COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 28, 2018) – The U.S. Girls Youth National Team closed out the NORCECA U18 Girls Continental Championship Pool B by defeating host Honduras 25-12, 25-10, 25-13 in a balanced attack on Wednesday evening in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
By finishing with a 3-0 record and atop Pool B, the U.S. advances directly to Friday’s semifinals where it will face one of two quarterfinal winners. Cuba won Pool A to also advance to the semifinals. The quarterfinals will have Canada facing Honduras and Dominican Republic playing Nicaragua. The final classification matches take place on Saturday with the top two finishers earning berths to the 2019 FIVB Girls U18 World Championship.
“Whoever our next opponent is, they will be quite good,” U.S. Girls Youth National Team Head Coach Jim Stone said. “I think, more than anything else, we want to try and get into the competitive aspect of the game. I think we were trying hard tonight to almost play perfect volleyball. We don’t need to play perfect volleyball. We just need to play competitive and hard with emotion and spirit. I think it was a learning experience as it was a great atmosphere in the arena tonight. I thought our kids weren’t bothered by the atmosphere. They were just trying to play too perfect. Hopefully that will be a learning experience.”
The U.S. outscored Honduras 17-6 to close out the first set in which the host team stayed close early on. In the second set, Team USA scored 16 of the final 19 points to win 25-10 after Honduras stayed close at 9-7. The Americans controlled most of the third set after Honduras trailed only 6-5 in the early stages as the U.S. won 25-13.
U.S. middle Devyn Robinson (Ankeny, Iowa) scored a match-high 15 points with eight kills on 13 attacks, five aces and two blocks. Outside hitter Jess Mruzik (Livonia, Michigan) added 12 kills on 19 swings and a block for 13 points. Outside hitter and captain Allison Jacobs (Stevenson Ranch, California) charted eight kills on 13 errorless swings and an ace for nine points.
“It was fun,” Robinson said about playing in front of a big crowd. “I just kind of focused on the game and didn’t pay attention to the crowd.”
Opposite Emily Londot (Utica, Ohio) contributed eight kills on 16 attacks in the victory. Middle CC Crawford (Kansas City, Missouri) chalked up five kills on eight attacks, one block and one ace for seven points. Setters Kami Miner (Redondo Beach, California) and Kennedi Orr (Eagan, Minnesota) had a matching two points with a block and ace apiece. Outside hitter Sydney Taylor (Grove City, Ohio) rounded out the scoring with an ace as a defensive specialist.
2018 NORCECA Girls U18 Continental Championship Schedule for USA
- Aug. 27: USA def. Nicaragua 25-6, 25-11, 25-1
- Aug. 28: USA def. Barbados 25-10, 25-7, 25-16
- Aug. 29: USA def. Honduras 25-12, 25-10, 25-13
- Aug. 30: Quarterfinals (can bypass by winning Pool B)
- Aug. 31: Semifinals
- Sept. 1: Medal Rounds and Final Classification
Libero Hattie Monson (Morris, Illinois) tallied five digs and five excellent receptions on nine attempts. Mruzik added five digs and three excellent receptions.
Miner was credited with seven running sets on 34 set attempts, while Orr had six running sets on 16 total set attempts in her limited action. The two setters led Team USA to a 59.4 kill percent and .507 hitting efficiency (41-6-69). In contrast, the American defense limited Honduras to a 12.9 kill percent and negative .048 hitting efficiency (8-11-62).
Robinson had a strong connection to Miner during the match.
“I just got up on the ball and made sure I was always available for Kami (Miner) to set me,” Robinson said.
Team USA out-served Honduras with a 10-2 ace advantage and held a 6-1 margin in blocks. The U.S. dominated on offense with a 41-8 lead in kills. Honduras scored 24 of its 35 total points on American errors, which included 16 service errors.
The U.S. started Jacobs and Mruzik at outside hitter, Robinson and Crawford at middle, Londot at opposite and Miner at setter. Monson was the designated libero. Orr was a sub in all three sets and Taylor was a back-row sub in the final two sets.
The U.S. Girls Youth National Team has won the NORCECA Girls& U18 Continental Championship seven of the 10 times of the biennial event. The Americans have finished second to Dominican Republic in the last two editions in 2014 and 2016. Team USA has won the event’s silver medal three times.
The U.S. took a 6-2 lead in the opening set on a 4-0 scoring run with kills from Jacobs and Londot followed by a Robinson block and Honduras error prompting a timeout from the home team. Honduras cut its deficit to 7-5 after an ace. Robinson served an ace between two Honduras errors, then Crawford ended a near minute-long rally to raise the American lead to 12-6 prompting Honduras’ second timeout. Out of the timeout, Crawford scored her second straight kill and Robinson followed with an ace to build the lead to 14-6. Team USA raised its margin to 18-9 with a Jacobs kill and Orr ace. Robinson and Londot downed back-to-back kills and Robinson followed with a block to extend the American lead to 22-12. The U.S. lead reached 24-11 with a Honduras error and Mruzik kill at set point. Mruzik ended the set with a kill at 25-12.
Crawford and Londot scored the first two points of the second set to give the Americans a 2-0 lead. Honduras tied the set at 3-all. Jacobs slammed back-to-back kills to put Team USA up 6-4, but Honduras came back to level the set at 6-all with an ace. The Americans reached the first technical timeout leading 8-6 after a Honduras service error and Mruzik kill. Out of the break, Jacobs served an ace to inch the American margin to 9-6. Team USA raised the lead to 12-7 with a Mruzik kill, Crawford block and Honduras attack error. Out of a Honduras timeout, Robinson served consecutive aces to push the lead to 14-7. The U.S. raised its margin to 18-8 with a Mruzik kill and block, Miner ace and Honduras error. After a Honduras error, Jacobs and Londot connected for consecutive kills to prompt Honduras to call timeout trailing 21-9. Out of the break, Taylor served an ace around two Honduras errors to extend the lead to 24-9 to cap a 6-0 run. The U.S. won the set on a Honduras service error at 25-10.
Team USA went up 3-1 in the third set with a Jacobs kill after a Honduras service error, but Honduras came back to tie the set at 3-all. Londot and Jacobs downed kills after a Honduras service error to build a 6-3 American lead. Honduras answered with consecutive points to close to 6-5. Londot and Robinson pounded kills to yield an 8-5 American lead at the first technical timeout. Out of the break, Orr put up a block to extend the U.S. lead to 9-5. Team USA raised its lead to 12-6 with two Robinson kills after a Honduras service error prompting a timeout from the home team. Out of the timeout, Robinson put up a block and Honduras committed an error at 14-6. Team USA reached the second technical timeout leading 16-7 with a Mruzik kill and Robinson ace. Out of the break, Londot found open court on a tip to extend the USA lead to 17-7. Honduras scored consecutive points to close to 18-10. Crawford served an ace between two Honduras errors to put the U.S. in front 22-11. Robinson scored the final two points of the set to give USA a 25-13 victory.
2018 U.S. Girls Youth National Team
# – Name (Position, Height, Hometown, High School Grad Year, Youth Club/Region, College Status)
1 – Allison Jacobs (OH, 5-11, Stevenson Ranch, Calif., 2020, Legacy/Southern California, verballed to UCLA)
2 – Hattie Monson (L, 5-5, Morris, Ill., 2020, Sports Performance/Great Lakes, verballed to Notre Dame)
3 – Sydney Taylor (L/OH, 5-8, Grove City, Ohio, 2021, Mintonette/Ohio Valley, Uncommitted)
4 – Kami Miner (S, 6-0, Redondo Beach, Calif., 2021, Mizuno Long Beach/Southern California, Uncommitted)
5 – Kennedi Orr (S, 6-0, Eagan, Minn., 2021, Northern Lights/North Country, verballed to University of Nebraska)
10 – Jess Mruzik (OH, 6-1, Livonia, Mich., 2020, Legacy VBC, Lakeshore, verballed to University of Michigan)
11 – Devyn Robinson (M, 6-1, Ankeny, Iowa, 2020, Iowa Power Plex/Iowa, verballed to University of Wisconsin)
12 – CC Crawford (M, 6-2, Kansas City, Mo., 2020, MAVS/Heart of America, verballed to University of Kansas)
14 – Emily Londot (M, 6-2, Utica, Ohio, 2020, Mintonette/Ohio Valley, verballed to Ohio State University)
16 – Bre Kelley (M, 6-3, Rockwall, Texas, 2021, Excel VBC/North Texas, Uncommitted)
17 – Lindsay Krause (OH, 6-3, Papillion, Neb., 2021, Nebraska Premier/Great Plains, verballed to University of Nebraska)
19 – Ally Batenhorst (OH, 6-4, Katy, Texas, 2021, Houston Juniors Volleyball/Lone Star, Uncommitted)
Head Coach: Jim Stone (USA Volleyball)
Assistant Coaches: Nicki Holmes (women’s associate head coach at George Washington University), Kelly Surrency (USA Volleyball)
Technical Coordinator: Fabian Ardila (assistant coach at Babson College)
Doctor: Dr. Jarod Keller
Team Leader: Katie Mitchell (USA Volleyball)