U.S. Women Earn Bronze at Pan Am Cup

June 26, 2010, 10:13 p.m. (ET)

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


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 26, 2010) – Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) scored 16 points to lead the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 25-15, 25-20, 25-17 sweep of Cuba on Saturday evening in the bronze-medal match of the IX Pan American Cup being held in Tijuana, Mexico. Later tonight Dominican Republic and Peru will play for the gold medal in Tijuana.

“Our main goal was to qualify to the World Grand Prix, but it was good to see our team coming back strong after the loss of last night (to Dominican Republic)”, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “We are happy with the victory and happy about going to the Grand Prix next year.”

In the process, Team USA earned its first medal at the Pan American Cup since 2004. The U.S. medaled in the first three Women’s Pan American Cups, starting with a bronze in the inaugural event in 2002, the gold in 2003 and the silver in 2004. Since then, Team USA had not reached the podium in the five most recent events.

Team USA used a 5-0 scoring run to assume a 15-11 advantage in the opening set and closed out the with a 10-point victory at 25-15. Trailing 13-12 in the second set, the U.S. used a 6-1 scoring run to reverse the lead for the fifth time in the set and put enough distance between it and Cuba to win 25-20. The Americans methodically inched to a 15-11 advantage in the third set and went on to win 25-17 as Cuba scored on its own serve three times. For the entire match, the U.S. committed just seven errors to Cuba’s 27.

For the second straight tournament this June, the U.S. played NORCECA rival Cuba. Team USA also defeated Cuba in straight sets on June 12 during the semifinals of the Montreux Volley Masters in Montreux, Switzerland, before falling to China in four sets during the gold-medal match on June 13. Last year, Cuba defeated the U.S. twice at the NORCECA Continental Championship, rallying from a two-set deficit both times. At the 2008 Olympic Games, Cuba swept the U.S. in pool play before the Americans defeated the Cubans in three sets during the Olympic semifinals.

By virtue of reaching the semifinals and being guaranteed as one of the top three finishing NORCECA teams at the Pan American Cup, the U.S. has already qualified for the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix. Peru, as the top South American team in the Pan American Cup, will join the top three NORCECA teams (Dominican Republic, USA, Cuba) at next year’s 12-team FIVB World Grand Prix.

The U.S. Women’s National Team’s next tournament will be the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix Aug. 6-29, but it will take part in two Red vs. Blue exhibition matches in July. The first exhibition is scheduled for Irvine Valley College (5500 Irvine Center Dr, Irvine, Calif.) on July 17 at 7 p.m. PT. The second exhibition is scheduled for St. Margaret’s Episcopal School (31641 LaNovia Avenue, San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) on July 24 at 7 p.m. PT. Tickets are $5 at the door.

Hodge scored her match-high 16 points via 14 kills on 30 swings, one block and an ace. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) chipped in five kills on 11 errorless attacks to go with a match-high five blocks for 11 total points. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) added seven kills on 20 attacks, one block and an ace for nine points. Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) contributed seven points with five kills, one block and an ace. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) was credited with three blocks and a kill for four points, while Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) rounded out the scoring with two kills.

Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) paced the USA defense with seven digs and a team-best nine excellent reception attempts on 12 attempts. Larson added six digs and nine excellent receptions on 16 attempts. Glass provided the U.S. with 12 running sets on 66 attempts.

McCutcheon started Glass at setter, Metcalf at opposite, Akinradewo and Bown at middle blocker, and Larson and Hodge at outside hitter. Sykora was the designated libero for the match.

The U.S. out-blocked Cuba 11-6 and held a 3-1 advantage in aces. Cuba managed a slim 38-34 margin in kills and a 21-20 edge in digs. Team USA converted 39.5 percent of its attacks into points with a .302 hitting efficiency (34-8-86). Cuba converted 36.5 percent of its attacks into kills, but mustered just .173 hitting efficiency (38-20-104) with its 20 attack errors.

“We were neutralized at the net like it was the case yesterday,” Cuban Head Coach Juan Carlos Gala said. “Our game was yesterday or maybe after securing the qualification to the Grand Prix our intensity was not the same. But anyway, USA was the better team on court today.”

Cuba’s Kenia Carcaces Opon scored a team-high 13 points in the loss with 11 kills, a block and ace. Yanelis Santos Allegne added nine points for Cuba.

The U.S. reached the Pan American Cup semifinals with five consecutive days of victories starting June 18 with a key 27-25, 25-22, 25-17 victory over Peru, which went on to win its next four matches. On June 19, the Americans blanked Puerto Rico 25-13, 25-17, 25-14. Last year, the U.S. defeated Puerto Rico in pool play during the Pan American Cup, only to have Puerto Rico come back for the upset over the Americans in the bronze-medal match. Team USA continued to gather steam with a 25-17, 25-9, 25-11 victory over surprising Trinidad & Tobago, which won its first two matches of the tournament (and its four-year history competing in the event). The U.S. dominated its fourth match against Costa Rica on June 21, winning 25-11, 25-10, 25-2. In its final pool match on June 22, the Americans topped Mexico 25-14, 25-16, 25-15 in front of 2,500 fans. During the semifinals, the U.S. lost to Dominican Republic 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-16.

The U.S. scored five unanswered points to take a 6-2 lead in the opening set, thanks to a Larson kill and ace, and kills from Hodge and Metcalf. Team USA went into the first technical timeout leading 8-3 after a Bown block followed a Cuba service error. Cuba came out of the break with four consecutive points to whittle the deficit to one point at 8-7. Cuba tied the set at 10-all with back-to-back points, then went into the lead at 11-10. Team USA reversed the lead to itself at 12-11 with a Metcalf kill coming after a Cuba service error. Larson extended the lead with a block and Cuba hit wide at 14-11. Larson scored the fifth straight USA point with a kill at 15-11. The Americans increased its advantage to 17-12 after a Cuban error followed a Larson kill. The U.S. lead reached six points at 19-13 with consecutive Cuba errors, then Akinradewo followed with a block to send the margin to seven at 20-13. The Americans continued the pressure with an Akinradewo kill and Cuba error at 22-14. Team USA reached set point on a Hodge kill at 24-15, then Cuba hit long to end the set at 25-15. Larson scored five points for the U.S. in the opening set.

The U.S. assumed a 3-1 lead in the second set after a Cuba error, Hodge kill and Bown block gave the Americans three straight points. Cuba tied the set at 3-all with an ace and gained the lead back at 7-6 on a U.S. error. Cuba stretched its lead to 9-7 with points on each side of the technical timeout. The Americans tied the score at 9-all with a kill and ace from Larson. Hodge put up a block after a Cuba service error to yield an 11-10 USA lead, then Metcalf added another block to extend the advantage to 12-10. Cuba quickly ran off three unanswered points to regain the lead at 13-12. Team USA responded with a Metcalf kill and took back the lead at 14-13 with a Cuba error. The U.S. went into the second technical timeout with a Hodge kill and Bown block to gain a two-point cushion at 16-14. Out of the break, Bown slammed an overpass for a kill and added a block to increase the American advantage to 18-14 forcing Cuba to call timeout. Team USA gained a five-point edge on the scoreboard after a Cuba error and Larson kill at 21-16. Cuba cut into the gap with a 4-1 scoring run to close to 22-20 and forcing two quick USA timeouts. The U.S. picked up set points after a Cuba error and Bown block at 24-20. Hodge ended the set at 25-20 on the next point, a cross-court kill. Hodge paced the U.S. in the second set with eight point while Team USA scored five blocks.

The Americans took a 5-3 advantage as Bown started a 3-0 scoring run with a kill followed by a Hodge ace and Cuba error. Cuba came back to tie the set at 6-all. Team USA answered with a Larson kill and Akinradewo block going into the first technical timeout leading 8-6. Cuba battled back to tie the set at 9-all with back-to-back points. Hodge and Metcalf collected back-to-back kills to put the U.S. back in front by two at 11-9. Team USA extended its advantage to 14-10 with two Hodge kills around a Metcalf ace leading to a Cuba timeout. Out of the break, Glass sent a second touch over to Cuba for a kill at 15-10. The U.S. gained a six-point lead at 17-11 with kills from Bown and Larson. Cuba cut into its deficit with back-to-back points at 18-14. Team USA responded with an Akinradewo block after a Cuba error to resume a six-point lead at 20-14. The Americans stretched their advantage to 22-15 with a Metcalf kill and Cuba error. The U.S. finished the set at 25-17 after Cuba committed a service and attack error on consecutive points. Hodge scored six of her points during the third set.

Additional information on the event can be found on the USA Volleyball Pan American Cup event page at usavolleyball.org/events/3057.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for 2010 Pan American Cup
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 - Ogonna Nnamani (OH, 6-1, Bloomington, Ill., Stanford)
2 - Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
3 - Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Aliquippa, Pa., Penn State)
5 - Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 - Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, Washington)
7 - Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Yorba Linda, Calif., Hawaii)
8 - Cynthia Barboza (OH, 6-0, Long Beach, Calif., Stanford)
11 - Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 - Nancy Metcalf (OPP, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
15 - Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., Washington)
16 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
18 - Megan Hodge (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Paula Weishoff (Irvine, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer/Medical Support: Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.)
Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison
Team Leader: Mary Wise
International Referee: Julie Voeck

IX Women’s Pan American Cup
June 18-26, 2010 * Tijuana and Rosarita, Mexico
(All Times Listed as Pacific Time)

Pool A Standings (Final)
Cuba 4-0
Dominican Republic 3-1
Argentina and 2-2
Brazil 1-3
Canada 0-4

Pool B Standings (Final)
USA 5-0
Peru 4-1
Puerto Rico 3-2
Trinidad & Tobago 2-3
Mexico 1-4
Costa Rica 0-5

Pool A
June 18: Argentina def. Canada 22-25, 25-20, 25-22, 19-25, 15-11
June 18: Cuba def. Brazil 27-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-21
June 19: Dominican Republic def. Brazil 25-14, 16-25, 25-19, 25-23
June 19: Cuba def. Canada 21-25, 25-19, 25-21, 25-19
June 20: Argentina def. Brazil 25-13, 25-15, 25-22
June 20: Cuba def. Dominican Republic 31-29, 23-25, 25-19, 23-25, 15-12
June 21: Brazil def. Canada 25-21, 28-26, 25-21
June 21: Dominican Republic def. Argentina 25-14, 27-25, 26-28, 25-20
June 22: Dominican Republic def. Canada 23-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-14
June 22: Cuba def. Argentina 23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-22

Pool B
June 18: USA def. Peru 27-25, 25-22, 25-17
June 18: Puerto Rico def. Costa Rica 25-13, 25-15, 25-19
June 18: Trinidad & Tobago def. Mexico 25-21, 25-15, 25-23
June 19: USA def. Puerto Rico 25-13, 25-17, 25-14
June 19: Trinidad & Tobago def. Costa Rica 25-15, 25-22, 25-21
June 19: Peru def. Mexico 25-17, 25-7, 25-21
June 20: Peru def. Puerto Rico 25-21, 25-22, 25-14
June 20: USA def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-17, 25-9, 25-11
June 20: Mexico def. Costa Rica 25-17, 15-25, 25-14, 25-14
June 21: Peru def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-18, 25-23, 25-15
June 21: USA def. Costa Rica 25-11, 25-10, 25-2
June 21: Puerto Rico def. Mexico 25-22, 25-14, 25-15
June 22: Peru def. Costa Rica 25-7, 25-7, 25-9
June 22: Puerto Rico def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-18, 25-19, 25-18
June 22: USA def. Mexico 25-14, 25-16, 25-14

Classification Matches

June 24: Peru (2B) def. Argentina (3A) 16-25, 25-17, 25-18, 25-21 (Match 28)
June 24: Dominican Republic (2A) def. Puerto Rico (3B) 25-21, 25-23, 25-23 (Match 29)

Classification 5-10
June 24: Brazil (4A) def. Mexico (5B) 25-11, 25-10, 25-23 (Match 26)
June 24: Canada (5A) def. Trinidad & Tobago (4B) 25-19, 25-18, 25-15 (Match 27)

Classification 5-8
June 25: Puerto Rico def. Brazil 25-21, 19-25, 25-22, 17-25, 15-12 (Match 32)
June 25: Argentina def. Canada 25-20, 25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 15-18(Match 31)

June 25: Dominican Republic def. USA 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 25-16 (Match 33)
June 25: Peru (2B) def. Cuba (1A) 25-18, 25-23, 25-23 (Match 34)

Classification 9-10
June 25: Mexico def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-21, 18-25, 25-21, 26-24 (Match 30)

Classification 7-8
June 26: Canada def. Brazil 25-18, 11-25, 25-14, 25-22 (Match 35)

Classification 5-6
June 26: Argentina def. Puerto Rico 25-23, 25-21, 25-16 (Match 36)

June 26: USA def. Cuba 25-15, 25-20, 25-17 (Match 37-Bronze)
June 26: Dominican Republic vs. Peru, 7 p.m. at Tijuana (Match 38-Gold)