Puerto Rico will play for a gold medal thanks in part to a George Mason outside attacker.
Omar Hoyos finished 12 kills and added an ace as Puerto Rico rallied to beat the host nation Dominican Republic 20-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20 in the semifinals of the U23 Pan American Games qualification tournament on Thursday.
This was the second consecutive match that Hoyos finished with double-digit kills. The sophomore had a match-high 11 kills versus Suriname on Monday to help Puerto Rico earn a berth to the semifinals and qualify for the U23 Pan American Games.
Puerto Rico hit .327 and had three players with more than 10 kills in the comeback win against the Dominican Republic. Outside attacker Pedro Molina and opposite Jamal Ellis each led all players with 16 kills and hit more than .300.
The semifinal match-up featured two NJIT setters starting on opposite sides of the net.
Mason Matos playing for the Dominican Republic had a match-high 10 excellent sets and guided the offense to a .271 attack percentage. All-EIVA setter Roque Nido started for Puerto Rico and had an ace before being substituted midway through the second game.
Puerto Rico had seven aces — three more than the Dominican Republic. Molina finished with a match-high three aces, while Lewis middle attacker Antonio Elias Rodriguez contributed two aces.
McKendree libero Francisco Comas defensively led all players in the victory with eight digs — double the number of digs than any player on both teams.
Puerto Rico will now advance to play Mexico in the gold-medal match on Friday. Undefeated Mexico hit. .383 and swept Guatemala in its semifinal match.
This will be the second time in a five-day span that Puerto Rico and Mexico have played each other. Elias Rodriguez had a match-high four blocks as Puerto Rico lost to Mexico in five games to open the tournament.
The Dominican Republic following its semifinal loss will face Guatemala in the bronze-medal match on Friday.
All four teams reaching the semifinals qualified for the U23 Pan American Games that will be played in November.