Culiacán, Mexico, Sept. 26 - The USA team added its second triumph by defeating a young team from Guatemala in straight sets (25-15, 25-21 and 25-13) in the penultimate day of the preliminary round of the NORCECA Men's Volleyball Championship here in Mexico.
They are just one match away from victory in Group B but still have to meet Mexico, who beat Panama 3-0 (25-15, 25-18 and 25-16) on Friday.
Both teams have yet to concede a set in the tournament. USA's Ryan Millar scored 15 points, while his compatriot David Mckenzie also stood out in attack and service in a match that saw coach Doug Beal rotate his players to give them all a run.
Canada gained their first victory by defeating Puerto Rico in three sets 37-35, 25-18 and 25-19. The Canadians who had a bye on the opening day showed greater consistency than the Puerto Ricans who nevertheless put up a heroic battle in the opening set. The two side shave face each other seven times in the last three months.
Canada benefited from having more international experience with players of recognized quality like Terence Martin, who was the best scorer with 17 points, while Oswarld Antonetti excelled for the Caribbean island tea. Others that stood out in the attack and the service were Ross Ballard and Douglas Bruce in the block and service.
As their coach conceded, Puerto Rico has still not found the winning formula and must win their next encounter to have a chance to make the semifinals. Stelio Derocco, coach of the Canadian lineup commented: 'We have much respect for the Puerto Rican side. They have very competitive players and we got a taste of that in the first set."
Carlos Guerra was a pillar in attacking and serving for Mexico in their encounter against Panama. He scored 15 points for his team that generally demonstrated technical superiority and competitive experience.
Marco Heredia, technical director of Mexico said: "We have not seen the Panamanians for many years but we analyzed them during their match against the United States and could see that it would not be an easy match. We knew that we would have to give the maximum so as not to complicate the game."
In the third day of the preliminary round on Saturday Cuba plays Canada, USA mets Mexico while Guatemala and Panama will both be looking for their first victory.
The top two teams from the tournament qualify for the World Cup in Japan in November.
Report by Lissette Ricardo
Collated as points- played - wins- losses -points- sets for - sets against
Canada: 1-1-0- 2-3-0
Cuba : 1-1-0-2-3-1
Puerto Rico: 2-0-2-2-1-6