DETROIT, USA (May 23, 2015) – Canada won a tough border battle over the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, 25-22, 19-25, 21-25, 25-21, 17-15 in the final match of the NORCECA Champions Cup on Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.
Canada won the round-robin tournament at 3-0 while the United States finished second at 2-1. Both teams qualified for the 2015 FIVB World Cup in Japan, which is the first chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. Cuba placed third with a 3-0 win over Mexico in Saturday’s first match.
Libero Daniel Lewis of Canada was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. He was credited with 15 digs and 21 excellent receptions in the final match.
Several U.S. players earned honors: Micah Christenson (Best Setter and Best Blocker 2), Max Holt (Best Server), Matt Anderson (Best Outside Hitter) and Erik Shoji (Best Receiver).
After fighting back to win the fourth set, Canada held a 12-10 lead in the fifth. The U.S. fought back with a kill from Murphy Troy and an Matt Anderson ace to tie it and the teams battled back and forth. Canada reached match point at 14-13, but its next serve went into the net. The U.S. reached match point at 15-14, but also served into the net. At 15-15, Canada scored on a kill by Frederic Winters and an ace by Graham Vigrass to win the match.
Canada led in kills (64-63) while the U.S. led in blocks (8-3) and aces (12-9). Canada scored 31 points on U.S. errors while it gave up 25.
“We had lots of good opportunities; we just have to get better in a lot in a lot of different ways,” U.S. Head Coach John Speraw said. “We do some pretty impressive things. We are a physical team. We can make some great block moves. We can bang it a bit. We don’t always maintain the level we need to take care of the little things. There are some aspect of the personnel on the floor that we need to work on.”
Canada’s opposite Steven Marshall, playing for usual starter Gavin Schmitt, led his team with 21 points on 18 kills, one block and two aces. Outside hitter Toontje Van Lankvelt added 15 points on 14 kills and one ace.
“I think they were pretty well prepared for us,” U.S. opposite Murphy Troy said. “They kind of threw us a curveball with a couple new guys in the lineup. They were doing a couple things that we were not ready for. They played a lot cleaner and fewer mistakes and good defense especially early on.”
Anderson led all scorers with 24 points on 18 attacks, three blocks and three aces. Troy added 18 points on 18 kills.
Canada got off to a strong start and led 8-4 at the first TTO, scoring on three kills from Winters and an ace by Simac. The U.S. ate away at the lead and tied the score at 16-16. With the score tied 18-18, two straight U.S. errors put Canada ahead 20-18 and the team from the North went on to win.
The U.S. held a narrow 14-13 lead in the second set when Sander scored with a kill off the block and followed it with two straight aces to give the U.S. a 16-13 lead. Canada never recovered.
The U.S. took a 10-6 lead in the third set, but Canada kept up the pressure and tied the score at 18-18. At 20-20, Canada’s serve went out and Christenson followed with an ace. A Troy kill and Canada error gave the U.S. set point. Graham Vigrass connected on an overpass, but David Lee ended things with a block for the U.S.
The fourth-set score was tied 8-8 when Canada scored with an ace from Winters and took the lead. Canada led by as many as four at 19-15 before the U.S. tied it at 20-20. Marshall responded with a kill and followed with an ace. The U.S. called timeout, but came out with an attack error. Canada went on to win the set and force the tie-breaker.
SATURDAY'S STARTING LINEUP
Outside hitter: Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Middle blocker: Max Holt (Cincinnati) and David Lee (Alpine, Calif.)
Opposite: Murphy Troy (St. Louis)
Setter: Micah Christenson (Honolulu)
Libero: Erik Shoji (Honolulu)
Points: Anderson 24, Troy 18, Sander 15, Holt 11, Lee 10, Christenson 4, Jaeschke 1
Kills: Anderson 18, Troy 18, Sander 12
Blocks: Lee 4, Anderson 3, Holt 1
Aces: Anderson 3, Sander 3, Holt 3
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)