2017 Pan American Cup – Men
Canada def. Dominican Republic 3-1 (25-20, 16-25, 25-21, 25-23)
Puerto Rico def. United States 3-1 (25-21, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14)
Canada earned its spot in the Pan Am Cup semifinals with a four-set win over the Dominican Republic, while Puerto Rico grabbed the last spot in the final four. Cuba and Argentina earned free passes to the semis by winning their preliminary round pools.
Canada will face defending champions Cuba in Saturday’s semifinal. The victor will take on the winner of the Argentina/Puerto Rico match for the title on Sunday.
Canada finished third in 2016, while Puerto Rico last finished on the podium in 2010, when it took bronze.
Meanwhile the Dominican Republic and United States drop into the fifth through eighth place portion of the bracket.
Canada 3, Dominican Republic 1
Canada used 13 blocks to overcome other shortcomings in a four-set win over the Dominican Republic to move on to the
The Canadians outblocked the DR 13-5 and won the battle at the service line 6-4, while the Dominicans edged the victors 46-45 in kills and by seven points in opponent miscues (34-27).
“We came out really good in the first set,” Canadian captain Max Burt said. “We put a lot of service pressure on them, but we let them back in the second. They get a lot of confidence when you start giving them free points like that – they’re scrappy and they have got a lot of physicality. But, we were able to settle it down in the third set and take control of the match again, which is really nice.”
Casey Schouten paced Canada with 16 points, including 14 kills, a block and an ace. Ryan Sclater added 15 points, with 13 kills, while Brandon Koppers also managed double digits with four kills, a team-leading six blocks and an ace. Byron Keturakis led the way from the service line with three aces.
Elvis Contrera and Jose Caceres chipped in 15 points apiece to lead the Dominican effort. Contrera scored his points all on kills, while Caceres notched 11 kills, a team-best three blocks and an ace. Captain Wilfrido Hernandez and Pedro Garcia added nine points each.
“Our men have played a good tournament,” Dominican Republic coach Orlando Samuel said. “We have lost two games, but they have been close. We had ups and downs. We have been training for two months and did not play a tune-up match. We have had to make some changes. Our men fight until the end, but we have our limitations. Despite our limited resources, our men have shown a lot of dedication and I am proud of this team.”
Puerto Rico 3, United States 1
Puerto Rico racked up eight aces and took advantage of 32 American miscues in a four-set win, which catapulted the side into the semifinals.
“We weren’t good enough in serve and receive and we weren’t good out of system,” USA coach Robert Neilson said. “Puerto Rico did a nice job taking advantage of that. I thought we competed hard; we just didn’t execute at a high enough level.”
The Puerto Ricans edged the USA 50-44 in kills, 8-2 in aces and scored four more points on errors (32-28). The Americans did win the battle at the net with an 8-5 lead in blocks.
“We knew it would be a difficult match against a talented team, but our team came out focused and with a well-defined plan,” Puerto Rican coach Ramon Hernandez said. “They played well in every aspect of the game and that is why we achieved this performance. This is only our fourth game this summer and our team is growing, building our game progressively. This is a very important step. We will prepare to play well and have our best possible showing.”
Pablo Guzman, Maurice Torres and Sequiel Sanchez posted double-digit scoring efforts to lead the Puerto Rican charge. Torres scored 18 points, with a match-high 15 kills and team-best three aces. Guzman chipped in 18 points, with 14 kills, two aces and two blocks. Sanchez added 16 points, with 14 kills and two aces. The trio combined for 43 of the team’s 50 kills.
Kyle Ensing led the USA with 16 points, including 14 kills, a block and an ace. Brenden Sander added 13 points, with nine kills and a match-high four blocks. Jeff Jendryk followed with 10 points, including seven kills, two blocks and an ace.