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U.S. Men's A2 Team Advances to Pan Am Cup Final

June 19, 2009, 10:39 p.m. (ET)

B.J. Hoeptner Evans
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6800
E-Mail: bj.evans@usav.org

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 19, 2009) – The U.S. Men’s A2 National Volleyball Team advanced to the finals of the Pan American Cup with a 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-14) victory in 64 minutes over Dominican Republic on Friday in Chiapas, Mexico.

The United States will play Canada in the gold medal match on Saturday at 6 p.m. PDT. Canada defeated Puerto Rico in Friday’s other semifinal, 3-1 (25-18, 24-26, 25-21, 27-25).

Robert Tarr (Cape Canaveral, Fla.) led the U.S. Men in scoring with 15 points on 14 kills and one block. He converted 61 percent of his attacks into points.

Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) added 14 points on 10 kills, three blocks and one ace. Holt converted 67 percent of his kill attempts into points. Dean Bittner (Lakewood, Calif.) scored 13 points on 10 kills and three blocks.

Nate Meerstein (La Porte City, Iowa) scored six points on three kills and three blocks. Tyler Hildebrand (Mesa, Ariz.) had five points on one kill and four blocks. Eric Vance (Camarillo, Calif.) scored five points on four kills and one block and Nils Nielsen (Fallbrook, Calif.) scored one points on one kill.

Jose Caceres led the Dominican Republic with 11 points.

Libero Isaac Kneubuhl (Pukalani, Hawai’i) was credited with 16 receptions, 94 percent positive and 94 percent excellent. Tarr had 22 receptions, 59 percent positive and 55 percent excellent.

The United States out-blocked the Dominicans 15-6 and converted 56 percent of its kill attempts while the Dominican converted 32 percent.

U.S. Head Coach Rick McLaughlin started Tarr and Vance at outside hitter, Meerstein and Holt at middle blocker, Bittner at opposite, Hildebrand at setter and Kneubuhl at libero. Nielsen replaced Vance in the second set and went on to play the third at outside hitter.

The U.S. Men held an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO) of the first set. The Dominican kept the score close and was within one point of a tie at 11-10. But a Dominican service error and a Tarr kill gave Team USA the 13-10 lead. A kill by Meerstein and block by Vance helped extend the lead to 16-12. The Dominican never got closer than two points after that. The United States led 23-21 when kills by Bittner and Tarr ended the set.

The Dominican came out firing in the second set and took a 3-0 lead on a kill, ace and block. It held an 8-3 advantage at the first TTO. It extended the lead to 16-10 at the second TTO.  With the Dominicans leading 17-12, the United States scored four straight points, including three from Bittner on two blocks and a kill to pull to within one at 17-16. The Dominican extended the lead again to 23-20, but it did not score again.

Two Dominican errors made it 23-22. Meerstein tied the score with a block at 23-23. Another Dominican hitting error gave the United States set point and a Tarr kill gave the Unite States the set win.

The third set was close at the first TTO with the U.S. leading 8-7. With the United Sates leading 10-9, Team USA scored twice on a Dominican error and a Hildebrand block. A Caceres attack made it 12-10; but the U.S. scored three straight points on kills from Holt and Tarr and a block by Hildebrand to gain a 15-10 lead. The Dominican never recovered.

2009 U.S. Pan American Cup Roster

No. Name (Position, Height, Weight, Hometown, College)

1 Eric Vance (OH, 6-4, 195, Camarillo, Calif., Cal State Northridge)
3 Dean Bittner (Opp, 6-7, 187, Lakewood, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 Matt McKinney (OH, 6-9, 225, Santa Ynez, Calif., UCLA)
5 Isaac Kneubuhl (L, 6-1, 190, Pukalani, Hawai'i, Cal State Northridge)
6 Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-5, 196, Mesa, Ariz., Long Beach State)
7 Robert Tarr (OH, 6-6, 200, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)
8 Nate Meerstein (MB, 6-9, 209, La Porte City, Iowa, Penn State)
9 Nils Nielsen (OH, 6-4, 180, Fallbrook, Calif., Cal State Northridge)
10 Brian Thornton (S, 6-3, 187, San Clemente, Calif., UC Irvine)
11 Max Holt (MB, 6-9, 198, Cincinnati, Ohio, Penn State)
14 Austin Zahn (MB, 6-8, 220, Hermosa Beach, Calif., USC)
19 Dustin Watten (L, 6-0, 162, Long Beach, Calif., Long Beach State)

Head Coach: Rick McLaughlin (UC Santa Barbara)
Team Manager: Ken Preston (UC Santa Barbara)
Assistant Coach: Scott Wong (Pepperdine)
Therapist/Trainer: Chris Birch (Penn State)
Team Doctor: Ken Schroeder

Group A Results
June 15: Canada def. Dominican Republic, 15-25, 25-21, 25-20, 25-18
June 16: USA def. Dominican Republic, 31-29, 25-19, 25-20
June 17: USA def. Canada, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-13

Group B Results
June 15: Puerto Rico def. Panama, 25-17, 25-14, 25-22
June 15: Mexico def. Guatemala, 25-16, 25-23, 25-17
June 16: Guatemala def. Panama, 25-22, 25-22, 25-18
June 16: Puerto Rico def. Mexico, 33-31, 25-23, 25-21
June 17: Puerto Rico def. Guatemala, 25-14, 25-17, 25-18
June 17: Mexico def. Panama, 25-13 25-18 26-24

Group A Final Standings
USA 2-0
Canada 1-1
Dominican Republic 0-2

Group B Final Standings
Puerto Rico 3-0
Mexico 2-1
Guatemala 1-2
Panama 0-3

Quarterfinals – June 18
Canada def. Guatemala, 25-14, 25-16, 25-19
Dominican Republic def. Mexico, 25-21, 25-19, 25-23

Classification 5 – June 19
Mexico def. Guatemala, 25-18, 25-19, 17-25, 25-15

Semifinals – June 19
USA def. Dominican Republic, 25-21, 25-23, 25-14
Canada def. Puerto Rico, 25-18, 24-26, 25-21, 27-25

June 20
6-7 Classification
Panama vs. Guatemala

Third place
Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic

USA vs. Canada