Trinidad Recap and Players' Perspective

July 06, 2008, 6:07 p.m. (ET)

July 6, 2008 at Puerto Rico

We opted to skip the 7:00 a.m. training session today for sleep. Breakfast at 8:30 and video at 9 a.m. The team was relaxed today as Trinidad and Tobago should be an easy match for us. We eat at 11:30 and hop on the bus. Since both teams leave the complex at the same time we were delayed by Trinidad getting to the bus but not enough to cause concern. 40 minutes on the bouncy bus before the police escort joins us as we enter the city limits. The escort is nice but cars don’t seem to move for them as in the U.S. The players have typed some blogs that I will include with this report. On to the match.

Starters: Kreklow at setter, Denney and Dixon in the middle, Wopat left, Wittman and Reeves right and Bonilla at Libero. USA started out ahead and builds upon it. USA leads at the first technical. Trinidad struggle with service rotation giving two free points to USA. USA leads 16-6. Trinidad Tobago isn’t offering much challenge for USA as we advance to a 22-7 lead in the first set. Jack from Trinidad brings some head down our right side line but cannot. USA wins set one 25-8.

Set II USA starts the same line-up. USA with a quick jump to 6-2. Jack again hammers the line for a kill and a stuff block to bring Trinidad within three 4-7. Reeves with a kill to take us into the first technical 8-4. Scullion in for Wopat after a service error. Trinidad holds within three keeping pressure on USA with out of system plays. Two uncontested slides and a service ace USA leads 13-7. USA leads 16-7 entering the technical. Wopat back in for Scullion. Block coverage by Reeves and a backrow kill USA adds two. Another uncontested slide by Dixon. Two Service aces by Denney USA leads 21-7. forcing a timeout by Trinidad. Two service ace points takes Trinidad to 9. Set Point for USA, Trinidad goes to Jack and she delivers. Setting error by Kreklow, Trinidad 11-24. Trinidad again goes to jack but she hits it long giving USA set two 25-11.

Set III USA starts: Hutson and Denney as middles, Wittman and Reeves on the left, Orozco on the right and Kreklow setting. Wittman with the first big kill and two service aces and error free play takes USA to Technical one 8-1. Wittman still serving, USA error free leading 13-1. Overpass kill by Orozco and USA subs Thomas in for Kreklow. Jack fires one down the line at Thomas for a kill. Pass by Bonilla and reeves is wide open on the outside. Kill by Denney out of the middle and USA goes into Technical two 16-2. Hutson digs before leaving from a hitting error by USA. Jack beat the USA block for a kill Trinidad 4-17. Kill by reeves, ace by Orozco USA 19-5. USA with two errors bring Trinidad to 6-19. Ace followed with a service error by Reeves 21-7. A service fault by Trinidad, Ace then error by Denney. USA struggles with serving but Trinidad gave back the service error giving us match point. Thomas serves an Ace to finish the match 25-8.

We face U.S. Virgin Islands tomorrow at 6 p.m. We anticipate a win putting us first in our pool and giving us a day off on Tuesday. We practice at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

We are inviting the parents here to join us for dinner. It will be nice for the girls to relax a bit with their family. By Tuesday, almost all of the teams' parents will be here. We will need the fans if we face Puerto Rico in the finals. 25 from USA versus 4500 from Puerto Rico.

Blogs from the U.S. Girls' Youth National Team

Tori Dixon
July 6, 2008

So far, this trip has been AWESOMEEEE!

Puerto Rico is AWESOME! It’s currently raining so its not so awesome right now. The food is good, especially the rice. Not having air conditioning is NAWESOME.

It was a rough day yesterday. I had to get up at 3 a.m. in the morning, got picked up at 3:45 and began our journey across the USA to Puerto Rico. It was quite the voyage. When we got to the airport in Dallas, we had to wait there for them to set up everything for about 45 minutes. It was nawesome.

We flew to Orlando, then to Puerto Rico. When we went to pick up our luggage, there were dancers everywhere with music and drums. We got picked up by this bus and we got 2 police escorts. I felt rather important. I asked the coordinator Heath Hoke why we had escorts and he said, “Because that’s how we roll.”

The five who flew into Puerto Rico this morning went straight to the gym and later that night we played the Dominican republic and won in three. That was definitely AWESOME.

Check back later for updates on how awesome Puerto Rico is! And by the way, they speak Spanish here so I cant understand anything! That’s nawesome. ADIOS AMIGOS!

NAWESOME= not awesome

Erica Denney
July 6, 2008

I love it here. It is gorgeous and just a great place to be.

Right now we are on the bus driving to the playing site preparing to play Trinidad and Tobago. It is an hour drive but it is worth it because we go through the mountains and they are breathtaking. It has been raining on and off all day, which has been great because it helps to cool off the incredibly hot weather.

Today is my first full day here because I had to fly here from Texas after nationals which took almost all day but got here in time for our first match and we WON!!! Today so far all we have done (other than eating and the bus ride) is watch film in order to improve from last night.

The only problem about that part of our day was that we had to hike up and down an incredibly steep hill that we attempted to run up, but were unsuccessful and ended up just walking because our legs were burning.

So far this has been an awesome experience and look forward to the days to come!

Jennifer Bonilla
July 6, 2008

Our trip so far has been a great experience. Last night we had our first victory against the Dominican Republic. It was definitely a good way to start the tournament.

The accommodations are great and the food is delicious! It has been quite an experience communicating with the locals in Puerto Rico. My Spanish skills have been coming in handy.

I am enjoying the culture and this beautiful country, and if we continue to play together, we leave Puerto Rico as champions.