U.S. overpowers Dominican Republic in NORCECA Championship opening rout

Photo courtesy of NORCECA and the FIVB

Outside attacker TJ DeFalco didn’t miss a beat in his first match back on the court for the United States.

The former Long Beach State All-American finished with both a match-high 12 kills and three aces as the United States swept the Dominican Republic in its opener at the NORCECA Continental Championship on Monday in Canada.

DeFalco in his first start for the United States since the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in June was one of four players on the team with at least five kills.

Former Loyola All-American middle attacker Jeff Jendryk and former BYU All-American outside attacker Brenden Sander each had seven kills against the Dominican Republic. In addition, former UCLA middle attacker Mitchel Stahl playing in only the first games contributed five kills.


The United States finished the pool-play match with 10 aces — seven more aces than the Dominican Republic.

Along with DeFalco, former UCLA All-American setter Micah Ma’a and former UC Irvine opposite Kyle Russell each had multiple aces.

Opposite Henry Omar Tapia Santana in the loss ended with a team-high eight kills and was only Dominican Republic player with more than four kills.

The top three teams at the Continental Championship that have yet to clinch an Olympic berth or a berth the NORECA Final Four Olympic Qualification Tournament will earn the final spots to the Olympic qualifier. The United States entered this tournament having already clinched a spot in the Olympics.

The United States will continue the pool-play stage with a match against Guatemala on Tuesday. Guatemala lost in the three games to Cuba in its tournament opener on Monday.