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United States Sweeps Dominican Republic; Will Play in Quarterfinals


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, September 28, 2017 – The United States won a slugfest against the Dominican Republic, 25-17, 25-21, 25-10 on Thursday at the NORCECA Men’s Continental Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.


The United States (2-0) won its pool while Dominican Republic (1-1) finished second. Because the U.S. had the lowest point differential of any of the three pool winners, the Americans will play Costa Rica in the quarterfinals on Friday. Dominican Republic, which finished pool play in second place, will play Trinidad & Tobago.


The U.S. led Dominican Republic in spikes (33-21), blocks (12-4) and aces (10-1).


U.S. outside hitter Thomas Jaeschke led all scorers with 14 points a match-high 10 spikes and four blocks. Outside hitter Taylor Sander added 12 points on seven spikes and a match-high five aces.


Wilfrido Hernandez led the Dominican Republic with seven points on six spikes and one block.


After losing the first set, the Dominican Republic served far better in the second set and kept the score close. With the U.S. leading 23-21, middle blocker Max Holt scored off a tip of an overpass for set point. Middle blocker Mitch Stahl spiked an overpass of Holt’s serve for the final point.


U.S. Captain Micah Christenson: “We were prepared for a really good volleyball game. They’ve got a lot of talented athletes and guys we’ve seen before. They were bombing serves today. That’s something that’s hard to prepare for. They’re just going for broke and a lot of credit to them. It was a really good game.”


U.S. Head Coach John Speraw: “I certainly was impressed with the service of Dominican Republic, especially in that second set. They just went back and were bombing, getting most of them in and causing a ton of pressure. Fortunately, we were able to side out a few of those. It was a side-out battle for a while. Fortunately, we were able score a few in the end to win it.”


Dominican Republic Head Coach Gladston Samuels: "The USA is a really strong team, very strong service. We cannot control the pass and that led to a lot of mistakes. Sometimes we play well, but we don't finish the game. We have the possibility to have a good chance and then we lose it. It's very difficult to play against this team. We can't play consistent, we play up and down, up and down.


"The key match here is against Mexico. We have to beat Mexico to go to the World Championships. That is the key. This is only preparation.”


Dominican Republic Captain Wilfrido Hernandez: "We wanted to be second in the group. We knew today was going to be hard to beat the United States. We were expecting the results that we got now. We knew that they had a strong team with a strong service. In the second set our service got stronger and the intensity of the United States went down and we thought we could compete, but once they figured it out, they were once again the U.S. team that we were expecting.


"We need to work on our receiving and defense because we are a small team. We touch a lot of balls, but we can't control the ball.