WJNT Closes Pool Play in Nicaragua with a Perfect Record

Aug. 23, 2012, 10:49 p.m. (ET)

Deb Stadick
Intern, Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
E-Mail: deb.stadick@usav.org
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 23, 2012) – The 2012 U.S. Women’s Junior National Volleyball Team defeated Cuba 19-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-16 to conclude Pool C on Thursday at the NORCECA Women’s Junior (U-20) Continental Championship being held in Managua, Nicaragua.

Team USA closed play in group C with a perfect 2-0 record and nine standings points. The Americans will not know whether they advance directly into the semifinals on Saturday or forced to play in the quarterfinals on Friday until after the final Pool A match with Costa Rica (1-0, 5 points) facing host Nicaragua (1-0, 5 points). The top two first-place pool teams reach the semifinals, while the third-ranked pool winner joins the three second-place finishers in the quarterfinal round. Dominican Republic (2-0, 10 points) has already earned a spot into the semifinals.

The NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championship is a qualification tournament into the 2013 FIVB Women’s Junior World Championship as the top three teams advance.

The U.S. got off to a strong start behind three kills by Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Neb.) before falling to an early 12-9 deficit. Team USA never got rolling offensively in the opening set, tallying only seven kills before losing the set 25-19. The U.S. found its rhythm in the second set tying things early at 4-4. Team USA took the lead at 13-10 and maintained it until clinching the set at 25-23. The third set featured more of the same as the U.S. took the early 5-3 advantage. The Americans maintained a 21-14 advantage late in the third set before holding off Cuba for a 25-23 victory. Team USA jumped up 3-0 right away in set four and extended its lead to six at 16-10 and maintained their cushion, ending the match at 25-16.

Kadie Rolfzen led the U.S. with 19 points on 15 kills, two blocks and two aces. Her sister Amber was close behind, tallying 12 points on six kills, five blocks and one ace. Merete Lutz (Houston, Texas) chalked up 11 points on six kills, three blocks and two aces. Haleigh Washington (Idaho Springs, Colo.) added nine kills to the winning effort, while McKenzie Willey (Highland, Utah) tallied eight points on seven kills and one block. Kelsey Humphreys (Newport Beach, Calif.) added one kill.

Amanda Benson (Litchfield, Ariz.) was designated libero for the team.  

Team USA held a decisive lead over Cuba in blocks (11-4) and aces (5-2). Cuba led the match in kills (52-44). The U.S. forced Cuba to commit 34 errors while committing only 29 of its own.

"We are pleased with our victory over Cuba." Wilde said. "They are a strong, physical team. After the first set, we settled down and played some good steady ball and battled through some very close sets in the second and third. We put ourselves in a position to potentially make it directly into the semi-finals based on the point ratio. The players made some great adjustments during the match and tactically played a better game than Cuba."

U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Head Coach Rod Wilde started Humphreys at setter, Washington and Lutz at middle blocker, the Rolfzen sisters and Willey on the outside and Benson at libero. Kayla Morin (Portage, Mich.) subbed into the third set.

2012 U.S. Women’s Junior National Volleyball Team Roster
# - Name (Position, Hometown, Grad Year, Club, Region)
2 - McKenzie Willey (OH, Highland, Utah, 2013, Club Utah, Intermountain)
3 - Kelly Hunter (S, Papillion, Neb., 2013, Nebraska Juniors, Great Plains)
7 - Merete Lutz (MB, Houston, Texas, 2013, Southwest Juniors, Lone Star)
8 - Kelsey Humphreys (S, Newport Beach, Calif., 2013, Laguna Beach, Southern California)
10 - Amanda Benson (L, Litchfield, Ariz., 2013, Club Red, Arizona)
11 - Haleigh Washington (MB, Idaho Springs, Colo., 2014, Colorado Juniors, Rocky Mountain)
12 - Kayla Morin (OH, Portage, Mich., 2014, Dead Frog, Lakeshore)
13 - Maya McClendon (OH, Louisville, Ky., 2013, KIVA, Pioneer)
14 - Haley Fauntleroy (MB, Winnetka, Ill., 2014, Wildcat Juniors, Great Lakes)
15 - Amber Rolfzen (OH, Papillion, Neb., 2013, Nebraska Juniors, Great Plains)
16 - Kadie Rolfzen (OH, Papillion, Neb., 2013, Nebraska Juniors, Great Plains)
19 - Azariah Stahl (OH, Elkhart, Ind., 2014, Circle City, Hoosier)
Head Coach: Rod Wilde
Assistant Coach: Charlene Whitted
Assistant Coach: Blaine Tendler
Team Leader: Alex Dunphy

2012 NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship

Pool A
Aug. 21: Costa Rica def.  Antigua & Barbuda 25-9, 25-9, 25-7
Aug. 22: Nicaragua def. Antigua & Barbuda 25-12, 25-13, 25-12
Aug. 23: Nicaragua vs. Costa Rica, 7 p.m.

Pool B
Aug. 21: Mexico def. Guatemala 25-11, 25-11, 25-3
Aug. 22: Dominican Republic def. Guatemala 25-7, 25-3, 25-13
Aug. 23: Dominican Republic def. Mexico 25-20, 21-25, 25-16, 27-25

Pool C
Aug. 21: United States def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-10, 25-10, 25-8
Aug. 22: Cuba def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-13, 25-8, 25-14
Aug. 23: United States def. Cuba 19-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-16

Classification 9
Aug. 24: 3rd HR2 vs. 3rd HR3, 3 p.m. (Match 10)

Aug. 24: 2nd HR1 vs. 2nd HR2/HR3, 5 p.m. (Match 11)
Aug. 24: 1st HR3 vs. 2nd HR3/HR2, 7 p.m. (Match 12)

Classification 7/8
Aug. 25: 3rd HR1 vs. Winner Match 10 (Match 13)

Aug. 25: 1st HR2 vs. Winner Match 11/12, 5 p.m. (Match 14)
Aug. 25: 1st HR1 vs. Winner Match 11/12, 7 p.m. (Match 15)

Final Classification
Aug. 26: Loser Match 11 vs. Loser Match 12, 3 p.m. (5th Place)
Aug. 26: Loser Match 14 vs. Loser Match 15, 5 p.m. (bronze)
Aug. 26: Winner Match 14 vs. Winner Match 15, 7 p.m. (gold)