U.S. edges Canada in five games to earn top seed for Pan Am Cup semifinals

Photo courtesy of the FIVB and NORCECA

Grant Sloane came through in the biggest moments to secure the United States earning the No. 1 overall seed for the Pan American Cup semifinals.

The UCLA outside attacker had three kills late in the fifth game to help the United States overcome a two-point deficit and beat Canada 21-25, 25-18, 31-29, 18-25, 15-13 on Tuesday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The United States (4-1, 20 points) entered this group-play finale having already clinched a semifinal berth but in second place behind undefeated Canada. The win clinches the group-play championship for the United States and it will now play the No. 4 seed Mexico in the semifinals on Wednesday.

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Sloane had a team-high 14 kills and was one of two U.S. players with double-digit kills against Canada (4-1, 19 points). UC Irvine outside attacker Cole Gillis also contributed 13 kills on a .313 attack percentage.

UCLA middle attacker Merrick McHenry led the United States with five blocks and added six kills.

Despite the loss, Canada out-hit the United States.299 to. 208. Outside attacker Jesse Elser finished with 20 kills on a .545 attack percentage, while outside attacker Broodie Hofer led all players with 21 kills.

Canada committed 31 service errors — 15 more service errors than the United States.

Canada with this loss will be the No. 2 seed for the semifinals and play the host-nation Dominican Republic on Wednesday. This will be the second meeting between the two teams in three days after Canada beat the Dominican Republic in four games on Monday.

The United States swept Mexico in its group-play opener with Long Beach State middle attacker Shane Holdaway having a match-high nine kills on a .615 attack percentage in the victory.