COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 2, 2012) – The U.S. women’s team of Summer Ross and Sara Hughes finished in fourth place Sunday at the FIVB SWATCH Junior (under-21) World Championships in Halifax, Canada.
The No. 1 U.S. women’s team of Ross (San Diego, Calif.) and Hughes (Costa Mesa, Calif.), seeded No. 3, lost a hard-fought, bronze-medal match to Australia’s No. 12 Mariafe Artacho and Taliqua Clancy, 23-25, 21-14, 16-14 in 48 minutes. They finish the tournament with a record of 5-2.
The U.S. came back from a 15-10 deficit to win the first set. But their comeback attempt in the third-set tiebreaker fell short.
In unofficial statistics, both teams finished with 38 kills, but Australia added five blocks and two aces while the U.S. had one block. Ross finished with 24 kills and one block while Hughes added 14 kills.
Ross and Hughes fell behind in the first set, 12-5. With Australia leading 15-10, the U.S. went on a 6-1 run including two kills from Ross, two by Hughes and two Australia errors to tie the score at 16-16. The teams battled back and forth, with the U.S. reaching set point first at 20-19 on a Hughes attack. Australia fought off that set point and two more. Australia reached its first set point at 23-22 on an attack by Clancy, but Ross fought back with her own spike. An Australia violation gave the U.S. its fourth set point at 24-23 and Ross won the set with an attack.
Australia took a 3-1 lead in the second set and extended it to 9-3 and 18-9. With Australia leading 19-10, the U.S. scored on Australia’s service error and net violation. But Clancy scored with a kill to give Australia set point. Ross and Hughes each came back with an attack before Australia won the set on Clancy’s spike.
In the third-set tiebreaker, Australia led 10-7 when the U.S. fought back with two passes over the net that fell for kills and an Australia error. Australia pulled ahead again to 13-11 before the U.S. came back with two straight Hughes kills. Australia reached match point at 14-13 on an Artacho attack. Ross tied it with a kill, but Artacho attacked again and the United States’ final attack attempt went out of bounds.
Switzerland's Nina Betschart and Anouk Vergé-Dépré, who defeated Ross and Hughes in the semifinals, won the women's gold medal, defeating Brazil's Drussyla Costa and Rebecca Silva in the final, 21-16, 21-17 in 32 minutes.
Overall, the U.S. had a good performance at the junior world championships. Along with Ross’ and Hughes’ fourth-place finish, the No. 1 men’s team of Alex Jones (Sunnyvale, Calif.) and Kyle Stevenson (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.), seeded No. 9, finished tied for fifth.
The No. 2 U.S. men’s team of Weston Carico (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Parker Kalmbach (Coto de Caza, Calif.), which was seeded No. 19 after getting into the tournament from the waiting list, finished tied for ninth.
The U.S. women’s No. 2 team of Kirby Burnham (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Jace Pardon (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), seeded No. 26, ended the tournament tied for 17th.
For more information, visit the FIVB web site.