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United States’ Win Sets up Showdown with Canada


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, September 29, 2017 – The United States will be focused on a showdown with Canada after beating Costa Rica 25-11, 25-7, 25-8 on Friday in the quarterfinals of the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.


The U.S. Men (3-0) advance to Saturday’s semifinal where they will face Canada (2-0). Canada has defeated the United States the last two times they have played.


Costa Rica (2-2) will play for fifth-eighth on Saturday in hopes of making it to the second qualifying tournament.


The United States put on a show for the large and enthusiastic crowd, leading Costa Rica in spikes (39-7), blocks (9-1) and aces (10-0). Costa Rica scored 18 points on U.S. errors.


U.S. outside hitter Aaron Russell led all scorers with 12 points on eight spikes and a match-high four blocks. Opposite Ben Patch had 11 points, including a match-high 10 attacks. Setter Kawika Shoji, outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke and middle blocker Mitch Stahl each had three aces.


Outside hitter Alberto Blanco led Costa Rica with six points on five spikes and one block.


U.S. Head Coach John Speraw: “We’ve talked a lot about honor this week and how we represent, especially playing on our home court. We need to make sure we go out and play with total effort and 100 percent focus on how we’re going to compete. We took care of our side of the net.”


U.S. Middle Blocker Mitch Stahl: “Whenever you wear these colors on your chest, this flag, it’s not difficult to get up for any match. It’s pretty cool. It’s a great experience, a great opportunity and a great honor to play for your country and represent our nation.”


Costa Rica Head Coach Juan Acuna: "The U.S. is very strong. It was a challenge for us. Sometimes we were better at receiving, but the U.S. attack was really good. Our goal is to pass to the Worlds. We've played very hard. This tournament has given us a little bit of experience to play with such teams as Mexico. We hope to get the fifth place and play in the second qualifier."


Costa Rica Team Captain Alberto Blanco: "We knew that they were a very strong team. We managed to improve our receiving and we're really happy with how we played, regardless of the score. It is really difficult to receive from the tall players because the ball goes faster and more inclined."