USA needed five sets to beat Guatemala in NORCECA opener

DURANGO, Mexico, August 18, 2021.- United States needed five sets to beat Guatemala 3-2 (24-26, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 15-10) to open the Men’s NORCECA Championship in Auditorio del Pueblo in Durango, Mexico.

Guatemala started off strong recovering from a five-point deficit (18-23) winning the first set, marking the rhythm for the sets to come.

U.S. outside hitter William Rottman scored a match-high of 21 points alongside opposite Jake Hanes with 20 points to hold off Guatemala in the end; outside hitter Brett Wildman contributed with 18 points, middle blockers Keenan Sanders and Tyler Mitchem added 13 and 12 points respectively.

Outside hitter Carlos Chacón and opposite José Carrillo were Guatemala’s top scorers with 16 points each, joined by Gerardo González with 12 points and middle blocker Jason Hernández chipped in with 10 points.

The U.S. led with 73-52 advantage in attacks, a huge 11-3 margin in blocks and 5-3 in serves; they committed 46 unforced errors compared to 23 from Guatemala.

United States (1-0) next opponent is Dominican Republic and Guatemala (0-1) will face defending champion Cuba.

Joshua Tuaniga, Captain of United States: “Things weren’t going well for us, we weren’t able to put pressure with our serves, missing a lot of them and blocking opportunities as well. Guatemala played really good volleyball all around, I was glad to be able to play this kind of volleyball at the beginning of the tournament, kudos for Guatemala and shout out to the guys for really staying in and pushing through”.

Andy Read, Coach of United States: “Guatemala has been together for a long time and it shows in the quality of how they play, it didn’t surprise me the result. For many of our guys this is their first match on the senior team, so we had to figure out some things along the way, we trusted our system and in each other got us the fifth set win. We got to continue improving our ability in serves and continue to improve as a team; this is only our first match”.

Carlos López, Captain of Guatemala: “We are really exciting for our performance against such a great team like the United States, we had nothing to lose and a lot to win and we did, this motivates us for our next matches. We had miscommunication, we need to adjust that”.