U.S. Women Fall to Puerto Rico in Quarterfinals

June 06, 2008, 4:51 a.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 5, 2008) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team dropped a 25-21, 34-32, 14-25, 25-18 match to Puerto Rico Thursday evening during the Pan American Cup’s quarterfinal round at Mexicali, Mexico.

The U.S., ranked fourth in the world by FIVB but using a young roster for the Pan American Cup, falls into the consolation bracket and will face Peru on Friday at 2 p.m. Pacific Time. Team USA finished in a three-way tie for first in its six-team pool, but dropped to second through the points score ratio tiebreaker with pool leader Dominican Republic and third-place Argentina. The tiebreaker forced the U.S. into the quarterfinal round, while Dominican Republic received direct advancement to the semifinal round.

The semifinals will have Puerto Rico playing Brazil and Argentina facing Dominican Republic. Earlier tonight Argentina edged Canada 22-25, 26-24, 25-14, 21-25, 15-13 to advance to the semifinals.

The Pan American Cup will yield four berths into the 2009 World Grand Prix. The top three teams from NORCECA and the top South American team will advance to next year’s annual FIVB tournament. At this juncture in the tournament, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have secured berths, while the higher finishing team between Brazil and Argentina will also advance. Team USA, Canada and Mexico will be fighting for the final NORCECA ticket to the 2009 World Grand Prix.

Puerto Rico broke a 14-all tie in the first set with a 6-1 run and went on to win 25-21. The U.S. squandered a 16-12 advantage and six set points in the second set before Puerto Rico won 34-32 on its fifth set point. Team USA never trailed in the third set as it used a 5-1 run to take a 15-9 lead en route to a 25-14 victory. Puerto Rico bolted to a 7-0 lead to open the fourth set and carried the momentum to a 25-18 victory.

Team USA started captain Angie McGinnis (Fraser, Mich.) at setter, Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) and Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) at outside hitter, Tracy Stalls (Denver) and Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) at middle blocker, Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) at opposite and Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) at libero. Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) subbed into the match during all four sets, while Katie Olsovsky (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) came off the bench in the first two sets.

Barboza and Richards each tallied 15 points in the loss. Richards provided 13 kills on 32 swings to go with two blocks. Barboza turned in 12 kills on 34 swings with three blocks, in addition to a team high 38 reception attempts with three errors and a 53 excellent percent. Stalls added 10 kills on 25 attacks and a match-high four blocks for 14 points. Crimes contributed eight kills and three blocks for 11 points. Hughes tacked on four kills, while Klineman charted two kills on three attacks in her limited action on the court. Sykora passed on 13 serve receptions with an 85 positive percent.

Team USA outblocked Puerto Rico 12-7, but that was the lone major category it led. Puerto Rico held a 66-49 kill advantage, along with a 5-0 ace margin. Puerto Rico also passed with a 90 positive percent and 70 excellent percent. Puerto Rico converted 49 percent of its attacks into kills, although it had 31 attack errors on 136 swings. In contrast, Team USA converted just 37 percent of its attacks and held its hitting errors to just 18.

Aury Cruz paced Puerto Rico with 25 points including 22 kills and three aces, while Karina Ocasio added 24 points on 20 kills, two blocks and two aces. Sarai Alvarez chipped in 17 points in the victory. Debora Seilhamer passed 34 serves with just one error and an 88 positive percent.

Earlier today, Cuba captured its first victory of the tournament with a 25-14, 25-12, 25-14 decision over Trinidad & Tobago in the 11th-place match. Cuba is ranked third in the FIVB world ranking, but played the Pan American Cup with primarily second team and junior level players because of a conflicting tournament in Europe. Peru dropped Costa Rica 25-15, 25-19, 25-13 in classification matches for fifth through 10th place.

The United States is ranked fourth in the FIVB world ranking. However, Team USA is using a young team at the Pan American Cup to evaluate individuals for potential Olympic roster spots in 2008, as well for future teams in the next quadrennial beyond the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Pan American Cup championship bracket classification matches will be video streamed on the Internet through Media Sports TV and available to the public for a fee. For more information on the broadcasts, visit http://assets.usoc.org/admin/team_articles/www.mediasports.tv.

Puerto Rico grabbed a two-point cushion at 5-3 in the opening set, but Richards answered with a kill to knot the score at 5-all. After trailing 9-8, the U.S. rolled three straight points with Richards collecting a kill and Barboza capping the run at 11-9 with a block. Puerto Rico responded with four unanswered points to assume a 14-12 lead, but Stalls answered with consecutive kills to tie the score at 14-all. Cruz put down two kills in a row to put Puerto Rico in the lead at 16-14 and the lead extended to 20-15 as part of a 6-1 run. Crimes put up a block to curt the deficit to two, 20-18, but the U.S. could not score consecutive points the rest of the set.

Stalls and Richards put up consecutive blocks early in the second set to take a 3-1 lead, but Puerto Rico turned the tide with four unanswered point at 5-3 and went into the first technical timeout up 8-6. The U.S. benefited from four straight Puerto Rico errors to take a 10-8. Stalls, Richards and Crimes all canned kills as part of a 4-1 spurt to take a 14-10 lead. After Crimes put down a quick attack at 16-12, Puerto Rico tied the set at 17-all on a 5-1 run and returned to the lead at 20-19. Puerto Rico gained a two-point cushion at 22-20 and gained two set point opportunities at 24-22. Crimes collected a kill and Stalls put up a block to save both chances. Team USA two additional set points before assuming a 27-26 lead on kills from Stalls and Richards. That started a run of six U.S. set point opportunities until consecutive kills from Cruz and Alvarez put Puerto Rico back in the lead at 33-32. Puerto Rico won the set at 34-32 as Barboza’s attack went long and no touch was called.

Hughes and Barboza scored kills as part of a 3-0 run that broke a 3-all tie in the third set. The same tandem produced consecutive kills at 10-6 to widen the gap to four points. After Puerto Rico cut the deficit in half at 10-8, the U.S. responded with three straight points on errors for a 13-8 advantage. Richards and Barboza turned in back-to-back kills to lift the U.S. in front 15-9. After Puerto Rico scored back-to-back points, Team USA rolled off five unanswered points with kills from Hughes and Barboza and capped by a Barboza block at 20-11. The teams traded points through 23-14 and the Stalls scored a kill and block on consecutive plays for a 25-14 victory.

Puerto Rico took a commanding 7-0 lead to open the fourth set, thanks to the serve of Cruz that included three aces. Team USA answered with four straight points to cut the deficit to 7-4 after a Barboza kill. Puerto Rico upped the lead to six points at 10-4 on three consecutive points, but gave back to straight points on errors at 10-6. The two teams traded points through 21-15 until Barboza and Richards turned in consecutive kills at 21-17. However, it was not enough to stop Puerto Rico for a 25-18 victory.

The final standings for Pool A are Dominican Republic (4-1, 1.301 point ratio), USA (4-1, 1.287 point ratio), Argentina (4-1, 1.232 point ratio), Mexico (2-3), Costa Rica (1-4) and Trinidad & Tobago (0-5). The final standings for Pool B are Brazil (5-0), Canada (4-1), Puerto Rico (3-2), Peru (2-3), Venezuela (1-4) and Cuba (0-5).

For the U.S. Women’s National Team Press Kit for the 2008 Pan American Cup, visit http://www.usavolleyball.org/media/national/08PanAmCupPressKit.pdf.

For additional information on the Pan American Cup, visit http://www.norceca.org/2008%20VII%20Pan-American%20Women’s%20Volleyball%20Cup.htm.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for Pan American Cup
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
3 – Cynthia Barboza (OH, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
4 – Alix Klineman (OH, 6-4, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
5 – Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M University)
7 – Tracy Stalls (MB, 6-4, Denver, Colo., University of Nebraska)
9 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
10 – Alexis Crimes (MB, 6-3, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Long Beach State University)
12 – Heather Hughes (OPP, 6-2, Fallbrook, Calif., Loyola Marymount University)
13 – Katie Olsovsky (OPP, 6-3, Hermosa Beach, Calif., University of Southern California)
16 – Lindsey Hunter (S, 5-10, Papillion, Neb., University of Missouri)
17 – Angie McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., University of Florida)
18 – Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
19 – Juliann Faucette (OH, 6-2, San Diego, Calif., University of Texas)

Head Coach: “Jenny” Lang Ping (not traveling)
Pan American Cup Head Coach: Tom Hogan
Pan American Cup Assistant Coaches: Gen Kawakita, Denise Corlett

Pan American Cup Schedule at Tijuana Mexicali, Mexico

Classification Rounds at Mexicali, Mexico (Times Subject to Change, All Times Listed as Pacific Time)
6/5: Cuba (6B) def. Trinidad & Tobago (6A), 25-14, 25-12, 25-14 (11th Place)
6/5: Peru (4B) def. Costa Rica (5A), 25-15, 25-19, 25-13 (Classification for 5-10)
6/5: Venezuela (5B) def. Mexico (4A), scores unknown (Classification for 5-10)
6/5: Argentina (3A) def. Canada (2B), 22-25, 26-24, 25-14, 21-25, 15-13 (Quarterfinals)
6/5: Puerto Rico (3B) def. USA (2A) vs. Puerto Rico (3B), 25-21, 34-32, 14-25, 25-18 (Quarterfinals)

6/6: Venezuela vs. Canada, Noon (Classification 5-8)
6/6: Peru vs. USA, 2 p.m. (Classification 5-8)
6/6: Costa Rica vs. Mexico, 4 p.m. (Classification for 9-10)
6/6: Brazil vs. Puerto Rico, 6 p.m.
6/6: Dominican Republic vs. Argentina, 8 p.m.

6/7: Match for 7th Place, 2 p.m.
6/7: March for 5th Place, 4 p.m.
6/7: Consolation Final for 3rd Place, 6 p.m.
6/7: Championship Final, 8 p.m.

Pool A at Mexicali, Mexico (all times listed as Pacific Time)
5/30: Argentina def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-13, 25-17, 25-16
5/30: Dominican Republic def. USA, 20-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-23, 15-8
5/30: Mexico def. Costa Rica, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-10
5/31: USA def. Costa Rica, 25-20, 25-10, 27-25
5/31: Dominican Republic def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-12, 25-17, 25-17
5/31: Argentina def. Mexico, 25-16, 25-18, 25-16
6/1: Dominican Republic def. Costa Rica, 25-15, 25-17, 25-19
6/1: United States def. Argentina, 25-16, 25-18, 30-28
6/1: Mexico def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-23, 25-14, 20-25, 25-14
6/2: Costa Rica def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-21, 25-15, 25-21
6/2: Argentina def. Dominican Republic, 15-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-22
6/2: USA def. Mexico, 25-18, 25-22, 25-14
6/3: USA def. Trinidad & Tobago, 25-11, 25-11, 25-14
6/3: Argentina def. Costa Rica, 25-15, 25-7, 25-15
6/3: Dominican Republic def. Mexico, 25-19, 25-15, 25-7

Pool A Standings
Dominican Republic 4-1 (1.301 point ratio)
USA 4-1 (1.287 point ratio)
Argentina 4-1 (1.232 point ratio)
Mexico 2-3
Costa Rica 1-4
Trinidad & Tobago 0-5

Pool B at Tijuana, Mexico (all times listed as Pacific Time)
5/30: Brazil def. Venezuela, 25-11, 25-21, 25-19
5/30: Puerto Rico def. Peru, 25-20, 25-17, 25-21
5/30: Canada def. Cuba, 20-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-12, 17-15
5/31: Peru def. Venezuela, 22-25, 25-19, 25-23, 20-25, 15-11
5/31: Puerto Rico def. Cuba, 20-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-16
5/31: Brazil def. Canada, 25-14, 23-25, 25-13, 25-13
6/1: Canada def. Venezuela, 25-20, 25-21, 25-22
6/1: Brazil def. Puerto Rico, 25-20, 25-14, 25-14
6/1: Peru def. Cuba, 26-24, 25-14, 25-16
6/2: Venezuela def. Cuba, 25-23, 25-20, 25-23
6/2: Canada def. Puerto Rico, 25-16, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20
6/2: Brazil def. Peru, 25-11, 25-20, 25-22
6/3: Puerto Rico def. Venezuela, 25-17, 25-21, 25-12
6/3: Canada def. Peru, 25-20, 25-12, 25-18
6/3: Brazil def. Cuba, 25-20, 25-11, 25-16

Pool B Standings
Brazil 5-0
Canada 4-1
Puerto Rico 3-2
Peru 2-3
Venezuela 1-4
Cuba 0-5