United States (1-0) will play Cuba (0-1) on Friday in the round robin tournament while Mexico (0-1) will face Canada (1-0). The top two Champions Cup finishers qualify for the 2015 FIVB World Cup, which is the first qualifier for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The United States led in aces 15-3, with middle blocker Max Holt finishing with seven and opposite Murphy Troy adding four. The U.S. also out-blocked Mexico (9-0) and led in kills (34-25).
“I think we served the ball really well. That is an obvious positive,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “Interestingly, a few of our errors were almost uncharacteristic. We can serve the ball even better.”
Speraw also praised Mexico’s tenacity.
“They are a young team, they actually dug a couple balls in some pretty impressive rallies,” Speraw said.
Mexico Head Coach Juan Roberto Vilches was not unhappy with his team’s performance.
“I am satisfied because it was our first match of the season and our first international match we played and my first match as head coach,” he said. “We have had just a couple weeks practicing together. Tomorrow we believe we can do better and progress and have a better show for the crowd.”
Troy led all scorers with 15 points on 10 kills, one block and the four aces. Holt finished with nine points on two kills and the seven aces.
“It’s been a quick turnaround for us. We’ve only been practicing together for a couple weeks,” Troy said. “But at the same time, we were really itching to get out there and compete again so that felt really good. It wasn’t a clean performance for sure, but I thought we did some good things and got better as the match went on.”
Opposite Daniel Vargas led Mexico with eight points on eight kills.
THURSDAY'S STARTING LINEUP
Outside hitter: Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Middle blocker: Max Holt (Cincinnati) and David Smith (Saugus, Calif.)
Opposite: Murphy Troy (St. Louis)
Setter: Micah Christenson (Honolulu)
Libero: Erik Shoji (Honolulu)
Points: Troy 15, Holt 9, Sander 7, Christenson 7, Smith 6, Anderson 5, Jablonsky 5, Jaeschke 3, K Shoji 1
Kills: Troy 10, Sander 6
Blocks: Christenson 4, Smith 2
Aces: Holt 7, Troy 4
U.S. Roster for NORCECA Champions Cup
No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1. Matt Anderson (OH/OPP, 6-9, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
3. Taylor Sander (OH, 6-4, Huntington Beach, Calif., BYU)
4. David Lee (MB, 6-8, Alpine, Calif., Long Beach State)
6. Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
7. Kawika Shoji (S, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)
9. Murphy Troy (Opp, 6-8, St. Louis, Mo., Southern California)
10. Thomas Jaeschke (OH, 6-6, Wheaton, Ill., Loyola)
11. Micah Christenson (S, 6-6, Honolulu, Southern California)
16. Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
17. Max Holt (MB, 6-9, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
20. David Smith (MB, 6-7, Saugus, Calif., UC Irvine)
21. Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)
22. Erik Shoji (L, 6-0, Honolulu, Hawaii, Stanford)