Brazil and United States reach men’s final of Pan American Paralympic qualifier

Brazil and the United States will have the chance to win the spot for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, following their stellar wins on Friday to reach the 2023 ParaVolley Pan America Zonal Championship men’s final in Edmonton at Saville Community Sports Centre.

In the first semifinal match, Brazil made sure everyone in the team brought their A-game and energy to the court against an aggressive Argentina side.

The World Championship bronze medallists succeeded in that important challenge, utilising their power, speed and experience to overpower the newcomers as they mounted huge leads in each set to win 3-0 (25-9, 25-12, 25-8).

A tight battle ensued in the second semifinal, as it took Team USA a full-set match to beat Canada 3-2 (25-19, 22-25, 27-25, 22-25, 15-12). The hosts and the visiting team took alternate set-wins in the first four frames, then Canada led 8-6 on the side change in the final set.

Zachary Upp’s back-to-back spikes tied things up for USA, and an error by Austin Hinchey gave the Americans the upper hand at 10-9. Canada fought back and tied the score at 11-all, but Eric Duda’s two strong swings gave USA a 13-11 lead and the momentum to secure the match at 15-12.

“We played them really well earlier in the week, and we tailored our game plan for them. But we just came out on the wrong side today. Worlds (2022) was a turning point for our team where we realised we could play with the top five in the world. The equation for success wasn’t there today, but we’ve made a lot of progress,” Canada coach Jeff Smith said.

Meanwhile, the Canadian women also played a five-setter against USA, but produced a 3-2 (25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 20-25, 15-11) match victory.

On Saturday, the men’s medal matches will be played starting with the bronze medal battle between Argentina and Canada at 11:00 local time, followed by the gold medal match between Brazil and USA at 13:30. The final match in the series between Canada and USA will be at 16:00.

Photo source: ParaVolley Pan America