COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 26, 2012)-The U.S. Women’s Junior National Volleyball Team defeated Costa Rica 25-18, 25-14, 25-22 to earn the bronze medal at the 2012 NORCECA Women’s Junior (U-20) Continental Championship Sunday evening in Managua, Nicaragua, and a bid to the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Junior Continental Championship.
Team USA finished its run at NORCECA with a 4-1 record. The top three teams in the tournament receive berths into the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Junior Continental Championship.
The U.S. has now medaled in all eight of the biennial NORCECA Women’s Junior Continental Championships dating back to the first in 1998. The Americans had entered this edition as four-time defending champions (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010), but lost to Dominican Republic in a five-set battle in the semifinals on Aug. 25. Team USA now has three silver medals (2000, 2002, 2012) to go with its five gold medals in the event, including the inaugural championship in 1998.
An evenly-distributed offense propelled Team USA to a first-set victory. The Americans jumped out to an 15-9 lead midway through the first set. Costa Rica came within one point at 18-17, but Team USA scored seven of the final eight points for a 25-18 victory. Eight U.S. players chalked up at least one kill during the set. The second set featured more of the same as Team USA took the early 7-4 advantage. The Americans extended their lead to 19-9 before clinching the set at 25-14. Costa Rica jumped out to a 7-6 lead in the third set. The U.S. battled back and regained the lead late in the set at 22-21 after trailing 19-16. They did not let up, pushing to the 25-22 victory to claim both the match and the bronze medal.
Azariah Stahl (Elkhart, Ind.) led the U.S.’s well rounded-offense with 11 points on seven kills, two blocks and two aces coming off the bench. Haleigh Washington (Idaho Springs, Colo.) was close behind with nine points on six kills, two blocks and one ace. Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Neb.) tallied five points on three kills and two aces, while her twin sister Amber added five kills of her own. Haley Fauntleroy (Winnetka, Ill) contributed five points on three kills, one block and one ace. Maya McClendon (Louisville, Ky.) chipped in five points on four kills and one ace. Kayla Morin (Portage, Mich.) added four kills while Kelly Hunter (Papillion, Neb.) tallied three points on two blocks and one kill. Kelsey Humphreys (Newport Beach, Calif.) added three points on two kills and one block. McKenzie Willey (Highland, Utah) added one kill to round out the point-earners for the U.S.
Amanda Benson (Litchfield, Ariz.) led Team USA’s defensive effort and was designated libero for the match.
Team USA out-blocked (8-2), out-hit (36-19) and out-aced (7-2) its opponent. The U.S. forced Costa Rica into committing 24 errors and only allowed them to score a total of 54 points throughout the match, 31 of which were on USA errors.
In the first set, U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Head Coach Rod Wilde started Humphreys at setter, Washington and Fauntleroy at middle blocker, the Rolfzen sisters and Willey on the outside and Benson at libero. McClendon, Morin, Hunter and Stahl subbed into the set.
In set two, Wilde started Hunter at setter, Washington and Fauntleroy at middle blocker, Morin, McClendon and Stahl on the outside and Benson at libero.
In set three, Wilde started Hunter at setter, Washington and Fauntleroy at middle blocker, the Morin, Stahl and McClendon on the outside and Benson at libero. Humphreys along with the Rolfzen sisters subbed into the set.
Costa Rica was led by Montero Alfaro Angie’s team-high 8 points.
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
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 25-20, 25-23, 25-14
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
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
Aug. 24: Guatemala def. Antigua & Barbuda 25-8, 25-8, 25-13
Aug. 24: Mexico def. Cuba 25-15, 25-19, 21-25, 14-25, 15-12
Aug. 24: USA def. Nicaragua 25-10, 25-6, 25-7
Aug. 25: Guatemala def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-7, 25-16, 25-7
Aug. 25: Dominican Republic def. USA 22-25, 13-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-10
Aug. 25: Mexico def. Costa Rica 25-16, 25-19, 25-19
Aug. 26: Cuba def. Nicaragua 25-4, 25-8, 25-10
Aug. 26: USA def. Costa Rica 25-18, 25-14, 25-22
Aug. 26: Dominican Republic vs. Mexico, 7 p.m. (gold)