Pepperdine, Penn State greats power Puerto Rico past U.S. in Pan Am quarterfinals

A former All-American ended the U.S. chances of winning a gold medal at the Pan American Cup.

Opposite Maurice Torres had both a match-high 15 kills and three aces as Puerto Rico defeated the United States 25-21, 25-22, 20-25, 25-14 in the Pan American Cup quarterfinals on Friday in Gatineau, Canada.

Torres, who played for Pepperdine from from 2010-13, was one of three Puerto Rican players with double-digit kills in the elimination match. In addition, former Penn State setter Edgardo Goas guided Puerto Rico to a better offensive efficiency than the United States at 52.08 percent to 45.36 percent.

This is the third consecutive tournament loss for the United States and extends its streak to three years without medaling at this annual event.

Long Beach State All-American opposite Kyle Ensing led the United States with a tournament-high 14 kills. BYU All-American outside attacker Brenden Sander also had nine kills, while Loyola All-American middle attacker Jeff Jendryk had seven kills on a .667 attack percentage against Puerto Rico.

Along with his offensive performance, Sander had a match-high four blocks.

Puerto Rico finished the match with eight aces — six more than the United States. In addition, the United States committed more service errors than Puerto Rico at 15 to 14.

With this loss, the United States moves to the consolation bracket and plays Venezuela in the fifth-place semifinals on Saturday.

Puerto Rico will play the defending Pan American Cup champions Cuba in the semifinals on Saturday. Puerto Rico has never won a gold medal at the Pan American Cup and is one win away from assuring its first medal at the tournament since 2010.