U.S. GYNT Rolls Past the Dominican Republic

Aug. 08, 2015, 1:48 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 8, 2015)—The U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team opened up FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship pool play by defeating the Dominican Republic 25-15, 25-17, 25-17 using an 11-0 block advantage on Saturday in Lima, Peru.

The U.S., which was idle on Friday to start the tournament, faces Argentina on Sunday in its second Pool C match. Team USA rounds out the five-team group on Monday versus Russia and on Tuesday versus Belgium. All three matches are at 11 a.m. ET.

“We have so much respect for the Dominican team and I know that they will show their real level soon,” U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team Head Coach Jim Stone said. “On the other hand, we are going to continue working in order to achieve our best results.”

Outside hitter Lexi Sun (Encinitas, Calif.) led the team with a match-high 17 points via 11 kills on 19 swings, four blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Khalia Lanier (Scottsdale, Ariz.) contributed 13 points with 10 kills on 15 attacks and three aces. Setter Kathryn Plummer (Aliso Viejo, Calif.,) also pocketed 10 points via four kills, four blocks and two aces.

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Middle blocker Regan Pittman (Spring Hill, Kan.) tacked on nine points for Team USA with seven kills and two aces, while middle blocker Ronika Stone (San Jose, Calif.) posted seven points via six kills and one block.

Setter Sydney Hilley (Brooklyn Park, Minn.) rounded out the scoring with one block to go with 20 running sets on 53 chances as Team USA converted 62.3 percent of its attacks with a .525 hitting efficiency (38-6-61).

The Americans held a 9-5 advantage in aces. Team USA managed a 38-26 margin in kills. Team USA’s defense held Dominican Republic to a 32.5 kill percent and .100 hitting efficiency (26-18-80).

“We have played against the Dominican Republic before, for this reason today we expected a more difficult match,” Plummer said. “We were so anxious to play and we are happy for winning our first match.”

Team USA hit the court with a momentum that the Dominicans couldn’t stop as the Americans went on a 7-1 run to start off the first set.  The Dominicans whittled the gap twice, but the U.S. pulled away a final time and took the set 25-15.

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Set two mirrored the first as Team USA again started off the set with a 7-1 lead.  The play continued at a fast pace that the Dominicans couldn’t keep up with. The Dominican Republic managed to get within two points of the U.S., but a strong defensive front expanded the lead and the U.S. took set two 25-17.

The Dominicans came out in the third set ready to battle as they hung with the Americans and took its first lead of the match. However, the U.S. turned the pressure back on after a Lanier’s go-ahead kill. Team USA finished off the match with a 9-4 run that sealed the set, 25-17.

Group play will be held from Aug. 7-12, followed by bracket play Aug. 14-16. Pool A consists of Egypt, Korea, Mexico, Peru and Chinese Tapei. Pool B is made up of China, Germany, Poland and Serbia. Pool C is comprised of Argentina, Belgium, Dominican Republic, Russia and USA. While Pool D contains Brazil, Cuba, Italy, Japan and Turkey.

2015 U.S. Girls' Youth National Team
Name (Position, Height, Hometown, Club, Region)
Brionne Butler (MB, 6-3, East Bernard, Texas, Texstar, Lone Star Region)
2 Tiffany Clark (L, 5-11, Naperville, Ill., Sports Performance, Great Lakes Region)
3 Paige Hammons (OH, 6-2, Louisville, Ky., Kentucky Indiana Volleyball Association, Pioneer Region)
6 Morgan Hentz (L, 5-9, Lakeside Park, Ky., Northern Kentucky Volleyball Club, Pioneer Region)
7 Sydney Hilley (S, 5-11, Brooklyn Park, Minn., Minnesota Select, North Country Region)
Khalia Lanier (OH, 6-2, Scottsdale, Ariz., AZ Storm, Arizona Region)
9 Madison Lilley (S, 5-11, Overland Park, Kan., KC Power, Heart of America Region)
12 Regan Pittman (MB, 6-4, Spring Hill, Kan., KC Power, Heart of America Region)
13 Stephanie Samedy (MB, 6-2, Clermont, Fla., Top Select Volleyball Academy, Florida Region)
14 Kathryn Plummer (S, 6-6, Aliso Viejo, Calif., Tstreet Volleyball Club, Southern California Region)
19 Ronika Stone (MB, 6-2, San Jose, Calif., Vision Volleyball Club, Northern California Region)
20 Lexi Sun (OH, 6-3, Encinitas, Calif., Coast VBC, Southern California Region)

Head Coach: Jim Stone
Assistant Coaches: Lindsey Devine, Michelle Chatman
Technical Coordinator: Jared Hazel
Team Leader: Erin Leaser

World Championship Schedule—Lima, Peru
Aug. 8:
 USA def Dominican Republic 25-15, 25-17, 25-17
Aug. 9: USA vs. Argentina 11 a.m ET
Aug. 10: USA vs. Russia 11 a.m. ET 
Aug. 11: USA vs. Belgium 11 a.m. ET.
Aug 14-16: Depends on pool play

Pool C Standings (Points, Matches W-L)
1 Belgium (6, 2-0)
2 USA (3, 1-0)
3 Russia (3, 1-0)
4 Dominican Republic (0, 0-2)
5 Argentina (0, 0-2)