U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Blocks Costa Rica at NORCECA

July 23, 2008, 5:12 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Manager, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: bill.kauffman@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 23, 2008) – The 2008 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team blanked Costa Rica 25-12, 25-14, 25-11 with a 15-2 block advantage on the second competition day of the NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship at Saltillo, Mexico.

Team USA (1-1) concludes Pool A play on July 24 against Canada (1-0, plays Dominican Republic later today) at 6 p.m. The winners of Pool A and Pool B advance directly to the semifinals on July 26, while the second-place teams face the third-place teams in crossover quarterfinals on July 25.

Hayley Spelman (Las Vegas, Nev.) scored a match-high 15 points with nine kills on 18 swings and six blocks. Sha’Dare McNeal (Fallbrook, Calif.) added 11 points on the strength of seven kills on nine attacks and four blocks. Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif.) contributed eight points in the victory, while Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill.) and Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) each tacked on six points. Dorton and Frederick each charted five digs in the match to lead the U.S.

Cat Highmark (Huntington Beach, Calif.) recorded four points to go with four assists, followed by three points each from Hannah Werth (Springfield, Ill.) and Bailey Webster (Baltimore, Md.). Anne Luhrsen (Wheaton, Ill.) rounded the scoring with a single tally. Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) recorded 11 of the team’s 20 excellent service receptions on 16 total attempts.

The U.S. started Luhrsen at setter, McNeal and Bartsch at middle blocker, Dorton and Frederick at outside hitter and Spelman at opposite. Carpenter is the designated libero for Team USA at the NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship. Highmark started the second and third sets in place of Luhrsen. Werth came off the bench in the second set and started the third set. Webster was a sub in all three sets, while Gina Mancuso (Bellevue, Neb.) was subbed into the match in the third set.

The U.S. converted 55.9 percent of its attacks into kills while limiting Costa Rica to a 20.5 percent. In addition to its net defense advantage, Team USA held a 15-9 margin in digs. The U.S. gained a 4-1 edge in service aces. The Americans received 35 serves for the match and turned 20 into excellent passes. In contrast, Costa Rica turned in 18 excellent service receptions on 65 attempts.

Angie Arias Arias provided Costa Rica with a team-high 10 points, all on kills. Allison Ramirez Vargas added four points.

Later today, Dominican Republic plays Canada at 6 p.m. in Pool A action. Pool B matches today include Puerto Rico versus Trinidad & Tobago at 4 p.m. and host Mexico versus Cuba at 8 p.m.

After Costa Rica held a 7-6 edge early in the first set, Team USA erupted for eight unanswered points as Dorton racked up two kills. The U.S. pushed its margin to 17-8 as Bartsch connected on two quick attacks. Costa Rica scored three of the next four points to close to 18-11, but only scored once more the rest of the set as McNeal scored three straight points during the run.

The U.S. slowly built a 9-4 lead in the second set before Costa Rica moved to within three at 11-8. Team USA answered by scoring 11 of the next 12 points for a 22-9 advantage as Bartsch put up three blocks during the spurt. Costa Rica came back to score five of the next six points to narrow the gap to 23-14. However, the U.S. scored the final four points as McNeal capped the 25-14 set with a block. Team USA converted 12 of 18 attacks into kills during the second set while adding six blocks and two aces.

Team USA rushed to a 6-2 lead in the final set. Leading 9-6, Spelman scored two points as part of a 5-0 run putting the score at 14-6. After trading points to 15-8, Team USA rattled six unanswered points with two coming on Webster kills. Werth closed the match at 25-11 with a kills. The Americans totaled 13 kills on 22 swings with just one error in the final set.

The NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship concludes on July 27 with the final classification matches to determine the medal stand and consolation spots. According to the NORCECA regulations, the top three finishers in the eight-team tournament advance to the 2009 FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship.

For more information on the NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship, click here. For the NORCECA event site, click here.

2008 U.S. Women's Junior National Team
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Grad Year, Hometown, Club, Region)
2 - Michelle Bartsch (MB/OPP, 6-4, 2008, Maryville, Ill., Southwest Illinois VB, Gateway)
5 - ShaDare McNeal (MB, 6-0, 2009, Fallbrook, Calif., Epic, Southern Cal)
6 - Kristin Carpenter (L, 5-7, 2009, Mechanicsville, Va., Richmond Volleyball Club, Old Dominion)
7 - Darcy Dorton (OH, 6-2, 2009, Muncie, Ind., Asics Munciana, Hoosier)
11 - Hayley Spelman (OPP, 6-6, 2009, Las Vegas, Nev., Nevada Juniors, Southern Cal)
12 - Lilla Frederick (OH, 5-10, 2008, Huntington Beach, Calif., TCA, Southern Cal)
13 - Cat Highmark (S, 5-10, 2008, Huntington Beach, Calif., Cal Juniors, Southern Cal)
14 - Annie Luhrsen (S, 6-0, 2008, Wheaton, Ill., SPVB, Great Lakes)
16 - Gina Mancuso (OH, 6-1, 2009, Bellevue, Neb., Nebraska Volleyball Academy, Great Plains)
17 - Hannah Werth (OH/OPP, 6-0, 2009, Springfield, Ill., Illini Elite, Great Lakes)
18 - Katie Slay (MB, 6-6, 2010, Raleigh, N.C., Triangle Volleyball Club, Carolina)
19 - Bailey Webster (OPP, 6-3, 2009, Baltimore, Md., TCA-Baltimore, Chesapeake)

Head Coach: Paula Weishoff-Hanold
Assistant Coach: Kim Jagd
Assistant Coach: John Corbelli

2008 NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship

Pool A: Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, USA
Pool B: Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago

Pool A
Dominican Republic 1-0
Canada 1-0
USA 1-1
Costa Rica 0-2

Pool B
Cuba 1-0
Puerto Rico 1-0
Mexico 0-1
Trinidad & Tobago 0-1

Pool Play Matches
July 22: Canada vs. Costa Rica, 25-15, 21-25, 22-25, 25-19, 15-10
July 22: Cuba def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-11, 25-12, 25-7
July 22: Dominican Republic def. USA, 25-23, 24-26, 25-20, 25-17
July 22: Puerto Rico def. Mexico, 20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 25-21
July 23: USA def. Costa Rica, 25-12, 25-14, 25-11
July 23: Puerto Rico vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4 p.m.
July 23: Dominican Republic vs. Canada, 6 p.m.
July 23: Cuba vs. Mexico, 8 p.m.
July 24: Dominican Republic vs. Costa Rica, 2 p.m.
July 24: Cuba vs. Puerto Rico, 4 p.m.
July 24: USA vs. Canada, 6 p.m.
July 24: Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 8 p.m.

July 25: 2B vs. 3A, 3 p.m.
July 25: 2A vs. 3B, 5 p.m.

Classification 5-8
July 26: 3A/2B Loser vs. 4B or 4A, 1 p.m.
July 26: 3B/2A Loser vs. 4B or 4A, 1 p.m.

July 26: 1B vs. 2B/3A or 2A/3B winner, 5 p.m.
July 26: 1A vs. 2B/3A or 2A/3B winner, 7 p.m.

Final Classification Round
July 27: 7th-place match, 1 p.m.
July 27: 5th-place match, 3 p.m.
July 27: Bronze Medal Match, 5 p.m.
July 27: Gold Medal Match, 7 p.m.