WJNT Advances To Semifinals After Winning Pool

By Tyson Rodgers | July 11, 2014, 11:16 a.m. (ET)

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team put together another straight-set victory at the U20 NORCECA Continental Championship, after defeating Mexico, 25-5, 25-21, 25-18, on Thursday in Guatemala to claim first place of Pool C.

2014 WJNT
  Jordyn Poulter sets the ball against Mexico on Thursday.

Thanks to the wins over Pool-C competitors, the U.S. will receive a bye into Saturday’s semifinal round.

The U.S. got a big contribution from Alexa Smith (Monument, Colo.), who led the U.S. in scoring with 15 points on three blocks and 12 spikes. The trio of Rhamat Alhassan (Glendarden, Md.), Mikaela Foecke (West Point, Iowa) and Hayley Hodson (Newport Beach, Calif.) added eight points apiece to the cause. 

“In the first set we did a good job of keeping the action on our side of the court,” Hodson said in a NORCECA interview. “The next two sets we made some errors, but with our serves we got right back on track.”

Although the margin of victory was closer than Wednesday night’s match, the Americans still took command of the contest against Mexico. The U.S. held an advantage in kills 42-21, with Smith leading Team USA with 12 successful attacks on 32 attempts, while Courtney Schwan (Milton, Wash.), Alhassan and Foecke had seven kills each.

On the net, the U.S. led Mexico 7-3 in blocks, with Smith getting three blocks on the night. Setter Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colo.) added two blocks to her stat line for the U.S., to go along with her 15 running sets. 

Team USA Captain Hodson had three aces on 17 serve attempts, more than the entire Mexican team, helping the U.S. to a 4-2 margin in that category.

At the libero spot, Molly Sauer (Louisville, Ky.) had eight digs on 18 attempts, to aid Team USA in a 19-13 margin over Mexico. 

“We definitely played our best volleyball of the tournament in the first set,” U.S. Head Coach Tom Hogan said about the opening set. “Our performance in the second and third set had errors, which we need to improve on looking forward.”

Along with the U.S., Cuba advanced to Saturday’s semifinal round. The U.S. Women's Junior Team holds the first-place seed after finishing with 10 points in pool play.

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

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

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

Schedule and 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
July 10 - Cuba def Dominican Republic, 25-16, 25-16, 17-25, 25-20

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
July 10 - Costa Rica def Guatemala, 25-17, 25-20, 22-25, 21-25, 15-8

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
July 10 - USA def Mexico, 25-5, 25-21, 25-18

July 11
3 p.m. Classification 9: Nicaragua vs St. Lucia
5 p.m. Quarterfinal: Guatemala vs Dominican Republic
7 p.m. Quarterfinal: Costa Rica vs Mexico

July 12
3 p.m. 7th Place: Martinique vs Nicaragua/St. Lucia
5 p.m. Semifinal: USA vs Quarterfinal winner
7 p.m. Semifinal: USA vs Quarterfinal winner

July 13
3 p.m. 5th Place Match
5 p.m. 3rd Place Match
7 p.m. Gold Medal Match