COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept 6, 2016) – The U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team (GYNT) recovered from a 7-3 deficit in the fifth set and scored the match’s final six points to defeat host Puerto Rico 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 20-25, 15-10 Tuesday evening in the semifinals of the NORCECA Women’s U18 Continental Championship in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In addition to booking a ticket to the NORCECA championship match to play Dominican Republic on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET, Team USA clinched a berth into the 2017 FIVB Women’s U18 World Championship. The GYNT is now 4-0 in the tournament, including a five-set win over Dominican Republic to conclude Pool B. Dominican Republic is the reigning champion of the biennial event, though Team USA has won seven of the previous nine tournaments.

U.S. opposite Haley Warner (Fayetteville, Arkansas, Ozark Juniors) produced a match-high 16 points with 11 kills, four blocks and an ace. Outside hitter Logan Eggleston (Franklin, Tennessee, Alliance VBC) contributed 15 points in the victory, including nine kills, four blocks and two aces. Middle Kendall Kipp (Newport Beach, California, Momentous VBC) added 11 points with six kills, a team-best four aces and a block. 

Outside hitter Brooklyn Schirmer (Long Beach, California, Mizuno Long Beach VBC) contributed 10 points with eight kills and two blocks. Skylar Fields (Missouri City, Texas, Houston Juniors), the opposite in the double-sub in all five sets, turned in 10 points off the bench with nine kills and a block. Middle Serena Gray (San Gabriel, California, San Gabriel Elite) pocketed four kills, three blocks and an ace for eight points.

Erin O’Leary (Novi, Michigan, Legacy VBC), the setter in the double-sub all five sets, added two aces and a kill. Allison Martinez (Montebello, California, San Gabriel Elite) served two aces as the serving sub in all five sets. Rounding out the scoring was middle Sophia Dorsch-Summers (Beaverton, Oregon, Athena Volleyball Club) and starting setter Ella Powell (Fayetteville, Arkansas, Ozark Juniors) scoring a kill.

Puerto Rico picked up an early 6-2 lead in the tiebreaker. Team USA scored six unanswered with Kipp serving, including two aces, to yield a 9-7 American lead. But three USA errors swung the lead back to Puerto Rico at 10-9. Fields and Warner answered with consecutive kills and Puerto Rico followed with an error and Warner block and kill to lift the USA in front 14-10. Eggleston ended the set with an overpass kill at 15-10 as Team USA scored the final six points of the set.

The U.S. converted 36.5 percent of its attacks into points with a .182 hitting efficiency (50-25-137) as Powell was credited with 12 running sets on 84 total set attempts and O’Leary adding five running sets on 33 total set attempts. Team USA held Puerto Rico to a 26.2 kill percent and .087 hitting efficiency (33-22-126).

USA libero Brooke Nuneviller (Chandler, Arizona, Aspire VBC) was credited with 13 digs and a team-high 20 excellent receptions on 30 errorless chances. Eggleston turned in 14 excellent receptions on 36 chances and 11 digs. Schirmer added nine digs and 12 excellent receptions on 23 chances.

Team USA overcame 51 errors – over half of Puerto Rico points – to win thanks to a strong 15-8 block advantage and a 50-33 kill margin. The GYNT also held a 12-9 edge in aces, despite 20 service errors.

Puerto Rico was led by Sofia Victoria’s 12 points.

Puerto Rico went out to a 12-8 lead in the opening set and went on to win 25-19 to take early control of the match. Team USA used a 4-0 run to take an 8-4 lead at the second set’s first technical timeout, but Puerto Rico came back to level the set at 12-all. The U.S. answered with a 6-1 run to take a 19-14 advantage, but Puerto Rico charged back again to level the score at 20-all. Gray ended the run with a kill and Martinez followed with an ace for a 22-20 Team USA lead. Kipp put up a block between two Puerto Rico errors to give the U.S. a 25-21 win. The U.S. continued the momentum with a 6-1 lead to start the third set, but Puerto Rico came back to square the set at 8-all. Eggleston sparked a 3-0 run with a kill and ace to give the U.S. a 13-10 advantage. After Puerto Rico closed to one at 14-13, Team USA rolled off four straight to build an 18-13 margin and made the lead hold up for a 25-20 victory.

Puerto Rico bolted to an 8-3 lead in the fourth set with four unanswered points. Team USA used a 5-1 run, highlighted by a kill and ace from Kipp, to close to within one at 9-8. Martinez served an ace to level the score at 11-all, then O’Leary served an ace lifting the USA in front 13-12, but Puerto Rico answered with two straight to reverse the lead to its side at 14-13 and built the lead to 18-14. Puerto Rico closed out the set at 25-20 to force the fifth set.

The GYNT is comprised of 12 players born in 2000 or 2001 and all making their debuts in an international NORCECA or FIVB tournament.

The top team in each pool advances directly to the semifinals on Sept. 6, while the second- and third-place teams play crossover quarterfinals on Sept. 5. The biennial tournament concludes on Sept. 7 with the final classification matches, including the medal round matches. The top two teams will advance to next year’s age-group FIVB World Championship, and Team USA has won silver in each of the last two biennial age-group World Championship events.

USA Starters:
M – Sophia Dorsch-Summers and Kendall Kipp
OH – Logan Eggleston and Brooklyn Schirmer
OPP – Haley Warner
S – Ella Powell
L – Brooke Nuneviller

USA Scoring
Points – Haley Warner 16, Logan Eggleston 15, Kendall Kipp 11, Skylar Fields 10, Brooklyn Schirmer 10, Serna Gray 8, Erin O’Leary 3, Allison Martinez 2, Sophia Dorsch-Summers 1, Ella Powell 1. Team USA 104, PUERTO RICO 101
Kills – Haley Warner 11, Logan Eggleston 9, Skylar Fields 9, Brooklyn Schirmer 8, Kendall Kipp 6, Serena Gray 4, Ella Powell 1, Sophia Dorsch-Summers 1, Erin O’Leary 1. TEAM USA 50, PUERTO RICO 33.
Blocks – Logan Eggleston 4, Haley Warner 4, Serena Gray 3, Brooklyn Schirmer 2, Kendall Kipp 1, Skylar Fields 1. TEAM USA 15, PUERTO RICO 8.
Aces – Kendall Kipp 4, Erin O’TEAM USA 12, PUERTO RICO 9.

2016 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team
Name (Position, Hometown, Height, HS Grad Year, Volleyball Club, Region)
4 – Sophia Dorsch-Summers (M, Beaverton, Oregon, 6-3, 2019, Athena Volleyball Academy, Columbia Empire)
5 – Logan Eggleston (OH, Franklin, Tennessee, 6-2, 2019, Alliance VBC, Southern)
6 – Skylar Fields (OH, Missouri City, Texas, 6-2, 2019, Houston Juniors, Lone Star)
7 – Serena Gray (M, San Gabriel, California, 6-3, 2018, San Gabriel Elite VBC, Southern California)
8 – Mia Grunze (OH, Waterford, Wisconsin, 6-2, 2018, Milwaukee Sting, Badger)
10 – Kendall Kipp (M, Newport Beach, California, 6-4, 2019, Momentous VBC, Southern California)
12 – Allison Martinez (OH, Montebello, California, 6-0, 2018, San Gabriel Elite, Southern California)
13 – Brooke Nuneviller (L, Chandler, Arizona, 5-10, 2018, Aspire VBC, Arizona)
14 – Erin O’Leary (S, Novi, Michigan, 5-10, 2018, Legacy VBC, Lakeshore)
17 – Ella Powell (S, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 6-0, 2018, Ozark Juniors, Delta)
20 – Brooklyn Schirmer (OH, Long Beach, California, 6-1, 2018, Mizuno Long Beach VBC, Southern California)
23 – Haley Warner (OH, Fayetteville, Arkansas, 6-1, 2018, Ozark Juniors, Delta)

Head Coach: Erin Virtue
Assistant Coaches: Stacy Sykora, Kayla Cole
Technical Coordinator: Nicki Holmes
Physiotherapist: Molly Mattea
Team Leader: Denise Sheldon

2016 NORCECA Women’s U18 Continental Championship Schedule (all times ET)

Pool A
Sept. 2: Mexico def. Costa Rica 25-20, 25-16, 25-16
Sept. 2: Puerto Rico def. French St. Martin 25-5, 25-4, 25-4
Sept. 3: Mexico def. French St. Martin 25-1, 25-6, 25-2
Sept. 3: Puerto Rico def. Costa Rica 25-10, 25-3, 27-25
Sept. 4: Costa Rica def. French St. Martin 25-8, 25-7, 25-8
Sept. 4: Mexico def. Puerto Rico 25-18, 25-17, 26-24

Pool B
Sept. 2: USA def. Guatemala 25-12, 25-12, 25-10
Sept. 2: Dominican Republic def. Barbados 25-10, 25-13, 25-13
Sept. 3: USA def. Barbados 25-13, 25-8, 25-11
Sept. 3: Dominican Republic def. Guatemala 25-7, 25-9, 25-11
Sept. 4: Guatemala def. Barbados 16-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-18
Sept. 4: USA def. Dominican Republic 25-23, 14-25, 23-25, 25-23, 16-14

Sept. 5: Dominican Republic (2B) def. Costa Rica (3A) 25-15, 25-11, 25-17
Sept. 5: Puerto Rico (2A) def. Guatemala (3B) 25-10, 25-11, 25-15

Classification 5-8
Sept. 6: Costa Rica (3A) def. Barbados (4B) 25-10, 25-9, 25-12
Sept. 6: Guatemala (3B) def. French St. Martin 25-10, 25-7, 25-7

Sept. 6: Dominican Republic (2B) def. Mexico (1A) 25-18, 25-16, 25-21
Sept. 6: USA (1B) def. Puerto Rico (2B) 19-25, 25-21, 25-20, 20-25, 15-10

Final Classification Matches
Sept. 7: Barbados vs. French St. Martin, 2 p.m. (7th Place)
Sept. 7: Costa Rica vs. Guatemala, 4 p.m. (5th Place)
Sept. 7: Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, 6 p.m. (Bronze Medal)
Sept. 7: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 8 p.m. (Gold Medal)