U.S. serving too much for Dominican Republic, clinches quarterfinals berth

Photo courtesy of the FIVB and NORCECA

The United States left no doubt from the service line that it belonged in the Pan American Cup quarterfinals.

Hawai’i outside attacker Colton Cowell and former UC Irvine outside attacker Kyle Russell both had a match-high three aces as the United States ended with 13 aces to sweep the Dominican Republic 25-20, 25-19, 25-20 on Tuesday in Mexico.

With this victory, the United States finished in second place in its group to clinch a berth to the quarterfinals that will take place on Wednesday. The United States entered this group-play finale tied with the Dominican Republic for second place and needing a victory to earn the group’s final bid to the quarterfinals.

Five U.S. starters had at least one ace in the victory. Along with Cowell and Russell, former CSUN outside attacker Sam Holt and former Long Beach State setter Josh Tuaniga each had two aces.

Tuaniga also guided the United States to have a 48.2 percent offensive efficiency — almost 4 percentage points higher than the Dominican Republic

Russell led the United States with 13 kills on a 50 percent offensive efficiency. Cowell added seven kills on a 41.2 percent offensive efficiency, while Princeton middle attacker George Huhmann had six kills.

Dominican Republic outside attacker Hector Alexis Cruz Cepin in the loss had a team-high 11 kills and three aces.

Former Stanford libero Kyle Dagostino in the victory led all players defensively with 15 digs. This was the second consecutive match that Dagostino finished with double-digit digs.