Women Ace Way into World Championships

May 18, 2014, 7:16 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 18, 2014) – The United States confirmed its pre-tournament expectations as they dominated Panama 25-18, 25-5, 25-5 with 14 aces on Sunday afternoon to win the Women’s NORCECA World Championship Qualification Third Round Pool O at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Along with the tournament gold medal, the USA earns a berth into the 2014 FIVB World Championship that will be played in Italy starting in September. Panama will compete in the final round of NORCECA World Championship, joining the four second-place finishers in other pools to determine NORCECA’s sixth and final team in the 24-country FIVB World Championship.

U.S. captain Kelly Reeves contributed 20 points, including eight aces on 22 serves, in sparking the Americans. Reeves converted 12 of her 17 attacks into points. Bailey Webster added 15 points in the victory, connecting on 14 kills on 20 swings.

Panama was paced by Joanna Arroyo’s eight points.

Aside from a 14-2 margin in aces, the U.S. held a 41-12 advantage in kills and was even in blocks at 2-all. The United States went through the entire tournament without dropping a single set and its defense averaged yielding just 12.1 points (145) per set.

Photos of the match can be viewed by clicking here.

Earlier today Guatemala won the bronze medal with a five-set win over Honduras.

United States Head Coach David Hunt: "You’ve got to give credit to the players. They were making good serves. Kelly went on a run in set 2 and a run in set 3 and it’s not anything we were telling her, it was all her. She did a good job. For the players, it was a culmination of the eight to 10 weeks that they were training. I was just there for the tail end of it. But really it was all the hard work that Karch and Jamie and Joe and these players put in months ago. This was the payoff. I was lucky where I got to be here and experience it.”

United States Team Captain Kelly Reeves: “In the second set, we came out and got our serves going. I just went back to the end line and just trusted my serve. I just wanted to get a nice, clean serve and get them out of system. Kylin came in and did well. Serving was key tonight.”

Panama Head Coach Reynaldo Ortega: "The USA serve is very tough. However, they are not impossible to receive. We are going to work on serve-receive, mostly, in the 15 days of preparation we have for the next tournament. I know we can overcome that weakness. Overall, we are pleased. We came out here with the objective to finish at least second, and we did. We are very satisfied."

Panama Captain Joanna Arroyo: "It was a big honor for us to be in the championship match against the United States. We came out hard and anxious to do our best. However, in the final two sets, we came out a little down and we could not handle the USA serve. That was our biggest mistake. We know the USA has good servers. We tried to adjust, but it was not easy to do. We congratulate the USA team."

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