COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 20, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team dominated Guatemala 25-13, 25-11, 25-7 on Wednesday in Aguascalientes, Mexico, to conclude Pool A of the NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship undefeated with a 3-0 record.

The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team, by winning Pool A, has advanced directly to the semifinals on Friday. The Americans will face one of Thursday’s quarterfinal winners in the semifinal with a berth into the finals on Saturday at stake. The match can be viewed live on The winner of the NORCECA Women’s U20 Continental Championship will be awarded a berth into the 2019 FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship.

The U.S. quickly gained a 5-1 lead over Guatemala in the opening set, then charged ahead for the 25-13 victory that included a 3-0 margin in aces. The Americans scored the first four points of the second set and cruised to a 25-11 victory. Guatemala scored the first point of the third set, but the Team USA block and serve were too much as it won the set 25-7 with three blocks.

“It was a difficult match with a quick turnaround as we played late last night,” U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Head Coach Keegan Cook said. “A challenge to bring the same kind of energy that we had last night as well as the same execution. I was really pleased with our ability to stay focused all three sets, especially to finish well in the last set. Most players were being asked to do something they were not necessarily doing last night, in new roles but equally important. I think they all did a nice job.”

Outside hitter Caitlin Baird (Indianapolis, Indiana) scored a match-high 12 points for the Americans with six kills on 10 attacks and six blocks. Outside hitter Destiny Cox (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) scores nine points with four blocks, three kills and two aces. Middle Adeola Owokoniran (Raleigh, North Carolina), who came off the bench in the first set, contributed six kills on eight errorless attacks and three blocks for nine points. Outside hitter Madi Kubik (West Des Moines, Iowa) pocketed eight kills on 12 errorless swings in the victory.

“It is a great feeling,” Baird said on winning Pool A and advancing directly to the semifinals. “We are playing as a team. It is awesome to be out here and experiencing this with the girls. It is just a good win for us.”

Middle Madison Horin (Munster, Indiana) totaled four kills on six errorless attacks and an ace for five points in starting the final two sets. Opposite Skylar Fields (Missouri City, Texas), a sub in the second and third sets, charted three kills on four errorless attacks and a block. Setter Mica Allison (White Heath, Illinois) added two points with a kill and ace. Middle Molly Phillips (Mansfield, Texas), who played only briefly in the first set, scored a kill and ace for two points. Setter Amelia Tuaniga (Long Beach, California) rounded out the scoring with an ace as a reserve in all three sets.

U.S. libero Brooke Nuneviller (Chandler, Arizona) was credited with eight digs and 10 excellent receptions on 14 errorless chances. Kubik chipped in seven digs and two excellent receptions. Cox was credited with five digs.

“You never know what you are going to need, and last night proved that,” Cook said on getting 11 of his 12 players into the match. “We have a lot of capable players, who may have to a have a big role or small role. We were able to practice some of that today.”

Allison was credited with 18 running sets and Tuaniga added three running sets. The setting combination led the Americans to a 61.5 kill percent and .539 hitting efficiency (32-4-52). The U.S. held Guatemala to a 20.3 kill percent and a negative .153 hitting efficiency (12-21-59).

“We still had to play our game,” Baird said. “We had to focus more on our serves, we were hitting a lot out. But once we got to the end, we started to get them in and it was a good game.”

The Americans dominated the team stats with a 32-12 kill advantage, 14-2 margin in blocks and 6-0 lead in aces. The U.S. took advantage of 23 Guatemala errors and held its own miscues to 17.

The U.S. started Cox and Kubik at outside hitter, Owokoniran and Phillips at middle, Baird at opposite and Allison at setter. Nuneviller is the American libero for the tournament.

Owokoniran scored two kills and Cox and Baird put up blocks as the U.S. opened the first set with a 5-1 lead. Guatemala closed to within two at 8-6. Back-to-back Guatemala errors and a Phillips ace raised the American lead to 11-6. Kubik scored consecutive kills to lift the U.S. lead to 13-7. Kubik hammered a kill and Cox added a block to shift the margin to 15-8. Guatemala committed consecutive errors and Baird put up a block to raise Team USA advantage to 18-9. After a Guatemala setting error, Allison scored on a setter dump and Cox served two aces to extend the American lead to 23-11. Team USA won the set 25-13 on a Guatemala service error.

Kubik scored a kill followed by blocks from Baird and Owokoniran to give the U.S. an early 4-0 lead in the second set. Guatemala cut the deficit in half at 4-2 following an American rotation error. Owokoniran downed an overpass and Guatemala committed an error to raise Team USA’s lead to 6-3. Cox put the U.S. in front 8-4 at the first technical timeout with a kill and block. Out of the break, Guatemala hit long to place the U.S. margin at 9-4. Kubik upped the advantage to 13-7 with a block after a Guatemala service error. Baird slammed an attack and Owokoniran placed a block after a Guatemala service error to jump the lead to 16-8. Owokoniran added another block at 17-8 to cap a 4-0 run. A Baird kill and block and two Guatemala errors increased the margin to 21-9. Baird scored another block at 23-10. Team USA won the set 25-11 with a Horin kill and Guatemala error.

Guatemala scored the opening point of the third set, but Kubik and Baird scored quick kills to reverse the lead to USA at 2-1. Owokoniran, Baird and Cox built the U.S. lead to 5-2 lead with three straight kills, then Team USA raised the gap to 8-3 following two Guatemala errors and a Horin kill. Consecutive Guatemala errors, a Fields kill and Tuaniga ace yielded a 12-4 American lead. The U.S. lead reached nine points at 14-5 after a Kubik overpass kill. Fields scored a kill and block to put the U.S. in front 16-6 at the second technical timeout. Horin scored a third straight point with an ace at 17-6. Kubik launched a cross-court winner and Owokoniran tallied a block prompting Guatemala to call timeout down 19-7. Out of the break, Kubik lasered another kill and Guatemala committed an error at 21-7. Kubik blocked Guatemala, which followed with another error at 23-7. Allison served an ace to give match points at 24-7. Owokoniran blocked the final point at 25-7 to cap an 8-0 run.

2018 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team
# – Name (Position, Height, HS Grad Year, Hometown, Club, Region, College Commitment)
2 – Amelia Tuaniga (S, 5-9, Long Beach, 2020, California, Apex 1, Southern California, Long Beach State University)
3 – Brooke Nuneviller (L, 5-11, 2018, Chandler, Arizona, Aspire Volleyball Club, Arizona, University of Oregon)
5 – Mica Allison (S, 6-0, 2018, White Heath, Illinois, Illini Elite, Great Lakes, Auburn University)
6 – Selina Xu (S, 6-0, 2019, San Carlos, California, Vision Volleyball, Northern California, Uncommitted)
9 – Madi Kubik (OH, 6-2, 2019, West Des Moines, Iowa, Iowa Powerplex TPP, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
10 – Adeola Owokoniran (M, 6-2, 2018, Raleigh, North Carolina, Triangle VBC, Carolina, Duke University)
11 – Anita Anwusi (M, 6-3, 2019, Houston, Texas, Houston Juniors, Lone Star, Uncommitted)
12 – Caitlin Baird (OH, 6-3, 2019, Indianapolis, Indiana, Circle City Volleyball Club, Hoosier, Stanford University)
13 – Destiny Cox (OH, 6-3, 2018, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Triangle VBC, Carolina, University of North Carolina)
14 – Logan Eggleston (OH, 6-3, 2018, Franklin, Tennessee, Alliance Mizuno 18-1, Southern, University of Texas)
15 – Skylar Fields (OH, 6-2, 2019, Missouri City, Texas, Houston Juniors, Lone Star, University of Texas)
16 – Madison Horin (M, 6-3, 2019, Munster, Indiana, First Alliance, Great Lakes, University of Southern California)
17 – Molly Phillips (M, 6-4, 2019, Mansfield, Texas, Texas Image Volleyball, North Texas, University of Texas)

Head Coach: Keegan Cook (head coach at University of Washington)
Assistant Coaches: Rob Browning (head coach at Saint Mary’s College, California), Jenny Hazelwood (club director with Infinity Volleyball Academy)
Technical Coordinator: Jon Wong (assistant coach at Bradley University)
Doctor: Dr. William Feldner
Team Leader: Tayyiba Haneef-Park

2018 NORCEA Women’s U20 Continental Championship Schedule (times are listed as ET)

Group A
June 18: Cuba def. Guatemala 25-20, 25-14, 25-12
June 18: United States def. Puerto Rico 25-13, 25-9, 25-19
June 19: Puerto Rico def. Guatemala 25-16, 25-9, 24-26, 25-17
June 19: United States def. Cuba 20-25, 25-18, 25-19, 22-25, 15-11
June 20: United States def. Guatemala 25-13, 25-11, 25-7
June 20: Cuba def. Puerto Rico 25-20, 26-24, 20-25, 25-12

Group B
June 18: Dominican Republic def. Costa Rica 25-13, 25-17, 25-18
June 18: Mexico def. Honduras 25-7, 25-19, 25-9
June 19: Dominican Republic def. Honduras 25-16, 25-12, 25-14
June 19: Mexico def. Costa Rica 25-19, 25-9, 25-12
June 20: Costa Rica def. Honduras 25-22, 25-16, 25-22
June 20: Dominican Republic def. Mexico 26-24, 19-25, 25-22, 25-20

June 21: Cuba (2A) vs. Costa Rica (3B), 7 p.m. ET
June 22: Mexico (2B) vs. Puerto Rico (3A), 9 p.m. ET

Classification 5-8
June 22: Guatemala (4A) vs. Quarterfinal Round Loser, 3 p.m. ET (Match 13)
June 22: Honduras (4B) vs. Quarterfinal Round Loser, 5 p.m. ET (Match 14)

June 22: United States (1A) vs. Quarterfinal Winner, 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET
June 22: Dominican Republic (1B) vs. Quarterfinal Winner, 7 p.m. or 9 p.m. ET

Final Classification 7-8
June 23: Losers of Match 13 and 14, 3 p.m. ET

Final Classification 5-6
June 23: Winners of Match 13 and 14, 5 p.m. ET

Bronze Medal
June 23: Semifinal losers, 7 p.m. ET

Gold Medal
June 23: Semifinal winners, 9 p.m. ET