Lausanne, Switzerland, September 29, 2017 – The Dominican Republic and USA edged closer to a place at the Italy-Bulgaria 2018 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship, when they progressed to the semifinals at the NORCECA Continental Qualifiers, on Friday.
Both sides won in straight sets. The Dominican Republic beat Trinidad and Tobago 3-0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-21) to set up a clash against Mexico, while the USA defeated Costa Rica 3-0 (25-11, 25-7, 25-8) and will now meet Canada.
The NORCECA Continental Qualifiers are taking place from September 26-October 1. The top three teams in the 10-team field will earn berths at the 2018 World Championship, while two more teams will come from a second NORCECA qualifier that will be held later in the year.
The USA are hosting the tournament at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado when nine teams will aim to book a place at the World Championship that runs from September 10-30 across Italy and Bulgaria.
Dominican Republic opposite Pedro Garcia led the way for his side with 18 points, while middle blocker Jose Caceres added 12 points.
“Even though we are a young core of players with 19 and 20 and 24-year-olds, we have had a really good roll with the team and you can see the improvement through the tournament on our third match,” Dominican Republic captain Wilfrido Hernandez said.
“Yesterday we had a meeting and we talked about the need to get more players involved in the offense to have a more cohesive offensive group. Today you could see the results. We were more in sync offensively.”
The USA delighted their fans as they advanced to the semifinals and outside hitter Aaron Russell led all scorers with 12 points and opposite Ben Patch finished with 11 points.
“Their energy was great and some of those guys hadn’t seen the court yet this tournament,” US coach John Speraw said. “It was a good opportunity for them too and they deserve it.”
For more information on the tournament, click here