Gianni, U.S. overpower Guatemala in NORCECA fifth-place semifinals

Photo courtesy of the FIVB and NORCECA

Outside attacker Camden Gianni made the most of his first time in the U.S. starting lineup.

The Grand Canyon All-MPSF sophomore had a match-high 25 kills on a .571 attack percentage as the United States rallied to beat Guatemala 23-25, 25-22, 25-19, 33-31 in the fifth-place semifinals of the NORCECA Continental Championship on Sunday in Durango, Mexico.

This was the first significant playing time for Gianni in the international tournament. The United States opted to change the majority of its starting lineup after its loss to Canada in the quarterfinals and being relegated to the fifth-place semifinals and out of medal contention.

Along with his offensive performance, Gianni contributed an ace and had a team-high 30 excellent service receptions with zero errors against Guatemala.


USC setter Sam Kobrine in his first start of the tournament had 46 assists and guided the U.S. offense to out-hit Guatemala .367 to .159.

The United States had five players with double-digit kills. Former Penn State opposite Jalen Penrose had 11 kills, while Stanford outside attacker William Rottman, UCLA middle attacker Merrick McHenry and Pepperdine middle attacker Austin Wilmot each had nine kills.

McHenry had one error en route to leading the team with a .615 attack percentage. The middle attacker defensively had a match-high four blocks as the United States finished with 10 blocks — three more blocks than Guatemala.

Long Beach State All-American libero Mason Briggs also added a match-high 20 digs in the victory.

Outside attacker Gerardo Antonio Gonzalez Paz led Guatemala with 15 kills but was limited to a .122 attack percentage.

The United States with this victory will advance to play the Dominican Republic in the fifth-place finals on Monday.

This will be the second meeting between the two teams at the NORCECA Continental Championship. Former Ohio State outside attacker Jake Hanes had both a match-high six aces and 21 kills in a four-game victory during the group-play stage.