U.S. Women Sweep Argentina, Win Pan Am Cup Pool A

By Bill Kauffman | June 17, 2015, 10:03 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 17, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team completed its undefeated run through the Pan American Cup Pool A with a dominating 25-18, 25-18, 25-11 victory over previously undefeated Argentina on Wednesday evening in Lima, Peru.

As the winner of Pool A, Team USA (5-0) advances directly to the Pan American Cup semifinal round set to take place on June 20.

Middle blocker Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) paced Team USA with 13 points via nine kills on 15 errorless attacks and a team-high four blocks. Outside hitter Krista Vansant (Redlands, Calif.) charted eight kills on 13 swings, one block and one ace for 10 points. Opposite Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) contributed 10 points with six kills, three blocks and an ace.

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Outside hitter and captain Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) pocketed eight points on six kills and two aces. Middle blocker Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles) tacked on eight points with four kills, three blocks and an ace. Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill.), who was part of a double-sub with Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) in the second and third sets, tallied five kills as a reserve.

“Playing against Argentina is always interesting," Hildebrand said. "Today things came out the same way we planned. We served pretty well and controlled the match.”

Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.), who had three points in the victory, set Team USA to a 41.8 kill percent and .296 hitting efficiency (41-12-98). She recorded 24 running sets on 67 set attempts. Libero Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) led the U.S. defense with a team-high 11 digs and had six of the team’s 14 excellent receptions on 15 chances. Hayley Hodson (Newport Beach, Calif.) rounded out the scoring for the Americans with a kill as a reserve in the third set. Klineman chipped in 10 digs, while Vansant had seven excellent receptions on 23 chances.

Team USA was credited with seven blocks in the opening set en route to a 12-4 block advantage over Argentina. The Americans owned all five aces in the match. The U.S. held Argentina to a 23.9 kill percent and .011 hitting efficiency (21-20-88) as the South Americans had 20 hitting errors.

“Argentina is a very good team so we planned a pressing game and the strategy worked perfectly,” said David Hunt, who is serving as the Team USA head coach for the Pan Am Cup.

Second-place Argentina (4-1) and third-place Puerto Rico (3-2) earned spots into the crossover quarterfinal round from Pool A. Dominican Republic (5-0) won Pool B to move onto the semifinals, while Cuba (4-1) and Canada (3-2) advance to the quarterfinals from Pool B.

The Pan American Cup is a qualifier into the 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix. The U.S. needs to finish among the top two teams from NORCECA to earn a berth into next year's top tier of the World Grand Prix.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster – Pan American Cup
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2 – Inky Ajanaku (MB, 6-2, Tulsa, Okla., Stanford University)
4 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
7 – Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
9 – Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
10 – Natalie Hagglund (L, 5-9, Encinitas, Calif., University of Southern California)
13 – Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, Los Angeles, University of Arizona)
16 – Michelle Bartsch (OH, 6-3, Maryville, Ill., University of Illinois)
17 – Alix Klineman (OPP, 6-5, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
19 – Hayley Hodson (OH, 6-2, Newport Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
20 – Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)
23 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, Bonsall, Calif., University of California-Berkeley)
24 – Krista Vansant (OH, 6-2, Redlands, Calif., University of Washington)

Head Coach: David Hunt
Assistant Coaches: Nicole Lawlor, Jonathan Newman-Gonchar
Technical Coordinator: Carol Hamilton
Athletic Trainer: Jamie Rodgers
Team Manager: Marci Sanders

XIV Women’s Pan American Cup
Team USA In Pool A
June 13: USA def. Puerto Rico 25-22, 25-12, 25-18
June 14: USA def. Colombia 25-21, 25-9, 23-25, 25-16
June 15: USA def. Costa Rica 25-11, 25-9, 25-5
June 16: USA def. Mexico 25-13, 25-17, 25-17
June 17: USA def. Argentina 25-18, 25-18, 25-11

Quarterfinals
June 19: Argentina (Pool A2) vs. Canada (Pool B3)
June 19: Puerto Rico (Pool A3) vs. Cuba (Pool B2)

Semifinals
June 20: USA (Pool A1) vs. quarterfinal winner (TBA)
June 20: Dominican Republic (Pool B1) vs. quarterfinal winner (TBA)

Medal Rounds
June 21: Semifinal Losers (Bronze-Medal Match)
June 21: Semifinal Winners (Gold-Medal Match)