USA starts NORCECA U19 Pan Am Cup with straight set win over Belize

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala, March 13, 2023.- The United States started the NORCECA U19 Pan American Cup with a straight set win 3-0 (25-11, 25-21, 25-22) in pool A over Belize at Guatemala City Dome.

The U.S. recovered from a three-point deficit (11-14) in set two and struggled to get back on track in the third after Belize pushed harder getting into a better rhythm of play.

United States led by a huge 33-10 margin in attacks and 10-3 in serves; Belize held a slim 6-5 margin in blocks, while committing fewer errors (27-35).

Opposite hitter Finn Kearney of United States led all scorers with 13 points on 11 kills, one block and one ace; followed by outside hitter Sean Kelly with 10 points on 7 kills, two blocks and one ace.

Outside hitter Eleazar Mejía and opposite hitter Daniel Musa scored 6 and 5 points respectively for Belize.

On day two of the event, United States faces Mexico and Belize goes up against Costa Rica.

Taliaferro (USA) jump serves against Belize

Tread Rosenthal, captain of United States: “The first set was good, Belize played great the next two sets and we just folded in ourselves a little bit, we lost focus and maybe got too relaxed. We will get better; we have physical players and that will help us later”.

Matthew Fuerbringer, head coach of United States: “Belize did a great job in the last two sets, credit to them. Our serving went down a little bit and even when we did serve well, they (Belize) did a much better job in getting used to the speed of our serves which kept them in play and made a good out of system in swings in plays against us. It was a different type of team to play against; we saw some things we must clean up on our end, but overall, I got everyone in the match today, some of the guys it’s the first time wearing the  U.S. jersey of the U.S. I guess that when you win so easily in the first set it sets a mood and when we weren’t beating them early in the second set  guys got a bit anxious”.  

Nicanor Requena, captain of Belize: “In the last two sets the reception and defense was a lot better, allowing us to incorporate our middles more into the game because of the better passing. It was a good start in the tournament, I expect to see some wins later in the games. We’re getting used to the ball and the new rule”.

Albert Humes, head coach of Belize: “The first set we were nervous, the team gave too much respect towards the United States, but they started to gain confidence and the last two sets were o.k. I think we need to work in the last part of the game, it showed our lack of focus. It was a nice beginning”.