U.S. Women Reach NORCECA Semis, Defeat Mexico

Sept. 15, 2011, 9:27 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
Associate Director, Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org

Unofficial DataVolley Stats * Official NORCECA Stats

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico (Sept. 15, 2011) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team handled Mexico 25-11, 25-8, 25-19 on Thursday evening in the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship quarterfinals being held in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

The U.S., ranked second in the world by the FIVB, advances to Friday’s semifinal round and will play Cuba. Dominican Republic, which topped Canada 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 in the other quarterfinal, will take on host Puerto Rico in the second semifinal. Both Puerto Rico and Cuba bypassed the quarterfinal round and moved directly into the semifinals by being the top two first-round pool winners. The Americans won Pool B, but their points scored ratio was the third-best among the three pools.

The NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship concludes on Sept. 17 with the final classification matches. The event’s gold and silver medalist will earn tickets to the 2011 FIVB World Cup, the first 2012 Olympic Games qualification event, being staged Nov. 4-18 in Japan.

The U.S. broke open a close 9-8 margin in the first set over Mexico by scoring 16 of the final 19 points for a 25-11 victory. Team USA produced five blocks and four aces in the opening set. The U.S. used an 11-2 scoring run to take a 14-5 advantage in the second set, then scored the final seven points for a 25-8 victory. The Americans pulled out of a 9-all tie in the third set with three consecutive points and inched toward the 25-19 victory.

“I am very happy with the way we played tonight,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “It is always good to play Cuba as they are one of the best teams in the world.”

Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) scored a match-high 12 points for the U.S. with nine kills on 18 attacks. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) chipped in 10 points with six kills on nine attacks, three aces and a block. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) added four kills on 10 swings, four aces and two blocks. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) charted seven points on with six kills on 10 attacks and an ace, while Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) collected six points on four kills via five attacks and two blocks.

Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) notched five points off the bench all on kills from 10 attacks, while Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) pocketed two kills and a block for three points. Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) totaled two points as a third-set reserve, while Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) and Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) each scored a point.

Berg provided 11 assists in the match and Alisha Glass added six to help the Americans to a 54.1 kill percent and a .500 hitting efficiency (40-3-74). The U.S. committed just three attack errors in the match. Meanwhile, Team USA held Mexico to a 28.1 kill percent and .157 hitting efficiency.

Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) totaled a match-high 10 digs in the victory, while adding a team-high six excellent receptions on nine attempts. The U.S. tallied 17 excellent service receptions on 33 chances.

“It was a good, competitive match and I am happy with our performance,” said Tamas, the U.S. captain. “We played a clean match tonight and we will be ready for tomorrow.”

Team USA held an 8-0 advantage in aces as the American serve-and-receive create problems for Mexico. In addition, the U.S. gained a 9-3 block margin and committed just 10 errors in the match to Mexico’s 18. Team USA gained a 25-21 edge in digs.

McCutcheon started Tom and Larson at outside hitter, Akinradewo and Bown at middle blocker, Hooker at opposite and Berg at setter. Davis was the designated libero for the match. Hodge subbed into the match in the second set and started the third set in place of Tom. Tamas started the third set in place of Bown. Alisha Glass was a sub in both the first and third sets, while Kim Glass and Metcalf were subs in the third set.

The U.S. and Cuba are accustomed to facing each other in the NORCECA playoffs, but typically in the gold-medal match. Prior to the last biennial NORCECA event in 2009, the team teams had played each other in 16 of the last 17 finals. Cuba has won the tournament 13 of the 21 editions, while the Americans have won the event five times with 11 silver medals. Ironically, neither the U.S. or Cuba reached the gold-medal match at the 2009 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship as both lost in semifinal matches and Cuba ended with the bronze with its second five-set victory over the Americans during the tournament.

“We are quite a different team from 2009,” said McCutcheon.

McCutcheon views Cuba as a team with lots of power.

“They are very physical and play good volleyball,” McCutcheon said. “They are probably the most physical team in the world.”

Claudia Rios led Mexico with 10 points as no other teammate scored more than five points in the loss.

“USA is a powerhouse volleyball team,” Mexico coach Mario Herrera Ortega said. “We were a bit nervous at the beginning and then we play more relaxed.”

“USA is an excellent team,” said Rios, Mexico’s captain. “The first two sets finished very quickly, but we were able to relax in the third set and score more points with confidence.”

Larson gave the U.S. a 3-1 lead in the opening set with a block after a Mexico error. Hooker served an ace following a Bown kill to push the advantage to 5-2. The teams traded two-point runs at 7-4 and Mexico pulled to within one at 9-8. The Americans scored three straight points with a Tom ace sandwiched between a kill and block by Hooker. The U.S. marched to a 20-9 advantage on seven straight points via two blocks and kill by Larson, two kills by Hooker and a spike by Akinradewo. The U.S. scored the final three points with kills by Bown and Tom around a Larson ace for a 25-11 victory.

The U.S. scored the first two points of the second set with a Tom block and Akinradewo kill, only to have Mexico fight back for a 3-all tie. The Americans answered with five consecutive points to reach the first technical timeout leading 8-3 with a Larson kill and block and an Akinradewo ace during the spurt. Team USA built a 14-5 margin on five straight points with two kills from Tom and Bown each around a Larson ace. Tom extended the gap to 18-7 with consecutive kills after an Akinradewo spike. Team USA scored the final six points with three kills by Hodge, a Tom ace, Hooker kill and Mexico error for a 25-8 victory.

Tamas gave the U.S. an early 3-1 lead in the third set with a block following a Hooker kill. Mexico rallied to knot the score at 6-all and the teams traded points through a 9-all score. Hooker provided a kill and ace followed by a Hodge kill to erase the 9-all tie for a 12-9 lead. After Mexico closed to within one at 12-11, a four-point swing gave the Americans a 16-11 advantage at the second technical timeout with kills by Tamas, Alisha Glass and Kim Glass around a Mexico error. Team USA ended the set with a 25-19 score following a Tamas kill and Mexico error.

For additional information on the U.S. Women’s National Team at the 2011 NORCECA Continental Championship, visit usavolleyball.org/events/8347.

All matches during the 2011 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship will have Live Stats that can be accessed through the NORCECA event page by clicking here.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
4 - Lindsey Berg (S, 5-8, Honolulu, Hawaii, Minnesota)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., Southern California)
7 - Heather Bown (MB, 6-3, Yorba Linda, Calif., Hawaii)
8 - Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
9 - Jennifer Tamas (MB, 6-4, Milpitas, Calif., Pacific)
10 - Kim Glass (OH, 6-2, Lancaster, Pa., Arizona)
11 - Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Nebraska)
12 - Nancy Metcalf (Opp, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
15 - Logan Tom (OH, 6-1, Salt Lake City, Utah, Stanford)
16 - Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford)
18 - Megan Hodge (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State)
19 - Destinee Hooker (Opp, 6-4, San Antonio, Texas, Texas)

Head Coach: Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand)
Assistant Coach: Karch Kiraly (San Clemente, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Paula Weishoff (Irvine, Calif.)
Assistant Coach/Technical Coordinator: Jamie Morrison (Dana Point, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer/Medical Support: Jill Wosmek (Silver Lake, Minn.)
Team Manager: Ken Sullivan (Laguna Beach, Calif.)

2011 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship Schedule
Caguas, Puerto Rico * Sept. 12-17
Times Listed as Puerto Rico Time and Subject to Change

Pool A
Sept. 12: Puerto Rico def. Costa Rica 25-8, 25-12, 25-10 (Match 3)
Sept. 13: Mexico def. Costa Rica 25-21, 21-25, 25-11, 25-17 (Match 4)
Sept. 14: Puerto Rico def. Mexico 25-16, 25-18, 28-26 (Match 9)

Pool B
Sept. 12: Canada def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-15, 28-30, 25-22, 25-11 (Match 2)
Sept. 13: USA def. Canada 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 (Match 6)
Sept. 14: USA def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-14, 25-16, 25-11 (Match 7)

Pool C
Sept. 12: Dominican Republic def. Panama, 25-12, 25-10, 25-15 (Match 1)
Sept. 13: Cuba def. Panama 25-13, 25-15, 25-7 (Match 5)
Sept. 14: Cuba def. Dominican Republic 25-15, 29-27, 25-22 (Match 8)

Classification 7-9
Sept. 15: Costa Rica def. Panama 25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 25-19 (Match 10)

Sept. 15: USA def. Mexico 25-11, 25-8, 25-19 (Match 12)
Sept. 15: Dominican Republic def. Canada 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 (Match 11)

Final Classification 7-8
Sept. 16: Trinidad & Tobago vs. Costa Rica, 4 p.m. (Match 13)

Sept. 16: USA vs. Cuba, 6 p.m. (Match 14)
Sept. 16: Puerto Rico vs. Dominican Republic, 8:18 p.m. (Match 15)

Final Classification 5-6
Sept. 17: Canada vs. Mexico, 4 p.m. (Match 16)

Medal Matches
Sept. 17: Loser Match 14 vs. Loser Match 15, 6 p.m. (Bronze)
Sept. 17: Winner Match 14 vs. Match 15, 8:18 p.m. (Gold)