United States tops pool B, advances to NORCECA semifinals


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, October 10, 2019.- United States topped pool B after defeating Dominican Republic 3-0 (27-25, 25-17, 25-14) and advanced to semifinals of the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


United States, No. 2 ranked in the world, with 3-0 record advanced directly to Saturday’s semifinals; Dominican Republic (2-1) will play Cuba in quarterfinals.


The U.S. bounced back from 20-22 in the first set coordinating their blocking defense to reach a thrilling 27-25 ending.  In sets two and three the U.S. blockers managed to hold off Dominicans active offense.


The Americans led with sizeable 50-32 advantage in attacks and 10-3 in blocks. The U.S. held a slim 2-1 margin in aces. Dominican Republic committed fewer (15-20) errors than United States.


The U.S. balanced their scoring offense with opposite Karsta Lowe scoring 16 points on 15 kills and one block, outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley added 13 points, 12 from kills and outside hitter Kimberly Hill contributed with 11 points. Opposite Gaila Gonzalez led Dominican Republic with 17 points all on kills.


The NORCECA Women’s Championship is being streamed on NORCECA TV www.internetv.tv


Karsta Lowe, leading scorer of United States: “We are ready to go in the semis. In the first set teams were bringing more energy, the intensity was really high and it’s always fun to play Dominican; we were excited to be competitive and come from behind and fight. The little things made the difference, like controlling passes, keeping off the net, taking care of things that we could control and then running our offense helped us a lot”.


Gaila González, leading scorer of Dominican Republic: “Our confidence was better in the first set, they took advantage of our doubts and our overconfidence. United States plays tactically, they studied us well and had a better reading than we did. Our goal of reaching the final remains, we will go out to beat Cuba in the next round”.


Karch Kiraly, Head Coach of United States: About the difference in intensity from the first set, “Dominican number 23 (Gaila Gonzalez) was playing really well in the beginning, she was very difficult to stop and we got a block on her late (Tapp, number 19) did a nice job that put us a little bit ahead to get back and play our good volleyball, and slow down number 23 that was playing exceptionally well”.


Marcos Kwiek, Head Coach of Dominican Republic: “The first and second sets were tough; we slowed down in the third set. The match was more difficult because our serving failed, we allowed them to receive right in their hands and they play too fast, making it harder to block and defend. They played better than us”.