USA and host Mexico win their opening battles 

DURANGO, Mexico, September 22, 2021 - Defending champion United States and Mexico claimed their first tournament victories at the FIVB U18 World Championship, both in straight sets. United States in Pool C was challenged by Thailand while Mexico in Pool A earned an easy win against Canada.

United States v Thailand (25-18, 25-20, 25-23)

The U.S. based their offense scoring with a considerable seven points against two on strong serves as Thailand challenged them in the closing third set. USA also held advantage in the blocking category (seven against four) and scored more points on attacking that Thailand (43-30). Thailand benefited from 25 U.S. unforced errors and handed out 18 points.

Outside hitter McKenna Wucherer with 16 points, led the winning side, followed by middle blocker Margaret Mendelson with 13 points on 11 kills and 2 blocks, while captain Rebeckah Allick added 10 points. Outside hitter Harper Murray led the U.S. serves with four aces from their seven total. On Thailands' side, outside hitters Ampha Sonsurat and Donphon Sinpho (captain) led with 13 points each.

“This was a really good starting point for us, it’s the beginning of a longer journey and there are definitely things to work on” indicated Jamie Morrison, head coach for USA, “Thailand plays with a different spirit than any other team in the world” he added.

On Wednesday USA goes head to head against Romania, the other undefeated team in Pool C, Thailand has the day off while Puerto Rico was scheduled to play Nigeria who were unable to assist the tournament.

Mexico stormed past Canada from start to finish. In the first set, the home team quickly jumped to a 12-6 lead gaining confidence as the match developed. In set two, Mexico was too much for Canada leading 10-3 and finishing with an overwhelming 25-7 set win. Canada was more settled in the last set, edging Mexico that lost four-match points before sealing their victory.

Mexico v Canada 3-0 (25-18, 25-7, 25-22)

Mexico outnumbered Canada by a huge 43-22 margin in attacks and scoring on 23 opponent errors against 19. The winners also did better in blocking (6-2) while Canada scored on a slim four-three serving advantage.

Mexican outside hitter Aime Margarita Topete scored a match-high of 17 points on 16 kills and one block, joined by opposite hitter Leah Palmira Linares with eleven points on 8 kills, two blocks and one ace. Outside hitter Tara Garvey topped Canada’s scorers with ten points on six kills and four aces.