U.S. Girls' Youth National Team Picks Up First Win

July 08, 2009, 4:37 a.m. (ET)

Maura Gladys
Intern, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6886
E-Mail: maura.gladys@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 8, 2009)- The U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team picked up their first win of the 2009 FIVB Girls’ Youth World Championship, a hard-fought 3-2 (25-18, 19-25, 21-25, 25-16, 15-4) victory over Slovakia on July 8 in Nakhonratchasima,Thailand.

“I'm glad that we eventually won,” U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team Head Coach Jim Stone said. “It’s the first time that we played hard the whole match. I think my girls played consistently.”

The United States trailed 7-0 at the start of the first set, thanks to intimidating blocking by Slovakia’s Jaroslava Smatanikova and Nina Herelova, but rallied to come back and win the set 25-18. Slovakia had the upper hand in the second set, using powerful jump serves to take a six point lead at 17-11. Despite a comeback attempt by the United States, Slovakia closed out the set 25-19. In the third set, Slovakia took an early 3-2 lead, but Team USA kept the match close. Slovakia eventually took a 21-13 lead, and although the U.S. held off four set points, Slovakia took the set 25-21. Slovakia again jumped out to an early 4-2 lead in the fourth set. But thanks to powerful spikes from Haley Eckerman (Waterloo, Iowa), the United States caught up and tied it at 11-11. It began to pull away, taking a commanding 18-11 lead, and winning the set 25-16. Momentum carried over into the fifth set for the United States. It took a 3-0 lead and never looked back, stretching it to 10-3 and closing out the set 15-4.

Eckerman led all scoring with 28 points thanks to 25 kills and three blocks. Katherine Bell (Mesquite, Tex.) followed with 17 points including 12 kills and five blocks. Andrea McHugh (Yorba Linda, Calif.) added 12 kills, one block and one ace for 14 points, while Hannah Allison (Siloam Springs, Ark.) contributed ten points, including five kills, three blocks and two serves. Carly Thomas (Swansea, Ill.) added two kills, four blocks and two aces for eight points, and captain Carly Wopat (Goleta, Calif.) pitched in with five points, including four kills and one ace. Olivia Okoro (Carrollton, Tex.) finished with one kill and one block and Sam Wopat (Goleta, Calif.) had one ace.

Tatiana Crkonova led Slovakia with 24 points, including 16 kills, two blocks and six aces. Nikola Radosova chipped in with six kills, three blocks and four aces for 13 points.

Although the United States committed more errors than Slovakia, racking up 23 compared to Slovakia’s 20, only six of those errors came in last three sets, allowing the United States to stage their comeback. Team USA also out-blocked their opponents for the fifth match in a row. The put up 17 blocks compared to Slovakia’s 11.

“I’m not happy with the way my girls played,” said Slovakia Head Coach Marek Hencek said. “They made many mistakes, individual mistakes in particular. The USA received well, while my girls could not stop fierce spikes from Haley (Eckerman). I think the USA is great on their attack.”

The win improved Team USA’s record to 1-4 after losses to Mexico, Belgium, Japan and Germany. They will play Tunisia in the final game of second round pool play on July 9.

To view the Girls' Youth National Team press kit, click here.

2009 U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, High School, Grad, Volleyball Club / Region)
1 - Hannah Allison (S, 5-11, Siloam Springs, Ark., Siloam Springs, 2010, Ozark Volleyball Academy / Delta)
2 - Katherine Bell (MB, 6-1, Mesquite, Texas, North Mesquite, 2011, Texas Assault / North Texas)
- Jennifer Bonilla (L, 5-9, Reseda, Calif., Marymount, 2010, Sports Shack / Southern California)
4 - Erica Denney (MB, 6-5, Centennial, Colo., Grandview, 2010, Front Range / Rocky Mountain)
5 - Haley Eckerman (OH, 6-3, Waterloo, Iowa, Waterloo East, 2011, Iowa Elite / Iowa)
6 - Anna Dorn* (MB, 6-4, Munster, Ind., Munster, 2010, Dunes / Hoosier)
8 - Andrea McHugh (OH, 5-10, Yorba Linda, Calif., El Dorado, 2010, Impact VBC / Southern California)
9 - Madelyn Hutson (MB, 6-6, Brentwood, Tenn., Ravenwood, 2011, Impact / Southern)
10 - Katie Messing (OH, 6-4, The Woodlands, Texas, The Woodlands High School, 2011, Asics Willowbrook / Lone Star Region)
13 - Olivia Okoro (MB, 6-0, Carrollton, Texas, Hebron, 2011, Dallas Skyline Juniors / North Texas)
16 - Carly Thomas (S, 5-11, Swansea, Ill., Althoff Catholic, 2010, Southwest Illinois VBC / Gateway)
18 - Samantha Wopat (OH, 6-1, Goleta, Calif., Dos Pueblos, 2010, Santa Barbara VBC / Southern California)
19 - Carly Wopat (OH, 6-2, Goleta, Calif., Dos Pueblos, 2010, Santa Barbara VBC / Southern California)

NOTE *: Katie Messing has replaced an injured Anna Dorn on the 12-player U.S. Girls' Youth National Team

Head Coach: Jim Stone
Assistant Coach: Melissa Wolter
Assistant Coach: Chuck Erbe
Team Leader/Manager: Heath Hoke
Doctor: Jodi Pelegrin
Team Statistics: Herb "Spike" Summers

Pool G
Germany 1-0
United States 1-1
Slovakia 1-1
Tunisia 0-1