U.S. falls to Cuba in Pan Am Cup championship

The U.S. goal winning a gold medal at the IX Men’s Pan American Cup will come up one match short.

In a championship match-up between the only two undefeated teams at the international tournament, Cuba swept the United States 25-16, 25-23, 25-23 to win the Pan Am Cup gold medal on Saturday in Mexico.


Cuba opposite Rolando Cepeda Abreu finished with a match-high 20 kills. In addition, the Cuban captain was the only player to have double-digit kills in the sweep.

Hawai’i All-American middle attacker Tyler Averill in the loss led the United States with a tournament-high eight kills. Averill was one of four current college men’s volleyball players on the U.S. roster.

Along with Averill, former Long Beach State outside attacker Taylor Crabb had eight kills and UC Irvine opposite Zack La Cavera added seven kills.

This was the first match of the tournament that an opposing team held La Cavera to less than double-digit kills. La Cavera also had a match-high 20 kills in the United States’ semifinal victory against Puerto Rico.

With the victory, Cuba clinches the nation’s first Pan American Cup championship.

The United States has won the Pan American Cup a record five times. This is also the United States’ second silver medal finish in the nine-year history of the event.