The comeback attempt came up just short for the United States.
The United States rallied from a two-game deficit and led 6-4 in the fifth game before losing to Cuba 25-20, 28-26, 20-25, 23-25, 15-11 at the NORCECA Pan American Cup Final Six on Tuesday in Mexico.
Cuba was trailing midway through the decisive game when opposite Jaime Jesus Herrera had two kills and a block on three consecutive plays to jumpstart a 7-2 run. Outside attacker Miguel Angel Lopez also had an ace and a kill during that fifth-game run to help secure the win and keep the United States winless in the international tournament.
Both Herrera and Lopez had a match-high 18 kills against the United States. In addition, Cuba out-hit the United States .358 to .326 to help it remain undefeated in round-robin play.
UC Irvine opposite Francesco Sani in the loss led the United States with 15 kills and was one of three U.S. players with at least eight kills. Former UC San Diego outside attacker Kyle McCauley had 11 kills on a .471 attack percentage, while Princeton middle attacker Nyerovwome Omene contributed eight kills and zero errors on a .727 attack percentage.
The United States out-blocked 14 to 8 with Omene, McCauley, Austin Wilmot and Brett Wildman each having a team-high three blocks.
Long Beach State libero Mason Briggs defensively led the United States 14 digs. Briggs also had 19 excellent serve receptions and a team-best 75 percent excellent reception rate.
This round-robin match featured more than 50 combined service errors. Cuba had 34 service errors – 10 more errors than the United States.
The United States now has at least 20 service errors in both matches to open the tournament.
The United States will continue round-robin play against Puerto Rico on Wednesday. Puerto Rico defeated the Dominican Republic in five games on Tuesday for its second straight win to open the tournament.