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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 10, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team, behind Thayer Hall’s (Moore, South Carolina, Upward Stars) 14 points, defeated Dominican Republic 25-22, 21-25, 25-22, 25-21 on the final day of U20 Women’s Pan American Cup pool play Wednesday evening in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The U.S., which finished Pool A with a 2-0 record and eight standings points including yesterday’s 3-1 win over Argentina, will face Pool B’s second-place team Uruguay (1-1) in the quarterfinals on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The top two first-place teams in the three pools move on to the semifinals, while the third-best pool winner joins the three second-place finishers in the quarterfinals. The tournament concludes on Saturday with the final classification matches and two berths at to the 2017 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship at stake.

Hall, the only American on the 12-player roster who will still be high school this fall, started the match slow in the scoring column, but ended up with a team-leading 14 points with 12 kills and two blocks from her outside hitter spot. Middle Regan Pittman (Spring Hill, Kansas, University of Minnesota) added 10 points on seven kills, two blocks and an ace.

“I thought Dominican Republic played at a very high level and put a lot of pressure on us,” U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Head Coach Jerritt Elliott said. “But I thought our team responded at a very high level. We were able to get some different players into the game and tried out a 6-2 a little bit and some success trying to get some rhythm with that. This team has been really good at make some little adjustments and finding ways to win and sticking together. We showed a lot grit tonight and I am really proud of them. It was a much needed win to advance. We are on to the playoffs, and we will take it one match from here. This is an incredible bunch of women who are dedicated to the USA process. It is a joy to coach them.”

Opposite Mackenzie May (Dubuque, Iowa, UCLA) contributed nine points via eight kills and an ace. Middle Brionne Butler (Kendleton, Texas, University of Texas) notched a team-best five blocks to go with four kills for nine points in playing just the first three sets. Outside Khalia Lanier (Scottsdale, Arizona, University of Southern California) pocketed six kills and two blocks for eight points. Setter MacKenzi Welsh (Bolingbrook, Illinois, University of Michigan) tacked on four points with two blocks, one ace and one kill.

“Today was another great team win,” Welsh said. “We are exciting to win the pool and make the playoffs. I am really proud of how the team fought. I am looking forward to the match tomorrow.”

Middle Elle Sandbothe (Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Kansas State University) scored one kill, one block and an ace for three points coming off the bench. Rounding out the scoring were opposites Mikayla Shields (Orlando, Florida, University of South Carolina) and Holly Carlton (Sterling, Virginia, University of North Carolina) each scoring a kill as reserves in the double-sub.

The U.S. out-blocked Dominican Republic 14-11 and held a slim 4-3 margin in aces. Dominican Republic held a sizeable 53-41 advantage in kills, but the Americans benefited from 37 Dominican errors and held their miscues to 23 for the match. The U.S. convert 33.3 percent of its attacks with a .195 hitting efficiency (41-17-123), while the American defense limited Dominican Republic to a .188 hitting efficiency (53-25-149).

American libero Tiffany Clark (Naperville, Illinois) and Hall each supplied seven digs in the victory. Lanier totaled a team-high 11 excellent receptions on 37 chances while Clark added eight excellent receptions on 21 chances. Welsh was credited with 18 running sets on 64 total set attempts, while Madison Lilley (Overland Park, Kansas, University of Kentucky) added 10 running sets on 35 chances in her limited action off the bench.

The U.S. started Welsh at setter, Hall and Lanier at outside, May at opposite, Butler and Pittman at middle and Clark as the libero. Lilley started the second set and was a sub in the third and fourth sets as Welsh returned to the starting lineup. Sandbothe was a sub in the second and third sets, then started the fourth in place of Butler. Carlton was used as the double sub opposite in the third and fourth sets, while Shields held the same role in the second set.

Dominican Republic, which qualified for the FIVB U20 World Championship last summer by defeating the U.S. in the 2016 NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship in Florida, ended pool play with a 0-2 record.

Cuba, which won Pool C with a 2-0 record and a 1.32 points ratio, has booked its ticket to the semifinals. The nine-team tournament, broken into three pools of three countries in the preliminary round, features teams from neighboring confederation zones NORCECA (North America, Central America and Caribbean) and South America with the top finisher from each zone earning bids to the 2017 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship.

U.S. Women’s Junior National Team for 2017 U20 Women’s Pan American Cup

# – Name (Position, 2017 Club/College, Height, Hometown, Region)

1 – Brionne Butler (M, University of Texas, 6-4, Kendleton, Texas, Lone Star)

2 – Tiffany Clark (L, TBA, 5-11, Naperville, Illinois, Great Lakes)

3 – Thayer Hall (OH, Upward Stars, 6-3, Moore, South Carolina, Palmetto)

4 – Paige Hammons (OH, University of Florida, 6-2, Louisville, Kentucky, Pioneer)

5 – Khalia Lanier (OH, University of Southern California, 6-2, Scottsdale, Arizona, Arizona)

6 – Madison Lilley (S, University of Kentucky, 6-0, Overland Park, Kansas, Heart of America)

7 – Mackenzie May (OH, UCLA, 6-3, Dubuque, Iowa, Iowa)

8 – Regan Pittman (M, University of Minnesota, 6-5, Spring Hill, Kansas, Heart of America)

9 – Holly Carlton (OPP, University of North Carolina, 6-7, Sterling, Virginia, Chesapeake)

10 – Elle Sandbothe (M, Kansas State University, 6-0, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Heart of America)

14 – Mikayla Shields (OPP, University of South Carolina, 6-0, Orlando, Florida, Florida)

15 – MacKenzi Welsh (S, University of Michigan, 6-1, Bolingbrook, Illinois, Great Lakes)

Head Coach: Jerritt Elliott (head coach at University of Texas)

Assistant Coach: Paula Weishoff (head coach at Concordia University Irvine)

Assistant Coach/Statistician: Kevin Inlow (graduate assistant at University of Texas)

Team Leader: Tom Pingel (USA Volleyball High Performance)

2017 U20 Women’s Pan American Cup Schedule (all times ET)

Group A

May 8: Argentina def. Dominican Republic 25-17, 25-18, 25-20

May 9: United States def. Argentina 25-23, 25-19, 15-25, 25-21

May 10: United States vs. Dominican Republic, 7:30 p.m.

Group B

May 8: Uruguay def. Costa Rica 25-21, 25-18, 22-25, 26-24

May 9: Puerto Rico def. Uruguay 25-16, 25-19, 25-14

May 10: Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico, 9:30 p.m.

Group C

May 8: Cuba def. Chile 25-17, 25-11, 25-12

May 9: Peru def. Chile 25-23, 25-16, 25-20

May 10: Cuba def. Peru 29-27, 26-24, 18-25, 25-15

Classification for 9th Place

May 11: Costa Rica vs. Chile, 9:30 p.m.

Quarterfinals

May 11: Argentina (2A) vs. Peru (2C), 5:30 p.m.

May 11: United States (1A) vs. Uruguay (2B), 7:30 p.m.

Final Classification 7/8

May 12: best 3rd Place Pool vs. winner of lowest two 3rd Place Pool Teams, 5:30 p.m.

Semifinals

12: Cuba (1C) vs. Quarterfinal winner (TBA), 7:30 p.m.

May 12: Puerto Rico (1B) vs. Quarterfinal winner (TBA), 9:30 p.m.

Final Classification 5/6

May 13: Quarterfinal losers, 5:30 p.m.

Medal Round Matches

May 13: Semifinal losers, 7:30 p.m. (bronze medal)

May 13: Semifinal winners, 9:30 p.m. (gold medal)