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USA blank Puerto Rico to qualify to FIVB Boys’ U19 World Championship

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica, June 9, 2018.- United States blanked Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-20) in their semifinal match at the NORCECA U19 Boys’ Continental Championship and qualified to the FIVB age-group World Championship next year.

United States overcame last night’s quarterfinal loss to Cuba with force at the net beating Puerto Rico without serious troubles. The USA boys gained confidence with their outstanding serves despite running into some tough resistance by the Puerto Ricans.

United States will go up NORCECA champions Cuba, pool-play rematch on Sunday’s title match.

United States held a huge 46-24 advantage in attacks, 7-0 in blocks and 5-3 in serves. USA finished with 29 unforced errors and Puerto Rico with 17.

Opposite Scott Solan led all scorers with 18 points on 12 kills, 2 blocks and 4 aces, followed by wing spiker Akhil Tangutur with 13 points on 11 kills and 2 blocks, and Alexander Knight also finished with 13 points on 10 kills, 2 blocks and one ace. Puerto Rican opposite Sebastian Negron topped with 11 points on 10 kills and one ace.

Coach Brad Keller of United States: “tonight we started off faster, we were more disciplined and we slowed the game down to our pace. I am proud of these guys, they have done every single thing that we’ve asked them, I am really happy for them. I have a lot of respect for coach Juan Albarran and Puerto Rico, he does the best job coaching his boys and he’s a winner. We’re excited for facing Cuba again, we’re just going to celebrate this one and then dial in for that”.

Opposite Scott Solan of United States: “I knew the team needed confidence and we all have our back, that’s why I did my job in serving and swinging to my best. I am glad to contribute to my team and for the US. We all gave our fullest”.

Coach Juan Albarran of Puerto Rico: “United States came with a well-structured game plan, their serves really damaged us in the first two sets, our performance was lower than our previous matches. Most definitely our blocking was absent and blocking boosts the excitement and game level; we were flat”.

Capitan Wilmer Hernández of Puerto Rico: “our reception wasn’t working, so our passing wasn’t in zone, that destroyed our offense and United States is a tall team that blocks pretty well”.