A career night from UC Irvine opposite ZacK La Cavera has put the United States into the championship match of an international tournament.
La Cavera led all players with a tournament-high 20 kills as the United States swept Puerto Rico 28-26, 25-22, 26-24 in the semifinals of the IX Men’s Pan American Cup on Friday in Mexico.
This was the third consecutive match in the tournament that La Cavera, one of four current college players on the U.S. roster, finished with double digit kills. In addition, La Cavera entering his senior season at UC Irvine has never had 20 or more kills in a college match.
La Cavera was one of two U.S. players to have double-digit kills in the semifinal win. Former Long Beach State All-American outside attacker Taylor Crabb had 11 kills, while former Springfield outside attacker Andrew Nally had six kills.
Along with his offensive performance, La Cavera added a match-high three blocks and two aces in the victory against Puerto Rico.
Hawai’i All-American middle attacker Taylor Averill also had three blocks as the United States out-blocked Puerto Rico 9 to 6.
Puerto Rico and former Pepperdine opposite Maurice Torres in the loss finished with a team-high 12 kills.
With this victory, the United States will advance to play Cuba in the Pan American Cup championship match on Saturday. Cuba in its semifinal match against Argentina almost blew a two-game lead before winning in a decisive fifth game.
Both the United States and Cuba also enter the championship match undefeated in the tournament.