US Women Block Puerto Rico at Pan Am Cup

By Bill Kauffman | July 13, 2012, 12 a.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman
USA Volleyball Communications
Phone: 719-228-6800
@USA_Volleyball - USAV Facebook

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 13, 2012) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team used 20 blocks to defeat Puerto Rico 25-15, 25-12, 25-14 Friday evening during the Women’s Pan American Cup at Juarez, Mexico.

The U.S., now 2-0 in the Pan American Cup, continues Pool A action on July 14 at 6 p.m. MT. Team USA faces Colombia on July 15 at 4 p.m. MT before concluding pool play on July 16 versus host Dominican Republic at 6 p.m. MT. To view video live stream, visit

The U.S. put together a 9-2 scoring run in the opening set to break free from an 11-10 advantage in winning 25-15. Team USA raced out to a 7-1 advantage in the second set and never looked back in tallying a 25-12 victory. The Americans unleashed a 9-1 scoring run to establish a 16-7 lead in the third set and finished off the set 25-14 with eight team blocks.

Kristin Richards (Orem, Utah) tallied a U.S. and match-high 11 points with seven kills on 12 attacks and four blocks. Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) contributed five blocks and five kills on eight swings for 10 points. Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) charted six kills on 10 errorless attacks and three blocks in the victory. Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) totaled six kills on nine errorless attacks and a block for seven points, which was matched by Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) and her seven kills on nine errorless attacks. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) came off the bench to score three kills and two blocks for five points. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) recorded three blocks, while Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) and Keao Burdine each placed a kill and block on the stat sheet for two points.

Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) totaled a team-high six excellent receptions on 12 attempts. Banwarth, Fawcett and Metcalf all tallied two digs each. Glass notched eight running sets on 26 set attempts, while Lloyd added three running sets on 23 attempts.

“Puerto Rico started off well,” said Reed Sunahara, who is serving as the U.S. Women’s National Team head coach for the tournament. “For us we were worried about it. It is a good team, with good passing and they did a nice job. Tonight our bench did a nice job. Once they got in they did what we expected.”

Reed Sunahara (Cincinnati, Ohio), who is serving as the head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team competing at the Pan American Cup, started Richards and Lichtman at outside hitter, Paolini and Gibbemeyer at middle blocker, Metcalf at opposite and Glass at setter. Banwarth is the designated libero for the tournament. Lloyd and Fawcett each subbed into the match in the second set and started the third set. Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas) subbed in the second and third sets, while Burdine came off the bench in the third set.

Team USA held a commanding 20-3 block advantage and limited its errors to 12 in the match. The Americans converted 59.0 percent of their attacks with a .508 hitting efficiency (36-5-61). Puerto Rico committed 19 errors with a negative .033 hitting efficiency (24-27-90) to offset its 2-0 margin in aces. The U.S. produced a 36-24 advantage in kills.

“Puerto Rico is a very good team,” said Sykora, who is serving as the captain of the team. “It is always good for us to play against them. Despite the 3-0 score, they are a great team. This was a positive victory for us and we expect to play better.”

Puerto Rico’s Stephanie Enright scored a team-high 10 points all coming on kills, while Yarimar Rosa added five points. No other Puerto Rican tallied more than three points in the loss.

The Pan American Cup serves as a qualification tournament into the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix, which the U.S. has won each of the past three years. The top four teams from NORCECA, plus the top team from South America other than Brazil, will qualify for the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix.

After an off-day on July 17, cross-over quarterfinal matches between second- and third-place teams in each pool will take place at COBACH on July 18 as well as classification matches for positions seven through 12. Pool winners earn a direct ticket to the semifinals, which take place on July 19 at COBACH. The tournament concludes with medal round and final classification matches on July 20 at COBACH.

Richards put up a block followed by a Metcalf kill to put the U.S. in front 4-2, but Puerto Rico knotted the score at 5-all on an ace and went in front 6-5 on a dig that landed on the U.S. side for a point. Lichtman followed a Puerto Rico service error with a kill to reverse the lead to Team USA at 7-6. Team USA extended the lead to 9-7 with a Gibbemeyer kill and Puerto Rico back-row attack. Metcalf connected for consecutive kills followed by a block to lift the U.S. to a 14-10 advantage prompting a Puerto Rico timeout. Paolini and Richards scored back-to-back kills to lead the Americans to a 16-11 lead at the second technical timeout. Out of the timeout Gibbemeyer put up a block and Metcalf fired off a kill for a third and fourth straight points at 18-11. Glass collected a block after a Metcalf kill to push the gap to 20-12. The U.S. scored the final three points with a Richards block and kill after a Puerto Rico service error for a 25-15 victory. Metcalf tallied six points to lead the U.S., followed by Richards’ five points. Team USA out-blocked Puerto Rico 5-1 in the set.

Team USA scored the first four points of the second set with a Metcalf kill and Gibbemeyer block around two Puerto Rico errors leading to a timeout. Out of the break Gibbemeyer scored another block at 5-0 before Puerto Rico stopped the scoring run. Paolini followed a Richards kill with a block at 7-1. Gibbemeyer notched a kill and Puerto Rico followed with consecutive attack errors to yield a 13-5 score. Puerto Rico stopped the run with back-to-back points at 13-7. Richards slammed a kill between a Puerto Rico service and attack error for a 3-0 U.S. scoring run and 16-7 advantage at the second technical timeout. Out of the break Glass put up her third block and Puerto Rico hit wide for an 18-7 American advantage on a 5-0 scoring run. The U.S. stretched its margin to 20-8 with a Gibbemeyer kill and Puerto Rico error. Puerto Rico closed the gap to 21-11 with back-to-back points. Fawcett notched her first kill off the bench to add to the lead at 23-11. Paolini and Lichtman tallied the final two points with kills at 25-12. Paolini turned in five points for the U.S. in the second set. The Americans tallied seven blocks in the set.

The U.S. scored three unanswered points with a Gibbemeyer block and Lichtman kill after a Puerto Rico service error to yield the first two-point separation of the third set at 7-5. Gibbemeyer and Richards tallied kills before a Puerto Rico error to push the American lead to 10-6 at a Puerto Rico timeout. Team USA scored a fourth and fifth straight points with consecutive Puerto Rico errors out of the break for a 12-6 margin. Richards put up a block for a sixth point on Lichtman’s serve at 13-6. Team USA went into the second technical timeout on a 3-0 run at 16-7 with consecutive blocks by Paolini after a Richards kill. Puerto Rico chipped two points off the deficit at 16-9. Burdine and Paolini pocketed kills around a Puerto Rico attack error to send the score to 19-9. Puerto Rico served an ace to cut the gap to 19-11. Fawcett hammered a kill and put up a block after a Puerto Rico service error to shift the U.S. lead to 22-11. Lichtman followed with a kill to push the lead to 23-11 to cap a 4-0 scoring run. Fawcett formed a block to yield set and match point at 24-12. Puerto Rico saved two match points before Gibbemeyer won a joust for the final point at 25-14. Gibbemeyer ended the set with five points as the Americans tallied eight blocks.

Women's Pan American Cup Year-by-Year
Year: Gold – Silver – Bronze
2002: Cuba – Dominican Republic – USA
2003: USA – Dominican Republic – Cuba
2004: Cuba – USA – Dominican Republic
2005: Cuba – Dominican Republic – Brazil
2006: Brazil – Cuba – Dominican Republic
2007: Cuba – Brazil – Dominican Republic
2008: Dominican Republic – Brazil – Argentina
2009: Brazil – Dominican Republic – Puerto Rico
2010: Dominican Republic – Peru – USA
2011: Brazil – Dominican Republic - USA

2012 U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Roster for Pan American Cup
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 - Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
5 – Stacy Sykora (L, 5-10, Burleson, Texas, Texas A&M)
6 – Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, Nebraska)
9 - Jennifer Tamas (MB, 6-4, Milpitas, Calif., Pacific)
11 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
12 - Nancy Metcalf (Opp, 6-1, Hull, Iowa, Nebraska)
14 - Nicole Fawcett (Opp, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
15 – Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, Poway, Calif., Stanford)
17 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, Bonsall, Calif., California-Berkeley)
19 – Keao Burdine (OH, 6-1, Pico Rivera, Calif., Southern California)
24 – Kristin Richards (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)
25 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., Minnesota)

Head Coach: Reed Sunahara (Cincinnati, Ohio)
Assistant Coach: Tom Pestolesi (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Assistant Coach: Dan Fisher (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.)
Team Manager: Mike Hebert (San Diego, Calif.)
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo (Lincoln, Neb.)
Medical Support: Maria “Larnie” Boquiren (Culver City, Calif.)

2012 Women's Pan American Cup Schedule

Pool A: Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, United States
Pool B: Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago

Pool A
July 12: Dominican Republic def. Colombia 25-13, 25-18, 25-11
July 12: United States def. Canada 25-15, 25-22, 25-15
July 12: Cuba def. Puerto Rico 16-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-19
July 13: Cuba def. Colombia 25-19, 25-21, 25-15
July 13: Dominican Republic def. Canada 25-17, 18-25, 25-19, 25-21
July 13: United States def. Puerto Rico 25-15, 25-12, 25-14
July 14: Canada vs. Colombia, 4 p.m. MT
July 14: Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, 4 p.m. MT
July 14: United States vs. Cuba, 6 p.m. MT 6 p.m. MT
July 15: United States vs. Colombia, 4 p.m. MT
July 15: Puerto Rico vs. Canada, 4 p.m. MT
July 15: Dominican Republic vs. Cuba, 8 p.m. MT
July 16: Cuba vs. Canada, 4 p.m. MT
July 16: Puerto Rico vs. Colombia, 4 p.m. MT
July 16: United States vs. Dominican Republic, 6 p.m. MT

Pool B
July 12: Brazil def. Costa Rica 25-9, 25-15, 25-11
July 12: Peru def. Argentina 14-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23
July 12: Mexico def. Trinidad & Tobago 27-25, 25-20, 17-25, 25-19
July 13: Argentina def. Trinidad & Tobago 26-24, 25-14, 25-13
July 13: Brazil def. Peru 25-11, 25-19, 25-16
July 13: Mexico vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m. MT
July 14: Brazil vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 6 p.m. MT
July 14: Peru vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m. MT
July 14: Mexico vs. Argentina, 8 p.m. MT
July 15: Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 6 p.m.
July 15: Brazil vs. Argentina, 6 p.m. MT
July 15: Mexico vs. Peru, 8 p.m. MT
July 16: Peru vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 6 p.m. MT
July 16: Argentina vs. Costa Rica, 8 p.m. MT
July 16: Mexico vs. Brazil, 8 p.m. MT

July 18: Match 31 - 4B vs. 5A, 4 p.m. MT (at UACJ) – Classification 7-10
July 18: Match 32 - 4A vs. 5B, 6 p.m. MT (at UACJ) – Classification 7-10
July 18: Match 33 - 6A vs. 6B, 8 p.m. MT (at UACJ) – Classification 11-12
July 18: Match 34 - 2A vs. 3B, 6 p.m. MT (at COBACH) – Quarterfinal
July 18: Match 35 - 2B vs. 3A, 8 p.m. MT (at COBACH) – Quarterfinal

July 19: Match 36 – M31 winner vs. M34 loser, 4 p.m. MT (at UACJ) – Classification 5-8
July 19: Match 37 – M32 winner vs. M35 loser, 6 p.m. MT (at UACJ) – Classification 5-8
July 19: Match 38 – M31 loser vs. M32 loser, 8 p.m. MT (at UACJ) – Classification 9-10
July 19: Match 39 – Pool B Winner vs. M34 winner, 6 p.m. MT (at COBACH) – Semifinal
July 19: Match 40 – Pool A Winner vs. M35 winner, 8 p.m. MT (at COBACH) – Semifinal

July 20: Match 41 – M36 loser vs. M37 loser, 2 p.m. MT (at COBACH) – Classification 7-8
July 20: Match 42 – M36 winner vs. M37 winner, 4 p.m. MT (at COBACH) – Classification 5-6
July 20: Match 43 – M39 loser vs. M40 loser, 6 p.m. MT (at COBACH) – Bronze-Medal Match
July 20: Match 44 – M39 winner vs. M40 winner, 8 p.m. MT (at COBACH) – Gold-Medal Match