U.S. Women Capture Sixth NORCECA Championship

Sept. 17, 2011, 11:12 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. 17, 2011) - The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team captured its sixth NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship with a 25-15, 25-23, 25-18 victory over defending champions Dominican Republic on Saturday evening in Caguas, Puerto Rico.

In the process, the world’s second-ranked U.S. squad officially earned NORCECA’s entry into the FIVB World Cup, the first 2012 Olympic Games qualifying event. The five continental championship winners earn spots into November’s World Cup, while the top four vice-champions earn spots into the 12-team tournament along with host Japan and two wild cards. Based on its No. 13 ranking to start the 2011 season, Dominican Republic also qualified for the World Cup as the African Confederation does not have a team ranked higher than the NORCECA vice champions.

The U.S. (26-7 in 2011), which did not lose a single set in its five tournament matches, won the biennial NORCECA Championship for the first time since 2005. The Americans also won the event in 1981, 1983, 2001. Team USA earned a silver medal at the 2007 NORCECA Championship to qualify for the FIVB World Cup and went on to finish third in the event to advance to the 2008 Olympic Games. The top three teams in the 2011 FIVB World Cup will also receive berths into the 2012 Olympic Games.

Team USA has now won two significant titles in the last month after capturing the gold medal at the FIVB World Grand Prix, the premier annual international volleyball tournament for women. Earlier this year the Americans also earned the bronze medal at the Pan American Cup after falling to Dominican Republic in the semifinal round.

Prior to the last biennial NORCECA event in 2009, Team USA had played Cuba in 16 of 17 NORCECA Championship gold-medal matches with the Americans winning gold five times and the silver 11 times during the period from 1975 to 2007. Cuba has won the tournament 13 of the 22 editions. In the current NORCECA event, the U.S. topped Cuba in a three-set semifinal yesterday to reach the gold-medal match. At the previous NORCECA Championship in 2009, the U.S. failed to medal for the first time since 1971 after losing three five-set matches (twice to Cuba including the bronze-medal match and once to Dominican Republic in the semifinal round) with a young roster.

After Dominican Republic closed from an 8-3 to 8-6 deficit in the opening set, the U.S. outscored the defending champions 17-9 down the stretch for a 25-15 victory. Team USA rallied from an 18-15 deficit in the second set to claim a 25-23 victory thanks to a 6-1 scoring run. The Americans broke a 7-all tie in the third set with 10 of the next 12 points to ease to a 25-18 victory.

“First of all we are happy to win the match and qualify for the FIVB World Cup,” said U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand), who received the Eugenio George Award as the tournament's most outstanding coach. “Both teams expended a lot of energy and emotion into their semifinal victories, and those matches are always difficult. Now we look forward to the World Cup and as all teams competing there, hope to qualify for the Olympic Games.”

Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) led the U.S. with 17 points via 13 kills on 27 attacks, three blocks and an ace. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) secured six kills on 12 attacks and a match-high five blocks. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) charted six kills on 16 swings, two aces and a block for nine points. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah), the tournament’s Best Server, tacked on seven kills via 13 swings and an ace for eight points, while Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) produced four kills on nine errorless attacks and a block for five points. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) rounded out the scoring with a block.

Berg, the tournament’s Best Setter, tallied 29 assists leading the Americans to a 46.8 kill percent and .325 hitting efficiency. Meanwhile, Team USA limited Dominican Republic to a .191 hitting efficiency with 21 attack errors.

Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) charted a team-high five digs to go with 10 excellent receptions on 13 errorless chances. Larson added four digs with a team-high 14 excellent receptions on 20 attempts.

“Congratulations to Dominican Republic for a great match,” U.S. captain Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) said. “We came here to qualify for the World Cup, and we accomplished that goal. I think what has helped us is our commitment to work for each other, and we have been able to do that in this tournament.”

Team USA out-blocked Dominican Republic 11-5 and secured a 4-1 margin in aces. The Americans limited their errors to 12, while Dominican Republic committed 25 mistakes to offset its narrow 38-36 kill advantage. For the tournament, the U.S. committed just 53 errors in five matches, or 10.6 per match.

“I think it is incredible, that no matter who has been on the other side of the net, that we have won so many 3-0 matches over the last month (including the FIVB World Grand Prix championship),” Berg said. “We play together as a team for one another. Even the players on the bench participate in the match in so many ways. They look for tendencies of the other team and give us tremendous feedback. It is incredible to be a part of this team.”

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. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) was a sub in the first two sets, while Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) was a serving sub in the second set.

Dominican Republic’s Bethania De La Cruz scored 14 kills and a block for 15 points.

Earlier in the day Cuba defeated Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-15, 25-21 in the bronze-medal match and Mexico downed Canada 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-22 to finish in fifth place.

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 def. Costa Rica 26-24, 25-21, 25-12 (Match 13)

Sept. 16: USA def. Cuba 25-20, 25-17, 25-13 (Match 14)
Sept. 16: Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico 25-16, 25-23, 25-22 (Match 15)

Final Classification 5-6
Sept. 17: Mexico def. Canada 22-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-22 (Match 16)

Medal Matches
Sept. 17: Cuba def. Puerto Rico 25-20, 25-15, 25-21 (Bronze)
Sept. 17: USA def. Dominican Republic 25-15, 25-23, 25-18 (Gold)