A match that featured two overtimes and took almost three hours to complete has now pushed the United States closer towards the brink of elimination from the Pan American Games.
The U.S. Men’s Volleyball Pan American Games Team lost to Canada 21-25, 25-23, 37-39, 35-33, 15-12 on Tuesday in Guadalajara, Mexico and failed to clinch a spot in the quarterfinals entering the final day of group play.
With this loss, the United States (1-1, 1-1 Group B, 5 points) remains in second place in Group B and is still likely to clinch a quarterfinals berth. However, it will have to defeat first-place Brazil in its group-play finale or get some help to be assured a spot in the quarterfinals.
USC All-American outside attacker Tony Ciarelli led the United States with 24 kills in the loss.
Ciarelli, one of four current college players on the U.S. roster, was the only United States’ player with more than 15 kills. Outside attacker and U.S. Men’s National Team member Evan Patak had 14 kills after having a match-high 18 kills in the U.S. opening victory against Puerto Rico, while outside attacker Evan Vance added 12 kills.
Canada outside attacker Spencer Leiske had a match-high 32 kills in the victory.
This was the second consecutive match Leiske had a team-high in kills. Leiske had nine kills in Canada’s three-game loss to Brazil in its group-play opener Monday.
The United States led Canada 11-10 in the fifth set before the Canadians (1-1, 1-1, 3 points) closed out the match on a 5-1 run to pick up their first victory at the international tournament.
This match also featured the United States’ first overtime game at the Pan American Games.
The United States in the third game defeated Canada 39-37 — the longest game of the 2011 Pan American Games tournament — to take a 2-1 lead in the match. However, Canada won the overtime session in the fourth game to force a decisive fifth game.
The United States also squandered 11 match-points in the fourth set loss.
Both teams entered the third game after splitting the first two games.
The United States trailed by as many as seven points in the second game before going a 8-2 run to cut the Canadian lead to 20-19. After a timeout, though, Canada scored three of the next four points and went on to win the game.
Ciarelli and Vance each had a team-high three kills to help the United States win the first game. Canada also committed nine errors in the opening-game loss.
With Canada defeating the United States, Brazil (2-0, 2-0 Group B, 10 points) will win the Group B title and receive a bye into the semifinals unless it loses to the United States in three games.
The United States remains in second place and leads third-place Canada by two points and fourth-place Puerto Rico (0-2, 0-2 Group B, 2 points) by three points in the Group B standings.
The second and third-place teams in each of the two groups will advance to the quarterfinals, while the last-place team will be eliminated from the tournament.
The United States can reach the quarterfinals if it defeats Brazil. It also can be assured a berth if Canada or Puerto Rico win their group-play finale against each other in less than five games.
The United States-Brazil match will be nationally televised on ESPN2.