U.S. serving overpowers Mexico en route to clinching U19 World Championship berth

Photo courtesy of the FIVB and NORCECA

The United States served its way right into the FIVB U19 World Championship.

The team finished with a tournament-high 11 aces as it swept Mexico 25-21, 25-13, 25-13 on Wednesday in Guatemala to clinch a bye to the U19 Pan American Cup semifinals and secure a berth to the U19 World Championship next year.

Both opposite Finn Kearney and outside attacker Sterling Foley led all players with three aces to help the United States end group-play undefeated and win the Group B championship at the Pan American Cup. In addition, outside attacker Sean Kelly and middle attacker Reed Wainwright had two aces in the match-up between two undefeated teams.

This was the second time in three Pan American Cup matches that the United States had at least 10 aces.


Along with the serving performance, the United States out-hit Mexico .464 to .053 and had three players with both more than five kills and more than a .400 attack percentage.

Kelly finished with eight kills and zero errors on a match-best .800 attack percentage against Mexico. Karney and Foley each also had a match-high 10 kills and hit .438.

The United States out-blocked Mexico 9 to 1, including middle attacker Caiden Carreira leading all players with four blocks.

Outside attacker Antonio Vargas in the loss led Mexico with seven kills but was held to a negative attack percentage.

The United States has held all their opponents to less than a .100 attack percentage through the first three matches.

The United States as the Group B champions will receive a bye to the semifinals and will play the winner of the quarterfinals match-up that has yet to be determined. Mexico with the loss finished Group B in second place and will face the Dominican Republic in the quarterfinals.

All four teams that reach the semifinals will earn berths to the upcoming U19 World Championship.