By Karen Price | July 15, 2018, 4:06 a.m. (ET)
Members of the U.S. women's volleyball team celebrate their Pan American Cup win on July 14, 2018 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

 

The U.S. women’s volleyball team mounted a monumental comeback against the Dominican Republic to claim gold in the Pan American Cup 24-26, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-8 on Saturday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

After two close set losses to open the title match, the U.S. began its valiant comeback effort in the third set, going on a 7-2 run to work its way out of a 14-14 tie and eventually win the set to make it 2-1.

Still, the Americans faced a difficult task needing to win the next two matches in order to claim gold against the home team.

A 12-3 run in the fourth set spurred the young U.S. squad, none of whom had more than two years international experience and seven of whom made their international debuts at the Pan Am Cup, to a 14-5 lead and, after the Dominican Republic staved off five set points, the Americans eventually won it to force the tie-breaking fifth set.

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Even with a lack of international experience, the U.S. held strong against the pressure to win the deciding set and earn Team USA’s sixth Pan Am Cup title and second gold of the season. The Americans also won the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

Neither the U.S. nor the Dominican Republic were strangers to one another or playing for the Pan Am Cup title. This was their fifth meeting in the gold-medal match in the last six years, with the two teams trading the last four titles. Team USA had won the gold medal five times, including 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2017, while the Dominican Republic had four golds including 2014 and 2016.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.