2017 Pan American Cup – Men
Dominican Republic def. United States 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-19)
Cuba def. Mexico 3-0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-15)
Cuba sewed up a spot in the semifinals after picking up its second straight win at the Pan Am Cup, downing Mexico on Wednesday. The Dominican Republic is tied with the United States at 1-1 after downing the Americans in a sweep.
The Dominicans take on Mexico on Wednesday, while the Americans face the defending champions from Cuba to determine quarterfinal seedings. The second and third place teams in each pool advance to the quarterfinals, while the top side earns a pass directly to the semifinals.
Dominican Republic 3, USA 0
The Dominican Republic dominated the USA in all phases of the game, buoyed by four double-digit point performances.
With 20 more kills (41-21), seven more aces (7-0) and one more block (5-4), the Dominicans put the game out of reach.
“Today we played better,” Dominican Republic coach Orlando Samuel Blackwood said. “We had good serving, passing, hitting and defense. This team has not played a lot together, this is only their second match. Now we are focused on Mexico; we have to win that match.”
Elvis Contrera (13), Wilfrido Hernandez (13), Pedro Garcia (11) and Jose Caceres (11) combined for 48 of the team’s 75 points. Twenty two American miscues also aided the effort. Contrera put down 12 kills, while Garcia added 10 and Caceres chipped in nine. Hernandez notched seven kills as well as team-bests in blocks and aces with three apiece.
Jake Langlois led the Americans with seven points, including six kills and a block. Three players – Mitchell Stahl, Jeff Jendryk II and Arvis Greene Jr. – added four points apiece. Stahl put up a team-best two blocks.
“I think the Dominicans were the aggressors today and we kind of played hesitant,” USA captain Jonah Seif said. “We just weren’t executing the game plan we talked about before the match. I think we need to re-set and just focus on Cuba. If we dwell on this game, it will just hold us back. If we can just be more aggressive in serving and attacking and our setting today wasn’t that good, and our passers hung in there; but we’re a strong team when we play well.”
Cuba 3, Mexico 0
Twelve aces and 11 blocks went a long way toward lifting Cuba to a quick one hour and 10 minute sweep of Mexico on Wednesday.
The Cubans moved to 2-0 in Pool A by topping the Mexicans in every statistical category: kills (30-28), blocks (11-1) and aces (12-2), while also benefitting from five more opponent errors (22-17).
“The first days are always difficult in any tournament and our players regain their rhythm as the event progresses,” Cuban coach Nicolas Vives said. “Our men played much better and are improving in every game. This is a new generation, a promising one and we are working hard to put Cuba’s volleyball back on track.”
Miguel David Gutierrez paced the victors with 15 points, while Miguel Angel Lopez chipped in 14. Gutierrez managed a match-high 10 kills, three blocks and two aces. Lopez added eight kills, while serving up a team-leading five aces.
Nestor Orellana led Mexico with seven points, including six kills and a block. Ridl Garay and Julian Duarte chipped in five points apiece, all on kills.
“This is a team traditionally very strong in their serve and blocking,” Mexican coach Jorge Azair said. “They dominated us with their serve and we got desperate. We need to find our composure and prepare for the most important game tomorrow.”