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U.S. Men to Play Canada for Pan Am Cup Gold Medal

June 07, 2008, 2:16 a.m. (ET)

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

ANAHEIM, Calif. (June 6, 2008) - A young U.S. Men's National Team will play Canada for the Pan American Cup gold medal on Saturday after defeating the Dominican Republic, 3-1 (25-22, 32-30, 22-25, 25-23) in the semifinals on Friday in Winnipeg, Canada.

With the victory, the U.S. Men improved their record to 3-0 in the tournament. Canada (4-0) defeated Mexico, 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-12, 25-18) in Friday's other semifinal.

The United States' Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) led all scorers with 26 points on a match-high 22 kills, two blocks and two aces. Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) added 18 points on 13 kills, four blocks and one ace. Nate Meerstein (La Porte City, Iowa) scored 12 points on nine kills, two blocks and one ace. Andrew Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) contributed 11 points on six kills and five blocks.

Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) had six points on six kills. Robert Tarr added five points on four kills and one block. Jonathan Winder (Irvine, Calif.) tallied two points on one ace and one block and Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) and Tyler Hildebrand (Mesa, Ariz.) each scored one point.

Elvis Contreras led Dominican Republic with 22 points on 18 kills, two blocks and two aces.

Libero Alfee Reft (Oxnard, Calif.) was credited with 25 service returns - 36 percent "excellent" - and two errors.

The U.S. Men struggled some with serve receive, getting just 37 percent "excellent," including 24 percent in the first set. However, Team USA converted 65 percent of their kill attempts into points in the first set and 50 percent overall as opposed to 44 percent overall for the Dominican.

U.S. Head Coach Alan Knipe started Anderson and Jablonsky at outside hitter, Meerstein and Hein at middle blocker, Patak at opposite, Hildebrand at setter and Reft at libero.

Lotman started the second and third sets at outside hitter in place of Anderson. Tarr, Matt Proper (Meadville, Pa.) and Winder played as substitutes.

The U.S. Men got off to a fast start in the first set, taking an 8-3 lead into the first technical timeout and building that to a 16-8 lead at the second. With the United States leading 21-13, the Dominican scored three straight points, causing Knipe to call a timeout. Team USA got the serve back on a Dominican service error.

The U.S. Men reached set point at 24-19, but again allowed the Dominicans to score three straight points, including two on aces, before they could score the knockout blow and win the set, 25-22.

The second set was much closer with the U.S. Men trailing 6-8 at the first technical timeout and leading 16-15 at the second.

The Dominican Republic reached set point first at 24-23, but the United States fought it off and took set point on a Patak attack. The Dominicans held off set point three more times and the U.S. Men twice. With the scored tied at 30-30, a Patak quick attack gave the United States' the lead and Meerstein's quick attack secured the victory.

The third set was also close with the Dominicans leading 8-7 at the first technical timeout and 16-15 at the second. Team USA eventually took a 21-19 lead, but the Dominican Republic scored the next five points to reach set point. A Patak kill held off the loss, but the Dominicans used a kill to take the 25-22 win.

The Dominican Republic held on to the momentum and took a 6-1 lead in the fourth set before Meerstein cooled it off with a kill and an ace.

With the U.S. Men trailing 9-11, they reeled off three straight points on kills from Patak and Jablonsky and a block by Meerstein to take their first lead at 12-9. The Dominicans tied it, but the United States scored three more straight points on a kill and block from Jablonsky and a block by Hein to lead 15-12.

The U.S. Men never surrendered the lead and reached set point first at 24-21. The Dominicans scored two points before a Tarr kill gave the United States the victory.

The event Web site is www.volleyball.ca/index.asp?page=295.

U.S. Men's National Team for the Pan American Cup
1 Matt Anderson (OH, 6-10, West Seneca, N.Y., Penn State)
4 Evan Patak (Opp., 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
5 Robert Tarr (OH, 6-6, Cape Canaveral, Fla., Long Beach State)
6 Matt Proper (Opp., 6-7, Meadville, Pa., Penn State)
7 Nate Meerstein (MB, 6-9, La Porte City, Iowa, Penn State)
8 Jayson Jablonsky (OH, 6-5, Yorba Linda, Calif., UC Irvine)
9 Jonathan Winder (S, 6-8, Irvine, Calif., Pepperdine)
11 Tyler Hildebrand (S, 6-5, Mesa, Ariz., Long Beach State)
12 Andrew Hein (MB, 6-11, Carol Stream, Ill., Pepperdine)
13 Nick Scheftic (MB, 6-11, Santa Barbara, Calif., UCLA)
15 Paul Lotman (OH, 6-7, Lakewood, Calif. , Long Beach State)
19 Alfee Reft (L, 5-10, Oxnard, Calif., Hawai'i)
Head coach: Alan Knipe
Assistant coach: John Hawks
Team Manager: Bill Neville
Therapist/Trainer: Jeffrey O'Brien
Medical Support: Aimee Miyazawa
Results and Schedule (All times PDT)

Canada 3-0
Dominican Republic 2-1
Puerto Rico 1-2
Trinidad & Tobago 0-3

USA 2-0
Mexico 1-1
Costa Rica 0-2

June 2
Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico, 3-1 (25 20, 25-19, 22-25, 25- 21)
Canada def. Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-13)
USA def. Costa Rica, 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-17)

June 3
Canada def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-14, 25-15, 25-13)
Dominican Republic def.  Trinidad & Tobago, 3-0 (25-17, 25-22, 27-25)
USA vs. Mexico, 3-0 (25-20, 25-11, 25-16)

June 4
Puerto Rico def. Trinidad & Tobago, 3-2 (20-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14, 15-13)
Mexico def. Costa Rica, 3-0 (25-19, 29-27, 25-22)
Canada vs. Dominican Republic, 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-22)

June 5
Mexico def. Puerto Rico, 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-19)
Dominican Republic def. Costa Rica, 3-0 (25-21, 28-26, 25-15)

June 6
Fifth-place: Costa Rica def. Puerto Rico, 3-1 (25-23, 25-22, 25-20, 25-23)
Semifinal: USA def. Dominican Republic, 3-1 (25-22, 32-30, 25-22, 25-23)
Semifinal: Canada def. Mexico, 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-12, 25-18)

June 7
Sixth-place: Trinidad & Tobago vs. Puerto Rico, 9 a.m.
Third-place: Dominican Republic vs. Mexico, noon
Gold Medal: USA vs. Canada, 2 p.m.