United States Sweeps Puerto Rico to Reach NORCECA Final
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA (Aug. 31, 2012) – The United
States recorded a 25-15, 25-16, 25-20 victory over the Puerto
Rico on Friday evening at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in
Colorado Springs, Colo., to reach the NORCECA Men’s Junior
Continental Championship gold-medal match.
United States will face Canada on Saturday at 17:30 in a rematch
of the most recent NORCECA Men’s Junior Continental Championship
in 2010, while Puerto Rico will meet Mexico for the bronze
medal. The top three finishing teams in the tournament advance
to the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Men’s Junior Continental
Championship. By reaching the title match, both United States
and Canada have guarantee a spot in next year’s World
Benjamin Patch sparked the United States with 16 points
including three blocks, while Nicholas Olson charted 11 points.
Gregory Petty and Matthew Tarantino notched 10 points each.
Puerto Rico had nine different players score points led by
Francisco Velez and Pedro Nieves with six points each.
The United States service kept Puerto Rico out of system that
included a 7-0 ace advantage. The U.S. added an 8-6 block
advantage and 45-27 kill margin.
The United States controlled the middle stages of the opening
set pulling away to a 25-15 victory that included Patch scoring
seven points and three of the team’s four blocks. USA’s Gregory
Petty started a 4-0 run with two aces to put the U.S. in front
7-4 in the second set. Puerto Rico called timeout trailing 18-12
in the second set and the lead expanded to 24-13 with
consecutive Christenson aces and back-to-back blocks by
Tarantino on a 5-0 run. Puerto Rico saved three set points
before a James Shaw kill ended the set at 25-16. Puerto Rico
scored three unanswered points to level the third set score at
18-all, but the United States responded with a 3-0 run of its
own including a Scott Rhein ace to put the score at 21-18. The
USA finished the set with a 25-20 victory.
“I thought today’s match was a good indication of both teams
playing for a spot in Turkey next year,” United States head
coach Peter Hanson said. “We knew we had to play a good match.
When you play a quality opponent like Puerto Rico, you know you
have to play well. Our guys were on point tonight and it was
nice to see our execution on a high level.”
“Congratulations to Puerto Rico for a hard fought match,” United
States captain Micah Christenson said. “We were able to serve
the ball well, which helped our block defense. Overall, we had a
good team effort. We know Canada well as we have played them a
lot including at least four scrimmages (in August). We will need
to execute our game plan and focus on our side of the net.”
“My congratulations to USA on a great match,” Puerto Rico
captain Cristian Rivera said. “Tonight we couldn’t handle USA’s
serve. I hope we go home knowing we will be in Turkey in 2013.”
“My congratulations to USA for a great match,” Puerto Rico head
coach Ramon Hernandez said. “Puerto Rico is having a hard time
passing. Tomorrow we have to pass better and play our best match
of the tournament to beat a good Mexican team.”