Men's Volleyball
    Ciarelli Helps U.S. To Fifth Place Finish At Pan American Games

    Tony Ciarelli

    Oct. 30, 2011

    USC senior outside hitter Tony Ciarelli helped the U.S. Men's team to a fifth place finish in the 8-team Pan American Games Oct. 24-29 in Guadalajara, Mexico.

    The U.S. went 3-3 overall, with 5 of those matches extending to 5 sets during the 6-day competition. The U.S. beat Canada in 5 sets in the fifth place match.

    Former Trojan Tri Bourne (now playing professionally in Puerto Rico) also was a member of the U.S. team, while current USC assistant Jeff Nygaard served as an assistant on the U.S. squad.

    Held every four years in the year before the Olympic Games, the Pan American Games--featuring teams representing countries in North and South America--are the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.

    The U.S. opened Pan American Games play by coming back from a 12-9 deficit in the fifth set to defeat Puerto Rico, 22-25, 25-19, 20-25, 25-16, 15-13 in its opening pool play match on Oct. 24. Ciarelli had a match-high 19 kills, three blocks and two aces.

    In the next U.S. match in pool play on Oct. 25, Canada fought off 11 U.S. match points in the fourth set and went on to win, 21-25, 25-23, 37-39, 35-33, 15-12 in a marathon contest. Ciarelli led the U.S. with a team-high 24 kills and five blocks.

    The U.S. then became the first squad at the Pan American Games to take a set off Brazil, however it fell, 18-25, 25-17, 25-14, 25-18 on Oct. 26 in its final pool play match.

    In quarterfinal play, all of Argentina's experience with five-set matches at the Pan American Games paid off on Oct. 27 as it defeated the U.S., 25-17, 19-25, 25-18, 17-25, 15-11. Ciarelli had eight kills, eight digs and three blocks.



    On Oct. 28, the US had to play the first match of the day after losing a five-setter the evening before, but the U.S. defeated Venezuela, 21-25, 25-17, 21-25, 25-18, 15-13. It was the fourth five-set match of the tournament for the U.S. Ciarelli had seven kills, one block and one ace, and he scored the pivotal points in the fifth set. With the teams tied at 11-11, he scored on a kill and then an ace for a comfortable 13-11 U.S. lead.

    In the fifth-place match on Oct. 29, the U.S. fought off two match points to defeat Canada, 22-25, 25-15, 25-19, 21-25, 19-17. Ciarelli had with 14 kills.