USA defeats Dominican Republic 3-2 to finish fifth at Pan Am Cup
GATINEAU, Canada, July 30, 2017 - The United States took revenge
from a defeat earlier this week to beat the Dominican Republic
3-2 (15-25, 25-22, 20-25, 27-25 and 15-13) in over two hours to
finish fifth at the 12th Men’s Pan American Cup at
Gatineau’s Robert Guertin Arena.
In a rematch from a preliminary round match, won in three sets
by the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean squad took the
initiative from the outset with Pablo Garcia performing well in
the attack and joining Mario Frias in the block to lead 8-4 and
16-10 after the two technical timeouts. They went on to take the
opening set easily 25-16.
The United States bounced back in the second set. The tallest
team of the tournament showed their higher block to held off the
Caribbean squad to win 25-22 and even the match at one set each.
Both teams exchanged points early in the third set, with the USA
taking a narrow lead 8-7 at the first technical timeout. The
North American took advantage of their rivals’ hitting and
reception mistakes to increase the lead by three points (14-11),
but opposite Pablo Garcia kept the Dominican Republic in
contention with two consecutive aces to tie the set at 14.
After trailing 14-16 at the second technical timeout, Elvis
Contreras was unstoppable in the attack and added an ace
Caribbean team scored five consecutive points to lead 19-16.
That gap proved to be decisive as Mario Frias hit the ball from
the middle of the net to secure the win 25-20.
The USA regrouped and showed a better game in the fourth set,
leading 8-7 and 16-14 at the technical timeouts. Pablo Garcia
displayed a strong attack from the angles to tie the set at 21
and scored an ace to tie it again at 23. But the American kept
their composure and after two set points, managed to win 27-25.
In the tie-break, Elvis Contreras scored an ace and 2.10m tall
middle blocker Jose Caceres followed with two hard spikes to put
the Caribbean squad 8-6 in front. Brenden Sander and Kyle
Ensing responded from the USA to even the set at 10 points. Both
teams exchanged points, but David Wieczorek’s attack and the duo
of Jeffrey Jendryk II and captain Jonah Seif closed the match
with a block.
Kyle Ensing led the USA output with 18 points, followed by David
Wieczorek (17), Jeffrey Jendryk II (15). Elvis Contreras was the
top scorer for the Caribbean side with 23 points, including
seven aces. Jose Caceres scored 11.
Jonah Seif, captain of the US team: “We’re pleased to get a win
in the last game of the tournament; a great way to end. We
didn’t play perfect but we had a lot of resolve and were able to
fight back. Our goal was just to compete in every game as hard
as we can. We just love playing on Team USA and representing our
country. We didn’t always play as well as we needed to, but it
was great to come away with a win today.”
Robert Neilson, head coach of the US team: “Very exciting match;
hats off to the Dominican Republic – those guys have been
playing hard all week. This time our guys came out and competed
really hard. Our expectation was to come here and compete; and
I think our guys learned a lot about what it takes to compete at
this level. We would have liked to place a little bit better,
but there were some good lessons learned for our guys.”
Elvis Contreras, wing spiker of the Dominican Republic: "The
match was long. We did our best but made childish mistakes and
the victory eluded us. You could see the players were tired in
our faces. Six consecutive matches took their toll at the end,
on top on the intense preparation we had. But the USA fought and
deserved the win”.
Orlando Samuel, head coach of the Dominican Republic: "This was
a long a hard week. We played tough matches. We lacked
competitive preparation and our nerves failed in those crucial
moments. We could not close the sets because we are not used to
that pressure. But the team fought and I am satisfied with how
most players performed. They put a lot of sacrifice and played
better than expected. I have a positive balance from this event.
We need a middle blocker and another setter for the World