USA Volleyball Features WJNT Cruises In NORC...

WJNT Cruises In NORCECA Opener

By Tyson Rodgers | July 10, 2014, 11:50 a.m. (ET)

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (July 10, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team handled St. Lucia in a straight-set victory, 25-5, 25-4, 25-3, on Wednesday night, to open the U-20 NORCECA Continental Championship on a positive note.

“We came out strong and took care of every point,” U.S. Team Captain Hayley Hodson (Newport Beach, Calif.) said in a NORCECA interview. “It’s always a pleasure to play volleyball against teams who want to battle hard.”

Team USA dominated in every aspect of the match, leading in blocks (11-0), kills (38-3), and aces (6-0), while only committing nine unforced errors to St. Lucia’s 20. 

Outside hitter Hodson and middle blocker Rhamat Alhassan (Glendarden, Md.) chipped in 13 points apiece to lead the U.S. in scoring. Mikaela Foecke (West Point, Iowa) scored nine points, with four blocks credited to the middle blocker.

Molly Sauer (Louisville, Ky.) had seven digs on 14 attempts at the libero spot, while outside hitter Alexa Smith (Monument, Colo.) had four on six attempts. 

Setters Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colo.) and Ainise Havili (Hamilton City, Texas) had a combined 18 running sets on 58 attempts with no faults for the match. Poulter converted 13 running sets on 40 attempts, while Havili added five on 18 attempts against St. Lucia. 

“I was impressed with the way our team maintained their focus for the entire match,” U.S. Head Coach Tom Hogan said. “Every point matters, as it affects our seeding for the second round of the tournament. Tonight we put ourselves in a good position.”

The 75-12 margin of victory for the U.S. was the largest for any team at this year’s championship.

Mexico is next on the United States' schedule, as the two clubs will face off at 5 p.m. MT on Thursday. The match will be an early test for the Americans, as Mexico finished with silver in 2012.

“We’re excited and prepared to face Mexico,” Hodson said. “Hopefully we’ll have another win.”

The two pool winners with the highest ranking at the end of the prelims will advance directly to the semifinal round, while pool winners with the lowest ranking will join the second placed teams in the quarterfinals.

2014 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team
Name (Position, Hometown, Region, Club, HS Grad Year)

12- Rhamat Alhassan (MB, Glenarden, Md., Chesapeake Region, Metro American Volleyball Club, 2014)
7- Danielle Cuttino (MB, Indianapolis, Ind., Hoosier Region, Circle City Volleyball Club, 2014)
2- Audriana Fitzmorris (MB, Overland Park, Kan., Heart of America Region, Invasion Volleyball Club, 2016)
11- Mikaela Foecke (MB, West Point, Iowa, Iowa Region, Fusion Volleyball Club, 2015)
9- Molly Haggerty (OH, Glen Ellyn, Ill., Great Lakes Region, Sports Performance Volleyball Club, 2016)
8- Ainise Havili (S, Haltom City, Texas, North Texas Region, TAV, 2014)
3- Hayley Hodson (OH, Newport Beach, Calif., Southern California Region, Tstreet Volleyball Club, 2015)
4- Cat McCoy (L, Southlake, Texas, North Texas Region, TAV, 2014)
1- Jordyn Poulter (S, Aurora, Colo., Rocky Mountain Region, Front Range Volleyball Club, 2015)
6- Molly Sauer (L, Louisville, Ky., Pioneer Region, KIVA, 2015)
10- Courtney Schwan (OH, Milton, Wash., Puget Sound Region, Kent Juniors, 2014)
5- Alexa Smith (OH, Monument, Colo., Rocky Mountain Region, Colorado Juniors Volleyball Club, 2015)

Head Coach: Tom Hogan
Assistant Coaches: Erin Virtue, Robyn Ah Mow-Santos
Technical Coordinator: Nate Ngo
Team Leader: Denise Sheldon

Preliminary Round (All times MT)

July 10
3 p.m.: Dominican Republic vs. Cuba
5 p.m.: Mexico vs. United States
7 p.m.: Guatemala vs. Costa Rica

Earlier Continental Championship Results

Group A
July 8 - Cuba def Nicaragua, 25-11, 25-6, 25-16
July 9 - Dominican Republic def Nicaragua, 25-3, 25-9, 25-8

Group B
July 8 - Guatemala def Martinique, 25-14, 25-12, 25-17
July 9 - Costa Rica def Martinique, 25-12, 25-12, 25-5

Group C

July 8 - Mexico def St. Lucia, 25-7, 25-18, 25-8
July 9 - USA def St. Lucia, 25-5, 25-4, 25-3