U.S. Women Handle Costa Rica

June 26, 2009, 9:35 p.m. (ET)

MIAMI, Fla. (June 26, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, the 2008 Olympic Games silver medalist, opened the Eighth Pan American Cup with a 25-7, 25-6, 25-16 victory over Costa Rica on Friday evening at the University of Miami’s BankUnited Center.

The U.S., hosting its first international volleyball tournament since 2000, returns to action on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET versus Guatemala, which lost to Puerto Rico earlier today.

“This was a nice start to the tournament,” U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon said. “Costa Rica is a good team, and it showed in the third set. I was glad to see that we managed the game well in the first two sets.”

Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.), playing in her first competition with the U.S. Women’s National Team after completing her eligibility at University of Nebraska last fall, led all scorers with 14 points with 12 kills and two aces. Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) made her official return after an absence of two year-plus years from the team by scoring 11 points on seven kills, three aces and a block. Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) chipped in nine points via the attack, while Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) added seven points on five kills and two blocks.

Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) tallied six points in the victory, while Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) tacked on five points. Tayyiba Haneef-Park (Laguna Hills, Calif.) contributed four points off the bench and Nellie Spicer (Barrington, Ill.) rounded out the scoring with a kill.

Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) provided a team-high six digs. Larsen had a team-high six excellent receptions on 11 attempts. Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) recorded seven assists off the bench, while Spicer added five assists.

“My compliments to the Costa Rica team,” Scott-Arruda said. “They fought hard to the end. Any time you win 3-0 is good, but we need to work on minimizing our errors. It was good to play at home.”

U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon started Scott-Arruda and Bown at middle blocker, Richards and Larsen at outside hitter, Spicer at setter and Metcalf at opposite. Davis served as the libero. Haneef-Park and Barboza subbed into the match in the first set and started the third set for Metcalf and Richards, respectively. Thompson started the final set in place Spicer.

The U.S. jumped to a 9-2 lead in the opening set as Richards and Scott-Arruda led the way with two points apiece in the spurt. After Costa Rica cut the deficit to 10-5, Team USA rattled off 11 unanswered points as Metcalf scored four points in the run. The Americans closed out the set with a 25-7 victory on a Richards kill.

With a 3-2 lead in the second set, the U.S. extended the lead to 9-2 with six straight points on Metcalf’s serve which netted three aces. The Americans built the lead to 17-3 as part of an overall 14-1 run. Larsen ended the set with an ace at 25-6.

Costa Rica recovered to take an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout of the third set. However, Barboza led the U.S. to a 6-0 run with two aces and a kill for a 10-8 advantage. Team USA rolled off an 8-1 run to grab an 18-10 lead with Scott-Arruda scoring a kill and block during the spurt. The U.S. finished out the set with a 25-15 victory on consecutive kills from Bown and Barboza.

"While it was a nice effort by the team, I think there are obvious areas for improvement," McCutcheon said.

Verania Willis Lindo led Costa Rica with seven points, while Melissa Fernandez Monge added three points.

Team USA held a 6-1 advantage in blocks and served an 8-3 margin in aces. The U.S. converted 43 of 71 attacks into kills with only seven errors. In contrast, Costa Rica was only able to convert on 14 of 72 attempts.

Earlier in the day, Puerto Rico handled Guatemala 25-9, 25-19, 25-18 and Peru defeated Mexico 25-13, 25-15, 25-10 in Pool A action. Over in Pool B, Brazil topped Canada 25-11, 25-12, 25-13 and Dominican Republic beat Argentina 24-26, 25-13, 25-18, 27-25.

Pan American Cup pool play, scheduled for June 26-30, is a five-day, round robin preliminary to determine classification round matches. The U.S. Women’s National Team, part of Pool A at University of Miami with matches at BankUnited Center, will compete against Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Puerto Rico in pool action. All U.S. pool matches are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET.

Pool B, played at nearby Florida International University’s U.S. Century Bank Arena, includes Argentina, top-ranked Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic and Trinidad & Tobago. The 2008 Olympic Games gold-medal participants of U.S. and Brazil are on opposite sides of the bracket. Colombia was originally part of Pool B, but was unable to attend.

A Pan American Cup tournament pass, good for all matches at both venues, is $75 for adults and $60 for children. Tickets for each date of competition at the specific venue (either University of Miami or Florida International University) are $20 for reserved general admission, $12 for adult general admission and $10 for child general admission. Tickets can be purchased online at www.miamisports.org.

After the preliminary pool round, the Pan American Cup quarterfinal and classification matches are set for July 2, followed by semifinal matches and additional classification matches on July 3. The championship match and final classification round matches are scheduled for July 4. All non-pool matches will be played at University of Miami. Classification round matches will be played on July 2 at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. (all ET). Matches on July 3 and final classification matches on July 4 will be played at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. (all ET).

The Women’s Pan American Cup is a qualifying tournament into the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix and the 2009 Women’s Final Four. The top three NORCECA teams and top team from South America receive berths into next year’s FIVB World Grand Prix. The top two teams from NORCECA, Brazil and the top remaining team from South America qualify for the Final Four to be hosted by Brazil.

Miami will be a busy location for volleyball the last week of June and first week of July. The 2009 USA Junior Olympic Girls’ Volleyball Championships is being played June 26-July 5 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Typically, the tournament attracts 788 teams and approximately 9,500 athletes in addition to parents and relatives. A total of 19 championships are contested in age groups ranging from 12 to 18.

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for Eighth Women’s Pan American Cup
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
2 – Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 – Tayyiba Haneef-Park (OH/OPP, 6-7, Laguna Hills, Calif., Long Beach State)
4 – Angie Pressey (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California)
5 – Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 – Nicole Davis (L, 5-6, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
7 – Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Yorba Linda, Calif., Hawaii)
8 – Cynthia Barboza (OH, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford)
10 – Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)
11 – Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 – Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
15 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-7, Kent, Wash., Washington)
16 – Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Aliquippa, Pa., Penn State)
17 – Nellie Spicer (S, 5-9, Barrington, Ill., UCLA)
19 – Jane Collymore (OH, 5-11, Seattle, Wash., Florida)
Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coaches: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.), Paula Weishoff (Irvine, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek

Women’s Pan American Cup Schedule (all times Eastern Time)

Pool A
(at University of Miami)

Standings: USA 1-0, Peru 1-0, Puerto Rico 1-0, Guatemala 0-1, Mexico 0-1, Costa Rica 0-1

June 26: #1 Puerto Rico def. Guatemala, 25-9, 25-15, 25-18
June 26: #2 Peru def. Mexico, 25-13, 25-15, 25-10
June 26: #4 United States def. Costa Rica, 25-7, 25-6, 25-16
June 27: #6 Costa Rica vs. Peru, 3 p.m.
June 27: #7 Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, 5:30 p.m.
June 27: #9 United States vs. Guatemala, 8 p.m.
June 28: #11 Costa Rica vs. Guatemala, 3 p.m.
June 28: #12 Puerto Rico vs. Peru, 5:30 p.m.
June 28: #14 United States vs. Mexico, 8 p.m.
June 29: #16 Mexico vs. Guatemala, 3 p.m.
June 29: #17 Costa Rica vs. Puerto Rico, 5:30 p.m.
June 29: #19 United States vs. Peru, 8 p.m.
June 30: #21 Guatemala vs. Peru, 3 p.m.
June 30: #22 Mexico vs. Costa Rica, 5:30 p.m.
June 30: #24 United States vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m.

Pool B
(at Florida International University)

Standings: Brazil 1-0, Dominican Republic, Argentina 0-1, Canada 0-1, Trinidad & Tobago
June 26: #3 Dominican Republic def. Argentina, 24-26, 25-13, 25-18, 27-25
June 26: #5 Brazil def. Canada, 25-11, 25-12, 25-13
June 27: #8 Argentina vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 5:30 p.m.
June 27: #10 Canada vs. Dominican Republic, 8 p.m.
June 28: #13 Trinidad & Tobago vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
June 28: #15 Brazil vs. Argentina, 8 p.m.
June 29: #18 Brazil vs. Trinidad & Tobago 5:30 p.m.
June 29: #20 Argentina vs. Canada, 8 p.m.
June 30: #23 Canada vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 5:30 p.m.
June 30: #25 Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, 8 p.m.

July 1: Off Day

Classification Rounds
(at University of Miami)
July 2: #26 Pool B 4th vs. Pool A 5th, 1 p.m. (class 5-10)
July 2: #27 Pool A 4th vs. Pool B 5th, 3 p.m. (class 5-10)
July 2: #28 Pool B 2nd vs. Pool A 3rd, 5:30 p.m. (quarterfinals)
July 2: #29 Pool A 2nd vs. Pool B 3rd, 8 p.m. (quarterfinals)
July 3: #30 Loser #26 vs. Loser #27, 11 a.m. (class 9-10)
July 3: #31 Winner #26/#27 vs. Loser #28/#29, 1 p.m. (class 5-8)
July 3: #32 Winner #26/27 vs. Loser #28/#29, 3 p.m. (class 5-8)
July 3: #33 Pool B Winner vs. Winner #28/#29, 5:30 p.m. (semi)
July 3: #34 Pool A Winner vs. Winner #28/#29, 8 p.m. (semi)
July 4: #35 Loser #30 vs. Pool B 6th, 11 a.m. (class 11-12)
July 4: #35 Loser #31 vs. Loser #32, 1 p.m. (class 7-8)
July 4: #36 Winner #31 vs. Winner #32, 3 p.m. (class 5-6)
July 4: #37 Loser #33 vs. Loser #34, 5:30 p.m. (class 3-4)
July 4: #38 Winner #33 vs. Winner #34, 8 p.m. (Final)