CAGUAS, Puerto Rico, January 5.- The United States received the perfect work out as coach Doug Beal used all his players in a comfortable straight sets (28-26, 25-14, 25-18) victory over Mexico in the NORCECA Men's Olympic Qualifying tournament in Puerto Rico on Monday.
Clayton Stanley and Riley Salmon contributed 10 points apiece as the Americans registered their first win over the tournament courtesy of some excellent blocking. Captain Lloy Ball and Ryan Miller made four and three blocks respectively in a grand team total of 14 for the match.
The Mexicans offered strong resistance in the first set, but the remainder of the game was an easy workout for the tournament favourites who are coming off a fourth place finish at the 2003 World Cup.
In the first set, the Mexicans established an aggressive game and with an effective reception they created different offensive options led by Jose Luis Martell. With the set tied at 24 apiece, Beal called for a time out and the Americans made the necessary adjustments to take the set with a couple of blocks.
The rest of the match was easy for the USA and served as a good rehearse for the match against Cuba on Tuesday, an expected classic in the NORCECA region.
"They (Mexicans) came out very animated and are a great team," said Beal. "But I think that the big battle against Puerto Rico yesterday caught up with them after the first set".
"I feel some kind of disappointment because we played a great first set," said Ivan Contreras, the Mexico captain. "After that everything went down hill and I hope we can come back tomorrow against Canada".