Guatemala gives U.S. men's volleyball a tussle but loses

By: News services
May 18, 2014 Updated: May 18, 2014 at 9:30 pm

The United States earned a berth to the 2014 FIVB World Championship by sweeping Guatemala 25-18, 25-22, 25-15 in the men's NORCECA World Championship Qualification Tournament third round that concluded Sunday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Guatemala will compete in the final round of NORCECA World Championship, joining the three second-place finishers in other pools to determine NORCECA's fifth and final team in the 24-country FIVB World Championship.

David Lee sparked the U.S. with 11 points, including four blocks. Carson Clark matched his total with 11 points in victory.

"In the finals you have to expect that a team not only will play their best against us but also will be more aggressive than last time," USA captain Sean Rooney said. "Last time we beat them pretty handily. Their only choice is to step up their game from the service line and be more aggressive in attack and that's what they did. For us, we had to turn it on right away in order to compete and beat them the way we wanted to."

Andy Leonardo led Guatemala with 10 points.

The U.S. held a 5-2 advantage in blocks and a 36-24 margin in kills. Both had six aces.

The Americans did not lose a set in the tournament, yielding an average of 11.67 points per set during pool play.

"It was probably a little tougher than we expected," USA coach Sean Speraw said. "In retrospect, maybe we should have.

"They did some different things that we didn't see in the first match. We didn't play our best volleyball but we got the win, so off to world champs we go."

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