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.