U.S. Women Win Spot in World Championship

July 08, 2009, 9:48 p.m. (ET)

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

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 8, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team earned a spot into next year’s FIVB World Championship after topping Costa Rica 25-15, 25-9, 25-15 on Wednesday evening in Orlando to finish the FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament - NORCECA Pool G with an undefeated 3-0 record.

As the second-place team, Costa Rica remains alive in the qualification process and will compete next month in the four-team NORCECA Playoff Round in Tijuana, Mexico. The Playoff Round will fill NORCECA’s final two World Championship vacancies.

“I honestly think Costa Rica is a good team and better than when we last played them at the Pan American Cup,” U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “At the same time, I think we are a better team. We went into tonight’s match with a plan and executed it. We are happy that we have qualified for the World Championships next year.”

The U.S. was led by tournament most valuable player and Best Spiker Cynthia Barboza and Jane Collymore, who had matching 18 points in the match. Barboza tallied 16 kills as part of her totals, while Collymore chipped in 15 kills. Danielle Scott-Arruda contributed eight points, while Tayyiba Haneef-Park put down six points. Courtney Thompson and Christa Harmotto rounded out the scoring with four points.

Karen Cope paced Costa Rica with nine points, while Verania Willis provided the second-place team with seven points.

In addition to Barboza’s two individual awards, USA’s Stacy Sykora pulled in three individual honors as Best Digger, Best Receiver and Best Libero. Courtney Thompson of the U.S. earned Best Setter and Best Server. Netherlands Antilles’ Christine Anthony earned the Best Scorer honor, while Barbados’ Thonya Joseph was presented the Best Blocker award.

The U.S. took a 13-7 lead in the opening set after Collymore served two aces in a mini-run to break away from Costa Rica. Thompson served off a 4-0 run that included two aces giving the U.S. a 19-10 advantage. Team USA ended the set at 25-15 on consecutive kills from Collymore and Barboza.

The Americans jumped out to a 5-1 lead to open the second set and went into the first technical timeout up 8-4. The U.S. continued the pressure by taking hold of a 16-7 advantage at the second technical timeout. Thompson netted consecutive aces, Barboza put up a block and kill and a Costa Rica attack error extended the margin to 14 points, 22-8. The U.S. continued the run to eight unanswered points on kills from Scott-Arruda and Barboza giving the Americans set point at 24-8. Haneef-Park end the set with kill from the left side at 25-9.

Team USA rattled off the first five points of the third set taking advantage of Thompson’s serve and two Scott-Arruda kills off Costa Rica overpasses. Scott-Arruda pushed the gap to seven points 10-3 on an ace and the U.S. went into the second technical timeout leading 16-7. The Americans cruised the rest of the way for the match victory.

The U.S. used a dominant service game to register a 9-1 ace advantage that kept Costa Rica out of system for much of the match. The Americans held a 44-22 advantage in kills and a 5-2 margin in blocks.

“We are trying to get better on each play,” Scott-Arruda said. “We are glad to be on the medal stand here and qualified for the World Championship.”

“Congratulations to USA,” said Costa Rica captain Verania Willis. “I think USA has a good defense and block. They also play a very fast pace that we have not seen and played against that much.”

"After playing all these days (at the Pan American Cup and FIVB World Championship Qualification Tournament), our players are very tired," Costa Rica Head Coach Henry Rodriguez said. "But our players played with a lot of heart against one of the best teams in the world."

Earlier in the evening, Netherlands Antilles held off a fierce comeback by Barbados with a 25-22, 20-25, 27-25, 21-25, 16-14 victory to claim third place.

Individual Honors
Most Valuable Player: Cynthia Barboza (USA)
Best Scorer: Christine Anthony (Netherlands Antilles)
Best Spiker: Cynthia Barboza (USA)
Best Setter: Courtney Thompson (USA)
Best Server: Courtney Thompson (USA)
Best Blocker: Thonya Joseph (Barbados)
Best Digger: Stacy Sykora (USA)
Best Receiver: Stacy Sykora (USA)
Best Libero: Stacy Sykora (USA)

Schedule and Results

July 6
Costa Rica def. Barbados 25-17, 25-19, 25-17
United States def. Netherlands Antilles 25-10, 25-9, 25-5

July 7
Costa Rica def. Netherlands Antilles 25-16, 25-9, 25-23
United States def. Barbados 25-16, 25-11, 25-12

July 8
Netherlands Antilles def. Barbados 25-22, 20-25, 27-25, 21-25, 16-14
United States def. Costa Rica 25-15, 25-9, 25-15