USA outlast Canada in NORCECA U19 Semifinals

PONCE, Puerto Rico, May 18, 2024. – United States outlasted Canada 3-0 (25-23, 26-24, 29-27) in a hard-fought semifinal match at the Boys U19 NORCECA Continental Championship on Saturday in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The U.S. will face the winner between Puerto Rico and Cuba for NORCECA U19 gold and a berth to the 2025 FIVB World Championship.

United States was challenged by a scrappy Canadian team that lost three set points (24-23), battling  to force a  fourth set in a dramatic finish.

United States led in attack points (43-34) and in aces (5-3). Both teams were tied with 11 blocks each. United States gave away 26 points on errors, while Canada gave away a total of 21.

Outside hitter Aleksey Mikhailenko closed the first and second sets with a huge kill, while team captain Gran Lamoureux hit against the Canadian block to seal the match.

Mikhailenko led United States with 14 points (13 attacks, 3 blocks, 1 ace), followed by Lamoureux with 11 points, all on kills. Middle blocker Luc Soerensen contributed to the winning effort with 10 points (6 attacks, 3 blocks, 1 ace).

United States celebrates semifinal win

The top scorer of the match was Canadian team captain Reuben Veith with 17 points (13 attacks, 3 blocks, 1 ace). Outside hitter Tyson DeZutter and opposite Luke Wright added 12 and 10 points respectively.

Charles Sullivan, Head coach of United States: “It was a dramatic finish. Just one more rally, they were so close, and we weren’t at our best, but we kept trying. Everyone was there, but they are all learning. Overall, we are qualifying for worlds, and we will wear USA on our back representing a great community in our country, volleyball is strong, and we are passionate, great high school coaches and it’s all part of what happened here today”.

Dan Ota, Head coach of Canada: “We just lack composure in critical moments and late in each set. The guys were a little tight because they were thinking of the win instead of what we need to do at the moment. We did a good job executing our game plan. USA has an excellent team and we made it difficult for Lamoureux (#20) and Keane (#11) towards in performing their normal game. Unfortunately, we were so close and it’s mostly about mental decisions or miscommunication, it’s normal for a young team. I am proud of how they fought against a tough opponent. There’s still tomorrow’s match and if it gives a chance for worlds, we will be ready”.