U.S. Women Sweep Puerto Rico at WGP

Aug. 15, 2009, 8:38 a.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 15, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team defeated NORCECA rival Puerto Rico 25-16, 25-18, 25-22 on Saturday afternoon in Bangkok, Thailand, during the final preliminary round weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix and Pool I group.

USA improves to 3-5 during the preliminary round, while Puerto Rico falls to 1-7. Only the top five teams in the 12-country FIVB World Grand Prix plus Japan advance to the Final Round to be held Aug. 19-23 in Tokyo. The Americans were eliminated from earning a berth into the Final Round earlier today when Russia defeated Thailand in four sets, putting five teams with at least a three-match victory lead in the standings with only two matches remaining on the schedule before the USA-Puerto Rico contest.

USA concludes Pool I and the overall preliminary rounds against host Thailand (3-5) on Sunday at 3 p.m. local time (1 a.m. Pacific Time).

The Americans jumped to an early 8-3 lead in the first set and never looked back in the 26-15 victory in which they committed just two errors. USA broke open a 9-all tie in the second set with a 10-4 run en route to a 25-18 victory in which it benefited from 12 Puerto Rico errors. Although Puerto Rico recovered from a 6-1 deficit in the third set in tying the score at 18-all, USA made a final push with six of the final nine points for a 25-22 victory.

“We tried to control what we must control the game and we accomplished that,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “We also tried to refrain from making mistakes. We played our level. I think we played a bit better than yesterday. We have to prepare for our next match against Thailand. It should be a competitive match against the host side.”

USA captain Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) paced the American offense with 12 points via 11 kills on 31 attempts and a block. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) contributed 11 points all on kills from 29 swings. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) added 11 points through eight kills on 14 attempts and a match-high three blocks. Alexis Crimes (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) charted four kills, two blocks and an ace for seven points. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) tallied six points all on kills, while Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) rounded out the scoring with a kill and ace.

“We expected to win this match and we could make it,” said Metcalf. “I’m happy that we made it again. We have to keep on our form and will try our best to beat Thailand in our last match here.”

Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) tallied a team-leading 10 digs, while Larson totaled seven excellent receptions on 27 attempts. Thompson provided 35 assists in the victory.

McCutcheon started Akinradewo and Crimes at middle blocker, Barboza and Larson at outside hitter, Metcalf at opposite and Thompson at setter. Sykora served as the libero for the match. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) was a sub in all three sets, while Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) was a sub in the first two sets. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) came off the bench in the second set.

Team USA limited its errors for the match to just 12, while Puerto Rico committed 26 errors. The U.S. converted 37.6 percent of its spike attempts into points, committing just nine errors as part of a .294 hitting efficiency. Puerto Rico converted just 28.3 percent of its attacks into points and held a .142 hitting efficiency. Both teams had six blocks and Puerto Rico held a 4-2 advantage in aces. However, USA’s 41-34 advantage in kills and the disparity in opponent miscues led to the victory.

“We made too many mistakes,” Puerto Rico assistant coach Humberto Rodriguez said. “We wanted to win, but we could not do that. The USA blocked well. Their reception was also good. We have to come up with the better form in the match against Russia. However, I think that after losing the match to us, Russia must come up much stronger tomorrow. We have to improve our game for the match against Russia. As far as I’m concerned, the USA’s head coach is so smart. He read our game well.”

Aurea Cruz led Puerto Rico with 10 points, while Sarai Alvarez chipped in eight points.

“We played our level, but we played with a lot of mistakes,” Puerto Rico captain Vilmarie Mojica said. “To match Russia, we have to improve our game.”

USA rallied to defeat Puerto Rico 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-14, 15-13 on Aug. 1 at Rio De Janeiro as part of the opening weekend of the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix.

USA started the opening set with a 4-1 lead following kills from Barboza and Larson and two Puerto Rico errors. Team USA reached the first technical timeout with an 8-3 margin after kills from Crimes and Metcalf. A Thompson kill and Puerto Rico error stretched the Americans’ advantage to 10-4. Crimes notched an ace after a Metcalf kill to push the margin to seven at 12-5. Puerto Rico scored consecutive points to close the gap to 12-7. USA moved back to a seven-point cushion after a Larson kill and Akinradewo block. Crimes and Metcalf scored blocks and Thompson served an ace to increase the advantage to double digits at 21-11. Puerto Rico scored three of the next four points to close back to within eight points at 22-14. USA closed out the set at 25-16 with a Barboza kill and Puerto Rico error. Larson and Metcalf scored five points apiece in the opening set, while USA committed just two errors in the first set.

Team USA reached the second set’s first technical timeout on a 4-0 run with an 8-5 advantage after two Metcalf kills, a block from Crimes and a Puerto Rico error. Out of the break, Puerto Rico notched three consecutive points to tie the set at 8-all. Akinradewo provided a kill and block and Larson contributed a kill in a 4-1 scoring run to bump the USA advantage to 14-11. The U.S. increased its lead to 18-12 on a 4-0 run with an Akinradewo kill and three Puerto Rico errors. USA inched its way to the 25-18 victory, closing the set out on consecutive point with a kill from Barboza and Puerto Rico’s 12th error of the set. Metcalf and Akinradewo paced the USA offense in the second set with four points apiece.

USA rolled to a 6-1 lead in the third set as Akinradewo scored two kills and a block, while Barboza added a kill around two Puerto Rico errors. Puerto Rico answered with consecutive points to cut the deficit to 6-3. After holding an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout, Puerto Rico cut the gap in half at 9-7 with three of the next four points out of the break. A Larson kill and Puerto Rico error pushed the USA lead back to four at 11-7. The American lead stretched to five at 14-9 as Metcalf scored a kill. Puerto Rico rallied back to within three at 15-12 before the USA went into the second technical timeout up 16-12. Puerto Rico rallied to tie the set at 18-all with a 6-2 run out of the break. Crimes and Larson put together back-to-back kills to give USA a 21-19 advantage. A Metcalf kill and Puerto Rico error gave USA match points at 24-21. Akinradewo ended the match at 25-22, her sixth point of the final set.

The U.S. Women's Grand Prix media guide is available on the USA Volleyball Web site by clicking here.

Additional information on the FIVB World Grand Prix can be found on the FIVB Web site by clicking here.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for Pool I at Bangkok, Thailand
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP/OH, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
2 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
4 – Angela McGinnis (S, 5-11, Fraser, Mich., Florida)
5 – Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 – Nicole Davis (L, 5-6, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
8 - Cynthia Barboza (OH, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford)
9 – Alexis Crimes (MB, 6-3, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Long Beach State)
10 – Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)
11 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 – Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
15 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-7, Kent, Wash., Washington)
18 – Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: John Speraw (Irvine, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator/Team Leader: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek

Schedule and Results for U.S. Women's National Team

Pool A - at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Maracanazihno Gym)
July 31: Germany def. USA 25-15, 25-15, 25-16
Aug. 1: USA def. Puerto Rico 21-25, 20-25, 25-23, 25-14, 15-13
Aug. 2: Brazil def. USA 25-18, 25-22, 25-13

Pool D - at Li Miao, Chinese Taipei (Miao Li Country Gymnasium)
Aug. 7: USA def. Dominican Republic 25-18, 25-19, 23-25, 21-25, 23-21
Aug. 8: Netherlands def. USA 25-12, 22-25, 16-25, 25-20, 15-13
Aug. 9: Germany def. USA 25-22, 25-18, 27-25

Pool I - at Bangkok, Thailand (Keelawes Gym) – times are local
Aug. 14: Russia def. USA 25-21, 26-24, 19-25, 25-17
Aug. 15: USA def. Puerto Rico 25-16, 25-18, 25-22
Aug. 16: vs. Thailand, 3 p.m.

FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminary Round Standings
Brazil 8-0
Netherlands 8-0
China 6-2
Russia 5-3
Germany 5-3
Japan 4-4
Poland 3-5
USA 3-5
Thailand 3-5
Puerto Rico 1-7
Dominican Republic 1-7
Korea 1-7