Silver Lining for US Men at Champions Cup

By B.J. Hoeptner Evans (bj.evans@usav.org) | Aug. 24, 2019, 11:30 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Men's National Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Aug. 24, 2019 – A young U.S. men’s team that came together 10 days ago took silver medals from the NORCECA Champions Cup on Saturday after falling to Canada in its final match, 28-26, 25-20, 27-29, 26-24 at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.

Canada (1-2) took bronze and Cuba won the gold with a 3-0 record.

Outside hitter Cody Kessel, playing in his hometown of Colorado Springs, was named Best Spiker. Patrick Gasman was named Second-Best Blocker.

The U.S. team battled Canada, but had trouble closing out set victories.

“Canada played pretty well, pretty clean,” U.S. coach Matt Werle said. “They mixed a ton of shots and kept the ball in play and made us earn points, and that’s something we weren’t doing early. In sets three and four, we started to do a better job of that. From the service line tonight, I don’t think we put enough pressure on them.”

Werle’s starting seven were all players who did not start in the first two U.S. matches.

Outside hitter Greg Petty led the U.S. Men with 11 points on nine kills, one block and one ace. Opposite Michael Wexter, who started the third and fourth sets, added 10 points on nine kills and one block. Starting opposite Ryan Moss totaled nine points on seven kills, one block and one ace.

Gasman and Kessel each had eight points. Middle blocker Blake Leeson scored seven points. Outside hitter Corey Chavers and middle blocker Matt August each scored two points. Setter Garrett Zolg had one point.

Four of Canada’s players scored in double figures led by Blake Scheerhoorn with a match-high 21 points on a match-high 19 attacks and a match-best two aces. Eric Loeppky added 18 points on 13 kills, a match-high four blocks and one ace.

Canada led in kills (64-49) and blocks (7-5). The teams tied in aces (4-4). The United States scored 41 points on Canada’s errors while committing 31.

We’re not so happy with the outcome, but we’re pretty happy with the process we put in this week,” Kessel said. “Canada executed at the right times. Their opposite Blake Scheerhoorn had a pretty solid match. We had a good scouting report going in but weren’t able to execute the way we needed to.

U.S. STARTERS VS CANADA
Outside hitters: Corey Chavers and Greg Petty
Middle blockers: Blake Leeson and Matt August
Opposite: Ryan Moss
Setter: Matt Yoshimoto
Libero: J.T. Hatch
Substitutes: Cody Kessel (OH), David Wieczorek (OH), Michael Wester (Opp), Garrett Zolg (Opp), Pat Gasman (MB)

U.S. Men’s Roster for the NORCECA Champions Cup
1 Josh Ayzenberg (L, 5-8, Long Beach, N.Y., Sacred Heart)
2 J.T. Hatch (L, 6-1, Mesa Ariz., UCLA)
3 Garrett Zolg (S, 6-3, Huntington Beach, Calif., Loyola Chicago)
4 Corey Chavers (OH, 6-4, Downey, Calif., UC Santa Barbara)
5C Cody Kessel (OH, 6-5, Colorado Springs, Colo., Princeton)
6 Matt Yoshimoto (S, 6-5, Ventura, Calif., Lewis)
7 Nick Amado (MB, 6-6, Aliso Niguel, Calif., Long Beach State)
8 Greg Petty (OH, 6-6, Downers Grove, Ill., Lewis)
9 Michael Wexter (Opp, 6-6, New Lenox, Ill., Pepperdine)
10 Blake Leeson (MB, 6-8, Mequon, Wis., Ohio State)
11 Ryan Moss (Opp, 6-8, Corona Del Mar, Calif., USC)
12 David Wieczorek (OH, 6-8, Chicago, Ill., Pepperdine)
13 Matthew August (MB, 6-7, San Clemente, Calif., Irvine Valley College)
14 Patrick Gasman (MB, 6-10, Clovis, Calif., Hawaii)

Head coach: Matt Werle
Assistant coach: Spencer McLachlin
Physiotherapist: Melanie Luck
Team manager: Kimmie Beach
Statistician: Michael Gee

Champions Cup Schedule (All times MDT)
All matches in SportsCenter 1 at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center

Aug. 22
1p Men: Cuba vs Canada
3p Women: Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic
5p Women: Canada vs USA
7p Men: Puerto Rico vs USA

Aug. 23
1p Men: Canada vs Puerto Rico
3p Women: Canada vs Dominican Republic
5p Women: Puerto Rico vs USA
7p Cuba vs USA

Aug. 24
1p Men: Puerto Rico vs Cuba
3p Women: Canada vs Puerto Rico
5p Women: Dominican Republic vs USA
7p Canada vs USA