Pepperdine middle attacker Jack Cole made his presence felt both in the front-row and at the service line.
Cole finished with a match-high six kills and four aces as the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team swept St. Vincent 25-11, 25-12, 25-10 on Thursday in Canada to clinch the Group A title and a berth to the U21 NORCECA Continental Championship semifinals.
The United States (2-0, 10 points) in its group-play finale had a tournament-best 11 aces — eight more aces than St. Vincent (0-2, 0 points). Five U.S. players had an ace, including Ohio State outside attacker Reese Devilbiss who had four aces in the final game.
Both Cole and Devilbliss were among three players with at least five kills against St. Vincent. Devilbiss coming off the bench and only playing in the third game had five kills, while UCLA outside attacker Dylan Missry added six kills.
The United States out-blocked St. Vincent 6 to 3 with Princeton middle attacker George Huhmann having a match-high two blocks.
St. Vincent was held to a combined nine kills throughout the entire match. Middle attacker Marcus Thomas in the loss led St. Vincent with four kills.
This was the first meeting at the U21 level between the United States and St. Vincent, an island nation located in the Caribbean with a population of about 100,000 people.
With the victory, the United States ended group-play undefeated and did not allow an opponent to score more than 16 points in a game.
St. Vincent will play Cuba (2-0, 10 points) or the host-nation Canada (2-0, 10 points) in the quarterfinals on Friday. In addition, Barbados (1-1, 5 points) will play Guatemala (1-1, 5 points) in the other quarterfinal match on Friday.