USA complete epic comeback to claim U19 world title

OSIJEZ, Croatia, August 11.- The United States triumphed in the 2023 FIVB Girls’ U19 Volleyball World Championship in an unforgettable way as the Americans came back from a two-set deficit to overcome Türkiye in the gold medal match of the tournament, which came to an end in Osijek, Croatia, on Friday.

The Americans recovered from a difficult start to claim a hard-fought 3-2 (20-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-10) win over the Europeans and take gold in the biennial tournament.

With the victory, the United States became the first U19 world champions among the women. The tournament started in 1989 but was played in the U18 age group until 2021 – the Americans had one gold (2019), two silver (2013 and 2015) and one bronze (2021) in the period.

Outside hitter Abby Vander Wal, who led the U.S. in the final match with 19 points (15 kills, two blocks, two aces) was named tournament MVP and Best Outside Hitter, and Teraya Sigler was named Next Best Outside Hitter.

Abigail Vander Wal was huge in the American comeback, leading her team with 19 points (15 kills, two aces, two blocks). Middle blocker Favor Anyanwu, with 18 points (11 kills, two aces, five blocks), and outside hitter Teraya Sigler, with 13 (12 kills, one block), also had great performances in the gold medal match.

The American victory in the gold medal match was built mostly upon the team’s offensive firepower as the USA outscored Türkiye in kills by 61 to 48. The winners also got more aces (five to three), but the Europeans had the edge in blocks (17 to 16) and points scored in opponent errors (30 to 26).

The Dominican Republic won a five-set battle against NORCECA rivals Puerto Rico 3-2 (20-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-12) to rank 13th.