A storm hit that blew the United States right past Mexico and into the NORCECA quarterfinals.
BYU incoming recruit Storm Faagata-Tufuga had a match-high 18 kills as the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team beat Mexico 25-18, 25-21, 17-25, 25-11 on Thursday in El Salvador to clinch a quarterfinals berth in the NORCECA U-21 Continental Championships.
The United States (2-1, 2-1 Group C) entered this pool-play finale against Mexico (1-2, 1-2 Group C) following a loss to Cuba and needing a victory to avoid being eliminated from the international tournament.
Faagata-Tufuga led the U.S. in kills in two of the four games against Mexico, including a game-high seven kills in the U.S. 14-point game-four win. That game was also the U.S. largest margin of victory throughout the entire pool-play round.
The United States had two players finish the match with double-digit kills. BYU incoming recruit outside attacker Brenden Sander added 11 kills and a match-high three blocks against Mexico.
This was also the first match in the tournament that Sander did not led the United States in kills.
Along with the offensive performance the United States in the victory had four players with an ace and finished with a team tournament-high five aces. Lewis incoming recruit George Perinar led all players with two aces.
Mexico outside attacker Alan Martinez in the loss had a team-high 11 kills.
With this victory, the United States finished in second place in Group C and will play its quarterfinals match against El Salvador on Friday. If the United States wins in the quarterfinals, it would either play Canada or Cuba in the semifinals.
The top two teams at this NORCECA tournament will receive automatic berths to the 2015 FIVB U-21 Men’s World Championship.