U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Golden at NORCECA Continental Championship

July 27, 2008, 11:39 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 27, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team defeated Dominican Republic 25-21, 25-20, 25-18 in the NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship gold-medal match Sunday evening at Saltillo, Mexico, to exact a sense of revenge for its only loss of the tournament.

Unlike the opening match of the tournament when the Dominican Republic defeated Team USA 25-23, 24-26, 25-20, 25-17 on July 22, the gold-medal match was never in doubt as the Americans led nearly the entire contest. Dominican Republic served with set leads only eight times, and only three times in the final two sets in the early stages.

Gina Mancuso (Bellevue, Neb.), who only started the opening pool match against Dominican Republic during the tournament, led Team USA with 13 points with nine kills on 17 swings. Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill.) added 12 points via with nine kills on 11 errorless swings, two blocks and an ace. Darcy Dorton (Muncie, Ind.) contributed nine kills and an ace for 10 points in the victory. Cat Highmark (Huntington Beach, Calif.) netted four blocks as part of six points from her setter position, while Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) matched her totals with four blocks and six points. Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif.) charted five points for the U.S., while Hayley Spelman (Las Vegas, Nev.) rounded out the scoring with two points.

Kristin Carpenter (Mechanicsville, Va.) tallied 13 excellent service receptions on 19 attempts to assist Team USA into a 40.0 kill percent. Overall, the U.S. compiled a 61.8 excellent service reception percent compared to Dominican Republic’s 56.9 percent.

At the conclusion of the tournament, Bartsch was selected as the tournament's Best Server.

Team USA, coached by three-time U.S. Olympian Paula Weishoff and assisted by Kim Jagd and John Corbelli, started Highmark at setter, Dorton and Frederick at outside hitter, Bartsch and Slay at middle blocker and Spelman at opposite. Carpenter served as the U.S. designated libero for the tournament. Mancuso subbed into the match in the opening set, then started the final two sets. Sha’Dare McNeal (Fallbrook, Calif.) was a sub in the second and third sets.

The U.S. held a 14-4 advantage in blocks and 5-2 margin in aces over the silver medalist team. Dominican Republic held a 21-7 advantage in digs, but converted only 33.6 percent of its attacks into kills.

Jeoseylna Rodriguez Santos led Dominican Republic with 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks. Yenifer Calcano Gonzalez chipped in nine points in the loss.

Earlier today, Cuba defeated Puerto Rico 25-20, 27-25, 23-25, 20-25, 16-14 for the bronze medal. Canada rallied from two sets down to defeat Mexico 18-25, 21-25, 34-32, 25-21, 15-12 for fifth place, while Costa Rica defeated Trinidad & Tobago 25-9, 25-13, 25-15 for seventh place.

After falling behind 12-9 in the opening set, the U.S. stormed to a 15-12 lead with Bartsch serving a 6-0 run with an ace to go with a block and kill from Slay. Team USA gained a four-point cushion at 21-17, but Dominican Republic rebounded to cut the gap in half at 21-19. Highmark nailed a kill after a Dominican Republic error to extend the lead back to four at 23-19. Dorton scored two kills down the stretch as the U.S. sided out to a 25-21 victory. The U.S. turned in a 44 kill percent in the opening set, while Dominican Republic was limited to a 34 kill conversion percent.

The U.S. led by a slim 6-5 margin in the second set before it erupted for a 7-1 run and 13-6 advantage as Slay and Mancuso each served aces to go with kills from Frederick and Bartsch. Dominican Republic collected three unanswered points to move to 13-9. Bartsch followed a Frederick kill with a block for a 15-9 lead, only to have Dominican Republic answer with back-to-back points. Dominican Republic closed to within two at 18-16, but could not get any closer. Team USA gained a 4-1 spurt with blocks from Highmark and Slay around kills from Frederick and Bartsch to assume a 24-19 advantage. Mancuso ended the set with a kill at 25-20. The U.S. tallied five blocks and three aces in the second set.

The Americans scored three unanswered points including a block from Highmark to take a 7-4 lead in the third set. Dominican Republic inched the score to 7-6, but could not restore the tie. Team USA picked off the next six points with Mancuso scoring a kill and block in the run, while Dorton and Bartsch added a point apiece. The U.S. stretched its lead to double-digits at 18-8 on a 4-0 run that included a block from Bartsch, Mancuso kill and two Dominican Republic errors. Dominican Republic sliced the gap to seven points at 20-13, but Mancuso connected for consecutive kills to regain a nine-point cushion for the U.S. at 22-13. Dominican Republic answered with a four consecutive points to stay alive at 22-17, but could not score on its serve the rest of the match. Frederick ended tournament with a kill at 25-18. The U.S. tallied five blocks in the final set and Dominican Republic was held to a 31 kill percent.

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 3-0
USA 2-1
Canada 1-2
Costa Rica 0-3

Pool B
Cuba 3-0
Puerto Rico 2-1
Mexico 1-2
Trinidad & Tobago 0-3

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 def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-11, 25-13, 25-15
July 23: Dominican Republic def. Canada, 27-29, 25-16, 25-15, 25-17
July 23: Cuba def. Mexico, 15-25, 25-11, 25-22, 25-15
July 24: Dominican Republic def. Costa Rica, 25-9, 25-20, 25-14
July 24: Cuba def. Puerto Rico, 23-25, 27-29, 25-14, 25-16, 15-10
July 24: USA def. Canada, 25-22, 25-13, 18-25, 25-21
July 24: Mexico def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-14, 25-11, 25-13

July 25: Puerto Rico (2B) def. Canada (3A), 25-22, 25-19, 25-7
July 25: USA (2A) def. Mexico (3B), 25-18, 25-17, 25-21

Classification 5-8
July 26: Canada (3A) def. Trinidad & Tobago (4B), 25-16, 25-13, 25-11
July 26: Mexico (3B) def. Costa Rica (4A), 25-12, 25-20, 25-17

July 26: USA (2A) def. Cuba (1B), 23-25, 25-17, 25-21, 25-19
July 26: Dominican Republic (1A) def. Puerto Rico (2B), 25-15, 25-18, 15-25, 25-16

Final Classification Round
July 27: Costa Rica (4A) def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-9, 25-13, 25-15 (7th-place match)
July 27: Canada (3A) def. Mexico (3B), 18-25, 21-25, 34-32, 25-21, 15-12 (5th-place match)
July 27: Cuba (1B) def. Puerto Rico (2B), 25-20, 27-25, 23-25, 20-25, 16-14 (Bronze Medal Match
July 27: USA (2A) def. Dominican Republic (1A), 25-21, 25-20, 25-18 (Gold Medal Match)