U.S. powers past Mexico to clinch Olympic quarterfinals berth

Opposite Murphy Troy coming off the bench gave the United States the boost it needed to clinch a quarterfinals berth.

Troy finished with a match-high 10 kills on a .643 attack percentage as the United State swept Mexico 25-23, 25-11, 25-19 in its pool-play finale on Monday in Rio to advance to the single-elimination stage of the Olympic tournament.


The former USC All-American and 2011 AVCA National Player of the Year replaced starting opposite Matt Anderson with the United States (3-2, 9 points) trailing late in the opening game. The United States playing in a near must-win match, though, rallied following the lineup change and Troy had the game-winning kill.

This is the third consecutive pool-play victory for the United States after it started the Olympic tournament with two losses. The United States with the win secured its fourth straight quarterfinals appearance in an Olympic tournament but will not know its quarterfinals opponent until the conclusion of pool-play Monday night.

Along with Troy, both U.S. starting middle attackers had their best performances so far at this Olympic tournament.

Middle attacker and former Penn State All-American Max Holt led all players with a tournament-high five aces. In addition, all of his aces came during the first two games.

Middle attacker David Lee contributed with two aces and was one of three U.S. players with multiple blocks against Mexico (0-5, 0 points).

Lee also had a tournament-best seven kills and zero attack errors, while Holt added five kills and zero attack errors.

The United States in its first sweep of the tournament out-hit Mexico .462 to .159. This was the highest attack percentage for the United States in pool-play and the third time in the last four matches the team hit more than .350.

Former Penn State All-American outside attacker Carlos Guerra in the loss led Mexico with seven kills.

The United States out-blocked Mexico 9 to 1, including having a match-high three blocks from outside attacker Taylor Sander.

The former BYU All-American outside attacker also had eight kills on a .455 attack percentage, a team-high three digs and an ace against Mexico.

Mexico with this loss finishes Pool A in last place and won a single game in its five pool-play matches. This was the first Olympic appearance in 48 years for Mexico, which entered as the lowest ranked team in the FIVB World Rankings.

The United States is still in contention for a No. 2 seed, No. 3 seed or No. 4 seed for the upcoming quarterfinals depending on the results from the two remaining Pool A matches. The team entered its pool-play finale in a four-way tie for second place with Brazil, Canada and France and needed to finish in the pool’s top four to reach the quarterfinals.

Canada will play the Pool A champions Italy (4-0, 12 points) in its pool-play finale, while Brazil (2-2, 6 points) and France (2-2, 6 points) will meet to conclude the pool-play stage.

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