U.S. overcomes Cuba comeback attempt to reach Pan American Cup gold-medal match

Photo courtesy of the FIVB and NORCECA

UCLA setter Andrew Rowan served the United State straight into gold-medal match of the U21 Pan American Cup

Rowan led all players with a tournament-high seven aces as the United States defeated the host-nation Cuba 25-21, 25-14, 20-25, 24-26, 15-12 in the semifinals on Friday.

The freshman had three consecutive aces as part of a 9-1 run in the second game and then closed out that game with an ace. Rowan also delivered an ace midway through the decisive fifth game to extend the U.S. lead to three points.


Rowan guided the offense to .296 to .248 en route to reaching the gold-medal match. In addition, the United States had all three of its starting pin-hitters finish with double-digit kills.

UCLA outside attacker Zach Rama had a team-high 15 kills on a .346 attack percentage. Both Ohio State opposite Shane Wetzel and USC outside attacker Noah Roberts contributed 10 kills.

The United States had 15 blocks – seven more blocks than Cuba. Middle attacker Marc Smith ended with a match-high six blocks, while Princeton middle attacker Nyerovwome Omene added five blocks.

The United States with this victory will advance to play Mexico in the gold-medal match on Saturday.

Mexico defeated Canada in five games in their semifinals match on Friday.