2017 NORCECA MEN’S WORLD QUALIFIER
- September 26-October 1
- Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Live Scoring
- Watch Live
- Day 1 Recap
- Day 2 Recap
- Day 3 Recap
- Day 4 Recap
- Stats Summary Through Semi-Finals
A David-versus-Goliath final is set up for the 2017 NORCECA Men’s Championship and World Championship qualifier.
The United States, who haven’t lost a set in 4 games in this tournament, will play the Dominican Republic, who have never finished better than 4th at this tournament, in Sunday’s final. With the wins, the U.S. and Dominican guaranteed qualification for the 2018 World Championships – which will be the Dominican men’s first appearance since 1979.
USA def. Canada 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-21)
The Americans avenged their loss from the bronze medal game of this summer’s FIVB World League with a 3-0 sweep of Canada in the semi-finals. Two big differences from that match are that the Americans have their full complement of weapons back (including Aaron Russell, who seems to be fully recovered from his injury in the spring), and the home-crowd advantage of 3,100 fans in Colorado Springs.
Russell scored 15 points, all of which came from kills on 22 swings and just 1 error. The Americans played an incredibly-clean game, with only 6 hitting errors in the match.
The American service game was boom-or-bust, but in spite of the same high error count they’ve had issues with all summer, the tone was that the aggressiveness paid off this time.
“I think our serve and pass game was great tonight,” American captain Micah Christenson said. “We put a lot of pressure on them with our serve.”
While the Americans had 7 aces (3 each from Micah Christenson and Matt Anderson), they also had 22 service errors in the game. Canada had no aces, but also only 13 service errors, for a net 2-point advantage on direct service points.
Canadian captain Gordon Perrin felt the same way. “(The U.S.) served really well. With this ball it’s very difficult to hold the serves. We were really bad in reception and we couldn’t run any plays. They played free and they definitely won the serve and pass game this time.”
Canada was led in scoring by 11 kills (and 11 points) from outside hitter Stephen Maar. He landed 61% of his shots, part of a 45% effort for Canada – which is an efficient rate for a 3-set sweep loss.
“It’s become a pretty awesome rivalry (between the U.S. and Canada),” said Christenson. “We’re in the same zone. We’ve played them a couple times over the past year and they’ve gotten the better of us. All credit to them. They are world class.”
Canada will now face Mexico in the semi-finals, the winner of which qualifies for the World Championships.
Dominican def. Mexico 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-23)
The Domincan countered an emotional Mexican team with a big blocking game (9-6 advantage) and a big service game (9-5 ace advantage) to win and advance to their first ever NORCECA Championship game.
The Dominicans, who are playing with a short bench, relied on their starters for all but 1 of the team’s points in the match. They had 3 players in double figures, led by 14 from Wilfrido Hernandez Encarnacion.
“This is the first time we’ve gone to the World Championships since 1979, if I’m not mistaken,”Encarnacion said. “I am very happy and very excited because of the work that we’ve done. We worked very good together. When I play volleyball I forget everything, my problems, and I just enjoy the game.”
Wilfrido Hernandez added 10 kills and 4 aces to get his 14-points stat-line, while Pedro Luis Garcia Toribio matched him with 4 aces as well.
Neither team hit that well – Dominican Republic landed only 46% of their shots, while Mexico landed just 44% of theirs. Dominican did have a big advantage in service reception, with 63% excellent receipts.
“I’m very happy (with my team),” Dominican head coach Gladston Samuels said. “They block. They fight. They have high spirits. They were focused. They played very well. Very exciting match. This is the first time they go to the World Championship. Never did they go there, this is the first time. Very good for them.”