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USA edge Dominican Republic in five sets

USA's Joshua Taylor spikes past the Dominican Republic defence at the net
Mexico City, Mexico, August 20, 2013 – Defending champions United States, Brazil and Mexico opened with victories in the first day of the VIII Men’s Pan American Cup at Juan de la Barrera Gymnasium on Monday.

While Brazil and Mexico claimed their victories in straight sets over Puerto Rico and Trinidad & Tobago respectively, the American side had to battle for five sets against a resilient Dominican Republic.

The top ranked team at the end of the event, not already qualified to the FIVB 2014 World League, will be granted a ticket to the qualification round of the world men’s annual event later this year.

“It was a good match for both teams,” U.S. Coach Shawn Patchell said. “We had some trouble in the third and fourth sets when we could not stop (Jose) Caceres, but then pulled out and improved our service. I am happy for this win”.

The high altitude of Mexico City was also a factor considered by both teams.

“We practice normally in California, in Anaheim, and now we had to acclimate here”, USA’s Captain Ryan Ammerman said.

“We are at sea level in Santo Domingo, so we had to adjust and work hard in our next matches,” the Dominican Caceres said.

Brazil 3, Puerto Rico 0
Brazil opened its participation at the VIII Men’s Pan American Cup with a 3-0 victory over Puerto Rico (25-13, 26-24, 25-17). Renan Zanatta Buiatti finished as scoring leader for Brazil with a total of 13 points, while Ulises Maldonado scored 11 for the Puerto Ricans. The Brazilian squad arrived to Mexico City with a group comprised mostly of U23 players and only four veterans.

United States 3, Dominican Republic 2
The United States defeated Dominican Republic 3-2 (26-24, 25-14, 22-25, 21-25, 15-7) in the first match of Pool B. The Americans dominated the first two sets, but the team coached by Osiel Vázquez came back in the third and fourth sets thanks to the work of Elvis Contreras, Wilfrido Hernández and José Miguel Cáceres, who scored 22, 11 and 10 points. However United States’ Taylor Sander and Jacek Ratajczak were keys for the American victory in the fifth set and finished with 19 and 14 points.

Mexico 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Mexico opened with a victory over Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-19) in pool B. Tomas Aguilera was the leading scorer for the winners with a total of 14 points while Jesus Valdes registered 8 for Mexico. On the Trinidadian side, captain Nolan Tash and Simon Blake scored 5 each.

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