U.S. Women Lose in Five to Dominican Republic

Sept. 26, 2009, 9:28 p.m. (ET)

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


ANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2009) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked second in the world, had five match points against Dominican Republic before losing a five-set semifinal match 21-25, 26-24, 10-25, 25-20, 21-19 Saturday evening during the NORCECA Continental Championship at Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

With the loss, the U.S. drops into the bronze-medal match on Sunday at 6 p.m. (3 p.m. Pacific Time) and will play the loser of tonight’s other semifinal between Cuba and Puerto Rico. The U.S. had reached the gold-medal match of the previous nine NORCECA Continental Championships and 16 of the past 17 events (all against Cuba). Dominican Republic will be playing for the gold medal in the NORCECA Championship for the first time in the events’ 21 biennial contests.

The NORCECA Continental Championship winner qualifies for the 2009 FIVB Grand Champions Cup to be held Nov. 10-15 in Japan. Each of the four continental champions earns a spot into the FIVB Grand Champions Cup, along with host Japan and one wild card team.

The U.S. grabbed an early 8-5 lead in the opening set and went on to win 25-21. The Americans led 22-20 and picked up set point at 24-23 in the second set, but were denied as Dominican Republic scored the final three points for a 26-24 victory. Team USA jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the third set, then scored the final six points for a convincing 25-10 victory. Dominican Republic scored four points in a row to a break an 11-all tie in the fourth set propel itself to a 25-20 victory.

Dominican Republic built an 8-2 advantage in the tiebreaking fifth set, but the U.S. stormed back to take the lead at 13-12 on an 11-4 run. Team USA had two match points before the advantage swung to Dominican Republic at 16-15. The U.S. saved the match point and gained advantages at 17-16, 18-17 and 19-18. However, Dominican Republic rallied for the 21-19 victory.

Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) led the American scoring with a match-high 25 points via 24 kills on 48 swings and a block. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) added 15 points on 12 kills, two aces and a block. Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) and Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) each pocketed 11 points.

Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) charted 10 points in the loss for the U.S. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) added four points, while Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) rounded out the scoring with two points.

Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) provided a team-high 15 digs and 26 excellent receptions on 35 attempts. Metcalf added 10 digs, while Larson had 22 excellent receptions on 29 attempts. Berg handed out 34 assists in the match.

McCutcheon started Berg at setter, Metcalf at opposite, Bown and Scott-Arruda at middle blocker and Barboza and Larson at outside hitter. Sykora was the libero for the match. Fawcett and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) were subs into all five sets as part of double switches, while Elisha Thomas (Grass Valley, Calif.) came off the bench in the first two sets.

“Congratulations to the Dominicans,” Metcalf said. “I wish them the best of luck in the final. They bounced back from being 1-2 and played very well.”

USA out-scored Dominican Republic 113-103 for the match, but the final team stats were relatively close. Dominican Republic held advantages of 63-62 in kills and 6-5 in aces, while the U.S. edged its opponent 11-10 in blocks. The U.S. converted 38.6 percent of its attacks into kills and held a .306 hitting efficiency. Dominican Republic scored on 39.4 percent of its attacks and had a .281 hitting efficiency. USA took advantage of 35 Dominican Republic errors and limited its own miscues to 24. Dominican Republic held a 56-52 edge in digs.

Earlier this year, U.S. defeated Dominican Republic in a separate five-set thriller on Aug. 7 during the FIVB World Grand Prix. The Americans won the match with a 23-21 score in the tiebreaking fifth set. For the year, the teams have each won two matches in the four head-to-head meetings.

Milagros Cabral scored 20 points to lead Dominican Republic to the victory, while teammate Prisilla Rivera added 18 points. Bethania De La Cruz charted 14 points for Dominican Republic.

Cuba, which earned an automatic berth into the semifinals by winning Pool B, has won the NORCECA Continental Championship 13 times (1973, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2007). Meanwhile, the United States (1981, 1983, 2001, 2003, 2005) has won the championship five times and Mexico twice (1969, 1971). Further, USA and Cuba have played against each other in 16 of the last 17 finals.

The U.S. scored four straight points to break a 5-all tie in the opening set as a kill and block by Scott-Arruda helped the Americans to a 9-5 lead. Dominican Republic cut the margin to 12-11 with a 4-1 scoring spurt. Barboza picked up a kill and block to push the lead back to three points at 15-12. The teams traded the next 10 points and the U.S. broke the trend with a Dominican Republic error at 21-17 after a Bown kill. Dominican Republic sliced its deficit to 21-19, but a Metcalf kill and Dominican Republic error gave U.S. set point at 24-20. Barboza ended the frame at 25-21 with her fourth point of the set.

Dominican Republic earned the first two-point cushion of the second set at 5-3, but a 4-1 American scoring run with kills from Scott-Arruda and Barboza put the U.S. in front 8-6 at the first technical timeout. Dominican Republic responded with three unanswered points to take a 9-8 lead. The teams traded points until Cabral tallied a kill and block on successive plays at 15-13. The U.S. tied the set at 15-all with a Fawcett kill and Dominican Republic error. Dominican Republic charged in front 19-16 with four of the next five points. However, U.S. picked up two kills from Metcalf, a block from Larson and Bown block as part of a 6-1 spurt to give the Americans a 22-20 lead. Lisvel Eve earned consecutive blocks to tie the set at 22-all. After Barboza gave the U.S. set point at 24-23 with a kill, Dominican Republic responded with a kill from Eve and two spikes from Cabral to win 26-24.

Metcalf scored three kills and Bown added another spike in pushing the U.S. in front 6-1 to open the third set. Metcalf tallied a kill followed by a Dominican Republic error to increase the margin to 8-2. Berg served an ace after a Scott-Arruda kill to give the U.S. an 11-4 advantage. Team USA reached the second technical timeout up 16-5 as Barboza was credited with an ace around blocks from Scott-Arruda and Larson as part of a 5-0 run. Dominican Republic cut the deficit to 17-9 with four of the next five points, but managed just one point the rest of the set. Larson collected an ace during a 6-0 run with kills from Bown and Barboza around three set-ending Dominican Republic errors at 25-10.

The U.S. won the first two points of the fourth set with errors from Dominican Republic, which came back to tie the frame at 5-all and take the lead at 7-6. Scott-Arruda and Metcalf turned in consecutive kills at 9-8. However, the lead was short lived as Rivera served an ace for Dominican Republic giving it the advantage at 10-9. De La Cruz notched three consecutive aces presenting Dominican Republic with a 15-11 advantage. Larson and Barboza spiked consecutive kills to stop the bleeding at 15-13, only to have Dominican Republic return to a four-point edge at 17-13. Metcalf slammed a kill slicing the U.S. deficit 18-16, and yet again Dominican Republic answered with consecutive points at 20-16. Dominican Republic went on to a 25-20 victory to force the tiebreaker.

The early part of the fifth set was all Dominican Republic as it reached the court switch leading 8-2. However, the U.S. regrouped with a Larson kill and ace, followed by blocks from Berg and Bown to close the gap to two at 8-6. Barboza put down a kill after a Dominican Republic error to whittle the deficit to 9-8. Team USA tied the set at 11-all on a Barboza ace after a Dominican Republic error. Metcalf turned in consecutive kills to give the U.S. a 13-12 advantage. Metcalf gave Team USA match points at 14-13 and 15-14 with kills, but Dominican Republic saved both chances. Dominican Republic gained its first match point at 16-15, but a service error tied the set at 16-all. Larson followed with a kill to present the U.S. with its third match point at 17-16. Dominican Republic saved the chance, and Scott-Arruda produced a kill at 18-17 for Team USA’s fourth match point. An Eve kill tied the set, but a setting error by Dominican Republic push the USA in front 1-18. Rivera tied the set at 19-all and a Team USA mistake gave the Dominican Republic its second match point. Vargas ended the match at 21-19 in the fifth set with a kill.

U.S. Women's National Team Roster for 2009 NORCECA Continental Championship
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 - Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
2 - Danielle Scott-Arruda (MB, 6-2, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State)
3 - Angie Pressey (OH, 5-8, Lake Mary, Fla., California-Berkeley)
4 - Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawaii, Minnesota)
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 (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 - Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
13 - Elisha Thomas (MB, 6-3, Grass Valley, Calif., Long Beach State)
16 - Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Aliquippa, Pa., Penn State)
18 - Courtney Thompson (S, 5-7, Kent, Wash., Washington)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.), Tom Pestolesi (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.)
Team Leader: Carl McGown

2009 NORCECA Continental Championship Schedule

Pool A: Canada, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago
Pool B: Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, United States

Pool A Round Robin
Sept. 22: Dominican Republic def. Canada 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 (Match 3)
Sept. 22: Puerto Rico def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-18, 25-15, 25-17 (Match 4)
Sept. 23: Dominican Republic def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-12, 25-10, 25-7 (Match 6)
Sept. 23: Puerto Rico def. Canada 25-22, 25-23, 25-21 (Match 8)
Sept. 24: Canada def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-20, 25-16, 25-19 (Match 9)
Sept. 24: Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico 25-21, 28-30, 25-16, 25-22 (Match 12)

Pool A Standings
Dominican Republic 3-0 (1.406 Point Ratio) * Plays PUR tonight
Puerto Rico 2-1 (1.091 Point Ratio) * Plays DOM tonight
Canada 1-2 (0.990 Point Ratio)
Trinidad & Tobago 0-3 (0.596 Point Ratio)

Pool B Round Robin
Sept. 22: USA def. Mexico 25-18, 25-10, 25-13 (Match 1)
Sept. 22: Cuba def. Costa Rica 25-14, 25-10, 22-25, 25-20 (Match 2)
Sept. 23: Mexico def. Costa Rica 28-26, 23-25, 25-19, 25-19 (Match 5)
Sept. 23: Cuba def. USA 19-25, 16-25, 25-16, 28-26, 15-10 (Match 7)
Sept. 24: Cuba def. Mexico 25-15, 25-13, 25-14 (Match 10)
Sept. 24: USA def. Costa Rica 25-7, 25-10, 25-13 (Match 11)

Pool B Standings
Cuba 3-0 (1.291 Point Ratio)
USA 2-1 (1.448 Point Ratio)
Mexico 1-2 (0.770 Point Ratio)
Costa Rica 0-3 (0.689 Point Ratio)

Sept. 25: USA (2B) def. Canada (3A) 17-25, 25-10, 25-23, 25-21 (Match 13)
Sept. 25: Puerto Rico (2A) def. Mexico (3B) 25-11, 25-15, 25-15 (Match 14)

Classification 5/8
Sept. 26: Mexico def. Trinidad & Tobago (4A) 25-20, 25-16, 25-16 (Match 15)
Sept. 26: Canada Costa Rica (3B) 25-17, 25-16, 25-22 (Match 16)

Sept. 26: Dominican Republic (1A) def. USA 21-25, 26-24, 10-25, 25-20, 21-19 (Match 17)
Sept. 26: Cuba (1B) vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m. (Match 18)

Classification 7/8
Sept. 27: Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica, 2 p.m. (Match 19)

Classification 5/6
Sept. 27: Mexico vs. Canada, 4 p.m. (Match 20)

Bronze-Medal Match
Sept. 27: USA vs. Loser Match 18, 6 p.m. (Match 21)

Gold-Medal Match
Sept. 27: Dominican Republic vs. Winner Match 18, 8 p.m. (Match 22)