Volleyball routs Mexico, advances to semifinals
By Robert Weinstock
SOFIA, Bulgaria — The U.S. routed Mexico, 3-0, Wednesday to advance to the semifinal match against Japan at 7 p.m. (noon ET) Thursday.
A win against Japan could set the stage for a showdown with defending gold medalist Ukraine, which plays Russia in the other semifinal at 3 p.m. (8 a.m. ET).
The match against Mexico was a good tune-up for the U.S., and the team played much more cleanly than in its past two matches, with just four attack errors, five service errors, and one block error on its way to a 25-5, 25-12, 25-10 win.
“It was our goal to minimize errors in this match, and I think we executed that pretty well this evening,” team co-captain Katelyn Reese said.
Mexico displayed excellent technical skills, especially in serving, but was clearly overmatched.
In the first set, the U.S. took a 19-1 lead, with Ann Whited serving for 11 points and Sarah Tubert for seven. The second set started similarly, with the USA running up an 11-5 lead. Kelly Kyle had six kills in the set. In the final set, Kyle and Jessica Israel had four kills each, and Whited and Ludmila Mounty-Weinstock had three apiece.
Kyle led a balanced offense with 12 total kills in 13 attack attempts for an attack percentage of 92 percent. She was followed in the kills column by Israel with seven and Kristina Burke with six.
Sarah Tubert had 34 assists and garnered six of the team’s 13 service aces. Kyle and libero Payton Brown each had six digs, and Burke contributed five. Jessica Israel had two block solos and five block assists; Ludmila Mounty-Weinstock had two block solos; and Kyle had four block assists.
“Tonight’s match was fun for all of us. Serving was much improved, and carried all three sets,” coach Lynn Ray Boren said.
Boren also was pleased to have Sarah Tubert back in as setter.
It is not yet known whether the USA-Japan match will be live-streamed. However, Internet connection permitting, it will be live tweeted at @USA_DeafVB and @USADSF.