U.S. Women Sweep Peru, Gain 2009 World Grand Prix Berth

June 06, 2008, 8:14 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 6, 2008) – Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) came off the bench to score a match-high 15 points to lead the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 25-19, 25-15, 25-16 sweep of Peru Friday afternoon during the Pan American Cup’s consolation round at Mexicali, Mexico. Coupled with Canada’s five-set loss to Venezuela earlier this afternoon, Team USA earned a berth into the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix in the process.

The U.S., ranked fourth in the world by FIVB but using a young roster for the Pan American Cup, concludes the tournament on Saturday afternoon against Venezuela. The Pan American Cup yields four berths into the 2009 World Grand Prix. The top three Pan American Cup teams from NORCECA and the top South American team will advance to next year’s annual FIVB tournament.

“We came to this tournament with two main goals,” said Tom Hogan, who is serving as the head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team at the Pan American Cup. “One, to improve with each game, which we did. Second, to qualify to the Grand Prix, which we did it today. I think this young team has grown to another level as a result of playing in this competition.”

Later today, Dominican Republic faces Puerto Rico at 6 p.m. Pacific Time in a semifinal match of teams already qualified for the 2009 World Grand Prix. In the opposite semifinal, the Brazil-Argentina winner receives not only a berth in the Pan American Cup championship match but a ticket to the 2009 World Grand Prix. In addition, host Mexico will face Costa Rica to settle ninth place.

The Americans used a 4-1 run to take a 16-11 lead into the second technical timeout of the opening set, then scored the final three points of the set to secure a 25-19 victory. Trailing 12-10 in the second set, the U.S. scored 12 of the next 13 points for a commanding 22-13 advantage en route to the 25-15 victory. Team USA never trailed in the final set and used a 5-1 spurt to assume a 15-9 advantage to move on to a 25-16 victory.

“We accomplished our goal of qualifying to the World Grand Prix,” U.S. libero Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) said. “We were able to refocus after the loss against Puerto Rico last night and come back to perform against a strong team like Peru.”

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 Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) at middle blocker, Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) at opposite and Sykora at libero. Crimes subbed in the first set and started the second and third sets in place of Paolini, while Heather Hughes (Fallbrook, Calif.) was a sub in the final two sets. Lindsey Hunter (Papillion, Neb.) entered as a reserve in the second set. Julian Faucette (San Diego) was a sub in the final set.

Despite not starting, Crimes racked up nine kills on 14 swings to go with a match-high six blocks. She entered the match leading the tournament in the Best Spiker category for top kill percentage. Richards added 13 points with 11 kills on 23 swings to go with a block and ace. Barboza contributed 11 points via 10 kills and a block. Stalls, the tournament’s leading Best Blocker candidate, added nine kills and a block in the victory. Klineman turned in six kills, two blocks and an ace. Paolini and Hughes each were credited with a point. Sykora totaled a match-high 12 digs and had a 70 positive service reception percent on 10 chances. McGinnis handed out 12 assists in the victory.

The U.S. held an 11-1 block advantage as both teams converted 49 percent of their attacks into kills. However, the U.S. committed just six attack errors as part of a .430 hitting efficiency to Peru’s 17 errors and .250 hitting efficiency. Both teams tallied three aces with the U.S. committing just four service errors to Peru’s three.

Patricia Soto totaled a Peru-high 13 points with 12 kills on 19 swings and an ace. Yulissa Zamudio added eight points, all on kills, in the loss.

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 www.mediasports.tv.

Klineman broke a 6-all tie in the opening set with a kill and ace on consecutive plays followed by a Peruvian error out of the technical timeout to put the U.S. in front 9-6. After both teams traded two-point runs, Team USA used a 3-0 run capped by a Klineman block to push the Americans into a 16-11 lead at the second technical timeout. Peru cut the deficit to three points at 17-14, but the U.S. answered with a 3-0 run and kills from Klineman and Richards around a Peru error for a 20-14 score. Peru bounced back to within three at 21-18, only to have the U.S. control the final stages with a 4-1 run and points from four different players. Richards served an ace on match point at 25-19. Klineman scored five of her nine points in the first set as the U.S. converted 62 percent of its attacks into kills.

Peru jumped out to a 7-4 lead in the second set. The U.S. answered with a kill from Barboza, a block from Stalls and a Peru error to tie the set at 7-all. Peru regained a two-point cushion at 10-8, and the U.S. scored two straight to knot the score again at 10-all. Peru scored consecutive points at 12-10, only to have U.S. take control of the set after that point on a 12-1 run with Crimes scoring six of the points including two blocks. Barboza added two kills and a block in the turning point of the set for a 22-13 U.S. lead. The U.S. scored the final three points of the set for a 25-15 victory. Team USA capitalized on six blocks during the middle set and Crimes turned in eight points in the frame.

The U.S. took a 3-1 lead in the third set and by that time, Peru had spent both its timeouts of the set. Crimes put up a block at 4-1 as part of three unanswered points. After Peru closed to within one at 4-3, Team USA tallied a three consecutive points including a Crimes kill and Richards block to assume a 7-3 margin. Peru whittled the lead back down to one at 10-9. The U.S. responded with a key 5-1 spurt with Hughes gaining an ace as part of four straight points to assume a 15-9 lead. Crimes, Barboza and Richards all collected kills on consecutive plays to yield a 19-11 American advantage. Stalls collected consecutive quick attack kills to lift the U.S. in front 23-14 and ended the match with her nine kill at 25-16. Stalls ended the period with five points.

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.