U.S. Women Ace Way to World Champs

By BJ Evans | May 18, 2014, 8:22 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 18, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s National Team aced the final and qualified for the 2014 FIVB World Championship on Sunday, defeating Panama 25-18, 25-5, 25-5 at the NORCECA World Championship Qualification Third-Round Pool O Tournament at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

U.S. Women celebrate
  The U.S. Women's Team celebrates during the final.

The U.S. Women finished the tournament with a 4-0 record and qualified for the World Championships on Sept. 23-Oct. 12 in Italy. Panama (2-2) took the silver medal. Earlier in the day, Guatemala (2-2) defeated Honduras (0-4) for the bronze medal (25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-13).

U.S. outside hitter and Team Captain Kelly Reeves (San Diego, Calif.) was named the tournament MVP and Best Server. Lauren Plum (Poway, Calif) was named Best Setter. Kristen Hahn (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) was named Best Receiver and Best Libero.

The U.S. Women led Panama in aces, 14-2. After scoring with three aces in the first set, the U.S. turned up the heat in the second and third. Reeves, who had several long serving runs, led the way with eight aces.

“I just went back to the end line and just trusted my serve,” Reeves said. “I just wanted to get a nice, clean serve and get them out of system. Kylin (Munoz) came in and did well. Serving was key tonight.”

The U.S. Women also led in kills (41-12) and digs (22-6). The teams tied in blocks (2-2).

Reeves led all scorers with 20 points on 12 kills and eight aces. She also had 10 digs. Opposite Bailey Webster (Baltimore, Md.) added 15 points on a match-high 14 attacks and one block.

Middle blocker Chloe Ferrari (Clovis, Calif.) scored seven points on five kills and two aces. Outside hitter Hayley Hodson (Newport Beach, Calif.) totaled six points on four attacks, one block and one ace. Middle blocker Katie Slay (Raleigh, N.C.) added six points on six kills.

Setter Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) scored three points with three aces. She was credited with 17 running sets and set the U.S. Women to a .557 hitting efficiency.

Hahn was credited with four digs and eight excellent receptions. Hodson led the team in excellent receptions with 11.

Members of the young U.S. Women’s Team said they would leave Colorado Springs feeling positive about their experience at the World Championship Qualifier.

 “I wasn’t really expecting to be here,” Hahn said. “I’ve only been training for a week and a half with this group. I’ve been a newbie. But they have been so welcoming and so fun. It’s really cool. I don’t think I will understand the depth of it until I get to look back on it.”

U.S. Head Coach David Hunt started Reeves and Hodson at outside hitter, Slay and Ferrari at middle blocker, Webster at opposite, Kreklow at setter and Hahn at libero. Munoz played as a serving substitute.

1 - Kat Luft (OH, 6-1, Loyola Marymount University, Thousand Oaks, Calif.)
2 - Kelly Reeves (OH, 6-0, UCLA, San Diego, Calif.)
3 - Kristen Hahn (L, 5-6, Iowa State University, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
4 - Hayley Hodson (OH, 6-4, Tstreet Volleyball Club, Newport Beach, Calif.)
6 - Molly Kreklow (S, 6-0, University of Missouri, Delano, Minn.)
9 - Alexis Olgard (MB, 6-5, University of Southern California, Spokane, Wash.)
12 - Katie Slay (MB, 6-6, Penn State University, Raleigh, N.C.)
13 - Bailey Webster (OPP, 6-3, University of Texas, Baltimore, Md.)
14 - Kylin Munoz (OPP, 6-1, University of Washington, Monroe, Wash.)
15 - Lauren Plum (S, 5-9, University of Oregon, Poway, Calif.)
16 - Chloe Ferrari (MB, 6-1, University of San Diego, Clovis, Calif.)
20 - Maddie Martin (OH, 6-2, Penn State University, Tampa, Fla.)

Head Coach: David Hunt
Assistant Coaches: Nicole Lawler, Lindsey Devine
Technical Coordinator: Jesse Tupac
Team Manager: John Xie
Physiotherapist: Jamie Rodgers

FIVB World Championship NORCECA Women’s Qualification Tournament Schedule (all times MT)
Panama def. Honduras, 25-17, 20-25, 25-13, 25-16
USA def. Guatemala, 25-10, 25-18, 25-11
Guatemala def. Honduras, 25-19, 25-19, 25-27, 25-22
USA def. Panama, 25-16, 25-12, 25-9
Panama def. Guatemala, 16-25, 25-16, 18-25, 25-23, 15-11
USA vs. Honduras, 25-12, 25-13, 25-16
Third-place: Guatemala def. Honduras, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-13
Gold-medal: USA def. Panama, 25-18, 25-5, 25-5

FIVB World Championship NORCECA Men’s Qualification Tournament Schedule (all times MT
Guatemala def. Haiti, 25-17, 25-20, 25-8
USA def Panama 25-16, 25-12, 25-9
Haiti def. St. Lucia, 12-25, 25-23, 25-19, 30-28
USA def. Guatemala, 25-12, 25-14, 25-16
Guatemala def. St. Lucia, 25-18, 25-18, 25-19
USA def. Haiti, 25-7, 25-10, 25-15
May 18: Pool 3rd Place vs. Pool 4th Place, 5 p.m.
May 18: Pool 1st Place vs. Pool 2nd Place, 7 p.m.