Sander helps U.S. overcome Guatemala to clinch NORCECA quarterfinals berth

Photo courtesy of NORCECA and the FIVB

It wasn’t the cleanest of performances for the United States but outside attacker Brenden Sander more than made up for it.

The former BYU All-American finished with a team-high 14 kills on a 60.87 percent offensive efficiency as the United States swept Guatemala 25-22, 25-21, 26-24 on Tuesday in Winnipeg, Canada, to clinch a quarterfinals berth at the NORCECA Continental Championship.

The United States in the victory overcame committing 19 service errors — 14 more errors than Guatemala. The team, though, had nine aces with Sander being one of four players to finish with multiple aces.


The United States through its first two pool-play matches now has a combined 19 aces.

Former UCLA All-American setter Micah Ma’a along with having two aces guided the United States to a better offensive efficiency than Guatemala at 58.57 percent to 47.37 percent.

Besides Sander, Long Beach State All-American outside attacker TJ DeFalco contributed nine kills on a 56.25 percent offensive efficiency. In addition, former UCLA middle attacker Mitch Stahl had eight kills on a team-best 88.90 percent offensive efficiency.

Opposite Gonzalez Paz Gerardo Antonio in the loss led all players with 15 kills and was the only Guatemalan player to have double-digit kills.

The United States out-blocked Guatemala 12 to 1, including DeFalco and former Loyola middle attacker Jeff Jendryk each having a team-high three blocks.

With this victory, the United States remains tied with Cuba for first place in Group B. The two teams will play each other in their pool-play finale on Wednesday with the group championship and a bye to the semifinals on the line.