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U.S. Men Begin Pan American Games on Monday

Oct. 21, 2011, 6:21 p.m. (ET)

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

To view livestream of Pan American Games volleyball matches, click here.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 21, 2011) – Thanks to a last-minute addition, the U.S. Men’s Pan American Games Volleyball Team will be at full strength when it begins competition on Monday in Guadalajara, Mexico.

At the 11th hour, USA Volleyball received permission from the Pan American Games Organizing Committee to add middle blocker Scott Slaughter (Newport Beach, Calif.) to its roster, which had stood at 11 players after one athlete had to decline his nomination after the deadline had passed.

The U.S. will begin play on Monday (Oct. 24) against Puerto Rico at 11 a.m. PT in its first pool play match. On Tuesday it will face Canada at 4 p.m. PT and it will end pool play on Wednesday against Brazil at 6 p.m. PT.

Most of the other men’s team in the competition are sending a mixture of veteran and younger players. Cuba and Mexico appear to have the most veteran players competing.

U.S. Head Coach John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.), who admitted that it was difficult finding players for the Pan American Games since many have overseas or college commitments, said his team will do its best and not worry too much about the competition.

“I have to think that other teams are in the same situation as us,” Speraw said. “I have no idea what level the other teams are going to be. We’re going to take advantage of every opportunity we have to make this the best team possible. We are going to work really hard and represent USA Volleyball the best we can.”

The U.S. team will be led by U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team member Evan Patak (Pleasanton, Calif.) at opposite.

 It will include four players who will complete their college careers in the spring: outside hitter Tony Ciarelli (Huntington Beach, Calif.) of the University of Southern California, setter Kyle Caldwell (Newport Beach, Calif.) and middle blocker Nick Vogel (El Cajon, Calif.) of UCLA and outside hitter Matt Stork (Topanga, Calif.) of Cal State Northridge.

Other players on the roster are outside hitters Eric Vance (Camarillo, Calif.), Jordan DuFault (Lakewood, Calif.) and Tri Bourne (Honolulu, Hawaii), middle blockers Slaughter, Matt Rawson (Los Angeles) and Cody Loe (Chatsworth, Calif.), libero Kirk Francis (Torrance, Calif.) and setter Kyle Caldwell (Newport Beach, Calif.).

Speraw, the head men’s volleyball coach at UC Irvine, will be assisted by Jeff Nygaard, an assistant at USC, and Charlie Sullivan, head coach at Springfield College.

Since volleyball was introduced into the Pan American Games in 1955, the U.S. Men have claimed gold on four occasions, including back-to-back performances in 1955 and 1959. The third gold medal for the American men came in 1967, the only year that the U.S. Men’s and Women’s team both captured gold medals.

After 20 years, head coach Marv Dunphy brought the U.S. back to the top of the men’s volleyball scene with a gold medal finish in 1987. Dunphy and the Americans carried the momentum from the Pan American Games into the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea, by winning its second consecutive Olympic gold medal.

In the 14 Pan American Games featuring men’s volleyball, the U.S. has played into the final match on eight occasions and has advanced to medal-round matches 11 times.

In 2007, Ron Larsen led the United States to second place at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The U.S. lost to world top-ranked Brazil 25-16, 25-20, 25-22 in the championship match on July 28. The Americans were denied their fifth gold medal at the Pan American Games. However, the U.S. improved upon its previous Pan American Games finish of fourth place in 2003 at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, while using a young group balanced with veterans to win the silver.

U.S. Men’s Pan American Games Team
(Twelve players will be selected to travel to Guadalajara)

No Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2 Tony Ciarelli (OH, 6-6, Huntington Beach, Calif., USC)
3 Evan Patak (Opp, 6-8, Pleasanton, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
5 Eric Vance (OH, 6-4, Camarillo, Calif., Cal State Northridge)
6 Nick Vogel (MB, 6-9, El Cajon, Calif., UCLA)
8 Kyle Caldwell (S, 6-9, Newport Beach, Calif., UCLA)
9 Scott Slaughter (MB, 6-7, Newport Beach, Calif., UCSB)
10 Matt Rawson (MB, 6-7, Los Angeles, Calif., Hawaii)
11 Matt Stork (OH, 6-5, Topanga, Calif., Cal State Northridge)
12 Kirk Francis (L, 5-11, Torrance, Calif., Long Beach State)
14 Cody Loe (MB, 6-8, Chatsworth, Calif., Cal State Northridge)
15 Jordan DuFault (OH, 6-4, Lakewood, Calif., UC Irvine)
16 Tri Bourne (OH, 6-5, Honolulu, Hawai'i, USC, Aloha)

Head Coach: John Speraw (UC Irvine)
Team Manager: Chris Jackson (Phoenix, Ariz.)
Assistant Coach: Jeff Nygaard (USC)
Therapist/Trainer: Charlie Sullivan (Springfield College)
Athletic Trainer: Aimee Miyazawa

Pan American Games Schedule (All times PT)
Group A
Oct. 24 at 1 p.m.: Cuba vs. Argentina
Oct. 24 at 6 p.m.: Venezuela vs. Mexico
Oct. 25 at 1 p.m.: Cuba vs. Venezuela
Oct. 25 at 6 p.m. Argentina vs. Mexico
Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. Argentina vs. Venezuela
Oct. 26 at 4 p.m. Cuba vs. Mexico

Group B
Oct. 24 at 11 a.m.: USA vs. Puerto Rico
Oct. 24 at 4 p.m.: Brazil vs. Canada
Oct. 25 at 11 a.m.: Brazil vs. Puerto Rico
Oct. 25 at 4 p.m.: USA vs. Canada
Oct. 26 at 11 a.m.: Puerto Rico vs. Canada
Oct. 26 at 6 p.m.: Brazil vs. USA

Oct. 27 at 4 p.m.: A 2nd vs. B 3rd
Oct. 27 at 6 p.m.: B 2nd vs. A 3rd

Classification 5-8
Oct. 28 at 10 a.m.: A 4th vs. Quarterfinal loser
Oct. 28 at 5 p.m.: B 4th vs. Quarterfinal loser

Oct. 28 at noon: A winner vs. Quarterfinal winner
Oct. 28 at 3 p.m.: B winner vs. Quarterfinal winner

Oct. 29 at 11 a.m.: Classification 7-8
Oct. 29 at 1 p.m.: Classification 5-6
Oct. 29 at 4 p.m.: Bronze medal match
Oct. 29 at 6 p.m.: Gold medal match

Past U.S. Pan American Games Men’s Volleyball Finishes
1955: Gold
1959: Gold
1963: Silver (Brazil gold)
1967: Gold
1971: Silver (Cuba gold)
1975: Fourth (Cuba gold)
1979: Fourth (Cuba gold)
1983: Fourth (Brazil gold)
1987: Gold
1991: Fifth (Cuba gold
1995: Silver (Argentina gold)
1999: Seventh (Cuba gold)
2003: Fourth (Venezuela gold)
2007: Silver (Brazil gold)