Surreal serving performance from Stanford opposite lifts U.S. past Canada

Photo courtesy of the FIVB and NORCECA.

Opposite Jaylen Jasper had the serving performance of his career to bring the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team within one match of a berth to the FIVB U21 World Championship.

Jasper finished with a tournament-high 11 aces as the United States beat Canada 25-14, 23-25, 25-23, 26-24 on Wednesday in Cuba to earn a bye to the semifinals of the NORCECA U21 Continental Championship.

Both the United States (3-0) and Canada (2-1) entered this group-play finale undefeated and the winner of this de facto group title match determining which team would earn the semifinals bye. The two teams that reach the NORCECA gold-medal match will also earn berths to the 2019 U21 World Championship.

The United States in the victory finished with 19 aces — 13 more aces than Canada. Along with Jasper, UC San Diego setter Blake Crisp had three aces and Stanford outside attacker JP Reilly added two aces.

Crisp also had a match-high 24 excellent sets and guided the U.S. offense to out-hit Canada .376 to .360.

Jasper finished 11 kills on a 40.7 percent offensive efficiency against Canada. This was the second time in the three group-play matches that the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Freshman All-American from Stanford had double-digit kills.

Reilly for the second consecutive match led the United States in kills. The outside attacker finished with 13 kills on a team-high 65 percent offensive efficiency, while USC middle attacker Sam Lewis added 10 kills on a 62.5 percent offensive efficiency.

Lewis also had three blocks and was the only U.S. player to have multiple blocks.

Middle attacker Fynnian McCarthy in the loss had a match-high four blocks and added seven kills.

Outside attacker Brodie Hofer contributed a team-high 13 kills and was one of three Canadian players with double-digit kills versus the United States.

Both Jasper and Reilly were two of the three players from the Stanford 2019 roster that competed in this match. Canadian libero Justin Lui had both a team-high two digs and eight excellent serve receptions.

With this loss, Canada will play Barbados (1-2) in the quarterfinals on Thursday. The winner of that match will likely play the defending U21 World Championship silver medalists Cuba in the semifinals.

The United States, barring any quarterfinal upsets, will play on Friday the winner of the quarterfinal match between the Dominican Republic (2-1) and Nicaragua (1-2).