U.S. Women's Junior Team Loses to Bulgaria

July 17, 2009, 7:27 p.m. (ET)

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

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 17, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team lost to Bulgaria 23-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-17 on the second day of FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship (Under-20) competition in Tijuana, Mexico.

Team USA, now 0-2 in the World Championship event, concludes the four-team round robin Pool D on Saturday at 8 p.m. Pacific Time against Turkey (1-0, plays Cuba later tonight). The top two teams in each of the four-team pools advance to the winner’s pools in the second round.

The U.S. started the match slow and rallied from an 11-4 deficit in the opening set to win 25-23. Bulgaria used a 9-1 run in the second set to assume a 22-13 advantage en route to the 25-18 victory. Trailing 8-6 at the third set’s first technical timeout, Bulgaria used a 6-1 run to take a 12-9 advantage and went on to take the stanza 25-17. Bulgaria came back from a deficit of 5-1 in the fourth set and used a 9-0 run to take a commanding 14-7 advantage in putting away the final set 25-17.

“We only had one week of preparation and we still need to improve on the little things,” U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Head Coach Paula Weishoff said. “The team is getting better under the circumstances and now we are going to play for the 9-12 positions (after tomorrow’s final pool match with Turkey).”

Alexis Olgard (Spokane, Wash.) led the U.S. with 11 points on nine kills and two blocks. Amanda Dowdy (Lexington, Texas) chipped in seven kills and three blocks for 10 points, while Morgan Broekhuis (Colorado Springs, Colo.) provided 10 points on nine kills and a block. Alex Hunt (Granger, Ind.) charted eight points via six kills and two blocks, while Hayley Spelman (Las Vegas, Nev.) tallied six kills off the bench. Sara Shaw (Austin, Texas) recorded four kills, followed by Ashleigh McCord’s (Wylie, Texas) three points. Lilla Frederick (Huntington Beach, Calif.) provided two points and Karissa Cook (Santa Cruz, Calif.) rounded out the scoring with a kill.

Kelsey Black (Amarillo, Texas) produced a team-high six digs to go with 13 excellent receptions on 28 attempts. Hunt added five digs and team-leading 20 excellent receptions on 37 attempts. Kendall Bateman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) provided 25 assists in the match, while Cook added 10 assists in a reserve role.

Bulgaria benefited from 31 Team USA errors in the match, including 14 missed serves, and held a 52-44 margin in kills. The U.S. was held to a 32.8 kill percent and .209 hitting efficiency. In contrast, Bulgaria converted 46 percent of its attacks into kills and held a hitting efficiency of .327. Bulgaria’s serve also provided problems with the American reception as it held a 6-1 advantage in aces. Team USA held a slim 10-9 margin in blocks.

“Bulgaria is a very strong team, but we battled hard in the entire match,” said Bateman, the USA captain. “We are getting better and this is a great competition. We just need to keep working hard.”

The U.S. started captain Bateman at setter, Broekhuis at opposite, Dowdy and Olgard at middle blocker and Frederick and Hunt at outside hitter. Black was the designated libero for the match. Spelman subbed in the first two sets and started the third and fourth sets. Cook subbed into the match in all four sets. Shaw was a sub in the final three sets, while McCord started the fourth set.

“Yes and no, because we know how to win a play well, but also everyone watched our bad presentation last night against Turkey,” said Bulgaria Head Coach Stoyan Gunchev if he expected his team to win as easily over the USA. Dobriana Rabadzhieva paced Bulgaria with a match-high 20 points, while Elitsa Vasileva turned in 17 kills and Gabriela Tsvetanova added 13 kills, three blocks and two aces for 17 points.

The U.S. qualified for the FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship by winning the 2008 NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship in Mexico.

Bulgaria grabbed a 4-1 lead in the first set after the U.S. picked up the initial point of the match, then widened the margin to 6-2 on consecutive points. Bulgaria scored four straight points extending the gap to seven points, 11-4. Broekhuis turned in back-to-back kills after Dowdy started a 3-0 run with a kill to cut the deficit to 11-7. Hunt continued the run with a kill whittling the gap to three points at 11-8. Two Broekhuis kills and Bulgaria error put the U.S. within one at 12-11. A Frederick block after a Bulgaria error tied the set at 13-all, and the U.S. took its second lead of the set at 14-13 on a Bulgaria error. Bulgaria responded with four consecutive points to regain a three-point cushion at 17-14. Frederick and Spelman tallied back-to-back kills to slice the deficit back to one point at 18-17, then tied the set at 18-all on an Olgard block. Team USA regained the lead with its fourth straight point, a Bulgaria error, at 19-18. Olgard put down a fifth straight point with a kill at 20-18. Bulgaria answered with back-to-back points to tie the set at 20-all and gained the lead back at 23-22. Broekhuis slammed consecutive kills to give the U.S. the first set point opportunity at 24-23, and Dowdy put up the set winner with a block at 25-23. Broekhuis scored seven points in the opening set, while Olgard added five points.

Hunt scored consecutive kills to give the U.S. a 7-6 lead in the second set. Bulgaria bounced back with three straight points to take a 10-8 advantage and the first two-point cushion of the set. Bulgaria pushed its advantage to nine points at 22-13 with a 9-1 spurt. Broekhuis and Dowdy scored consecutive points to stop the bleeding and Shaw added a kill cutting into the margin to 23-16. Dowdy added a fourth consecutive point with a kill at 23-17 before Bulgaria earned set point at 24-17. The U.S. saved one set point before Bulgaria ended the set at 25-18. Dowdy scored four points for the U.S. in the second set and Bulgaria took advantage of 12 Team USA errors to win.

A Spelman kill and Bulgaria error gave the U.S. a quick 2-0 lead to start the third set, but Bulgaria answered with a 4-1 run to assume a 4-3 lead. Hunt put up consecutive blocks after a Bulgaria error to lift the U.S. in front 8-6 at the first technical timeout. Bulgaria came back with a 6-1 spurt to regain a take a three-point edge at 12-9. Bulgaria widened the score to 15-11. Team USA cut the gap in half at 15-13 on a Bulgaria error, but gave back three straight points for a 19-14 Bulgaria lead. Bulgaria increased its lead to six points at 21-15 and went on to win 25-17 on a 6-2 run.

The U.S. gained a 5-1 lead as McCord came off the bench to score a kill, block and ace to open the fourth set to go with two Bulgarian errors. Bulgaria chipped away at the lead with a 4-1 run to put the score at 6-5 and went ahead 8-7 at the first technical timeout. Bulgaria continued the run of unanswered points to nine to go up 14-7 after the break. The U.S. scored four straight points with points from Hunt, Broekhuis and show around a Bulgaria error to slice the gap to 14-11. Bulgaria answered with consecutive points going into the second technical timeout up 16-11. An Olgard block after a Bulgaria error whittled the deficit to three at 16-13. Again, Bulgaria answered with back-to-back points to establish a five-point cushion at 18-13. Shaw and Cook put down consecutive USA kills to move back to within three at 18-15, put Bulgaria notched three consecutive points of its own for a 21-15 lead. Bulgaria scored consecutive points to gain match points at 24-16. Team USA saved one set point, but not the match as Bulgaria won 25-17.

U.S. Women’s Junior National Team
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, Region, Club or College, High School Grad Year)
1 - Kendall Bateman (S, 5-11, Manhattan Beach, Calif., SCVA, University of Southern California, 2008)
2 - Kelsey Black (OH/L, 6-0, Amarillo, Texas, Sun Country, Texas A&M, 2008)
3 - Morgan Broekhuis (OPP/S, 6-6, Colorado Springs, Colo., Rocky Mountain, Colorado Juniors, 2010)
4 - Karissa Cook (S, 6-0, Santa Cruz, Calif., Northern Cal, Main Beach, 2009)
5 - Amanda Dowdy (MB, 6-3, Lexington, Texas, Lone Star, Texas Tech, 2008)
6 - Lilla Frederick (OH/L, 5-10, Huntington Beach, Calif., SCVA, Pepperdine, 2008)
7 - Alex Hunt (OH, 6-0, Granger, Ind., Hoosier, Michigan, 2008)
8 - Ashleigh McCord (OH, 6-1, Wylie, Texas, North Texas Region, Rice, 2008)
9 - Sarah Shaw (OH, 6-2, Austin, Texas, Lone Star, Austin Juniors, 2010)
10 – Alexis Olgard (MB, 6-6, Spokane, Wash., Evergreen, Spokane Splash, 2010)
11 - Hayley Spelman (OPP, 6-6, Las Vegas, Nev., SCVA, TCA, 2009)
12 - Mallory Woolridge (MB, 6-3, Henrico, Va., Old Dominion Region, USPAV, 2010)
Head Coach: Paula Weishoff (UC Irvine head coach)
Assistant Coach: John Corbelli (Texas A&M associate head coach)
Assistant Coach: Jim Stone (U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team head coach)
Team Leader: Denise Corlett (Stanford associate head coach)

FIVB Women’s Junior National Pool D Schedule/Results
July 16: Turkey def. Bulgaria 25-21, 19-25, 25-19, 25-10
July 16: Cuba def. USA 25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-11
July 17: Bulgaria def. USA 23-25, 25-18, 25-17, 25-17
July 17: Cuba vs. Turkey, 6 p.m.
July 18: Bulgaria vs. Cuba, 4 p.m.
July 18: USA vs. Turkey, 8 p.m.

Pool D Standings
Turkey 1-0
Cuba 1-0
Bulgaria 1-1
USA 0-2