U.S. Junior Women's Volleyball team dominates Dominican Republic at Worlds
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- In front of a neutral crowd of nearly 1,000 Thai volleyball fans, the U.S. Women's Junior National Team defeated the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-12) Tuesday on the fourth day of competition at the FIVB U-20 Junior World Championship in Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Head coach Andy Banachowski stuck with the same starting lineup from Sunday's win over Thailand. Taylor Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) shared setting duties in the back row, while alternating as opposite hitters in the front. The middle blocking tandem of Zoe Garrett (Laguna Beach, Calif.) and Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) returned to the floor, along with outside hitters Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Kimmee Roleder (Pasadena, Calif.). Tara Mueller (Scottsdale, Ariz.) continued as the libero. Jen Doris (Houston, Texas) took Gibbemeyer's place in the third set.
The Americans gathered 23 points from the Dominican Republic errors in the sweep, but also gave away 16 points on errors of their own.
Roleder dominated the match, leading the U.S. with 10 kills, one block and an ace. Murphy also turned in a solid performance with seven kills, one block and four aces.
"I'm happy that my girls won easily today. We served well," Banachowski said. "It was much easier than the match against Thailand yesterday. However, it will be much tougher against China. They are very strong."
The victory, along with Germany's loss to Thailand, moves Team USA into sole possession of second place going into Tuesday's match against undefeated China.
After four days of pool play, Team USA has a cast of players ranked in the event's performance categories. Garrett is currently slotted in second place with 16 blocks, averaging 1.23 per set. Murphy's 10 aces, four of which came in Monday's match with Dominican Republic, are good for second in the serving category. Mueller, with 18 digs converted into transition points and 29 rebound-digs, is in fourth place among the defenders.
The U.S. Junior Women will face China at 6 p.m. (7 a.m. EST) on Tuesday. After a day of rest, the top-two teams in each pool advance to the semifinals (4 p.m. or 6 p.m.) on Thursday. The winners of the semifinals face off for the World Championship at 4 p.m. on Friday at the Mall Convention Center Hall.