Team USA middle blocker Lauren Paolini attacks against the Cuba defense
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 20, 2015) – Krista Vansant (Redland, Calif.) scored a match-high 19 points in leading the U.S. Women’s National Team to a 25-17, 25-20, 25-22 sweep of Cuba Saturday afternoon in the Pan American Cup semifinals being held in Lima, Peru.
The Americans are now one victory away from claiming its fourth gold medal in the event and have qualified for the 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix Group 1 as one of the top two NORCECA teams in the final standings. Team USA, which has lost just one set in six Pan Am Cup matches this year, will face the winner of tonight’s second semifinal match between Pool B winner Dominican Republic and Argentina. The U.S. swept Argentina in the final pool play match on June 17.
Vansant secured her 19 point with 17 kills on 27 attacks and two aces from her outside hitter position. U.S. captain Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah), playing at the other outside hitter position, contributed 10 kills on 18 swings and a block for 11 points in the victory.
“It was a good test for our team," Vansant said. "It was a tough match for USA as Cuba has a very good service game. They took the lead in the third set, but our defense responded very well.”
Team USA’s middle blockers Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles) each notched nine points in the victory. Paolini tallied five kills on six errorless swings and a team-leading four blocks in the victory, while Jackson totaled seven kills on nine attacks and two blocks. Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill.), who came of the bench in the first set, scored seven kills on 13 attacks and a block for eight points.
“It was a good performance from my team on the court," said David Hunt, who is serving as the U.S. head coach at the Pan Am Cup. "We had to come out strong against Cuba and they did that. Things got complicated in the third set, but we were able to answer back.”
Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.) charted three blocks and a two aces for five points in the victory. She set Team USA to a 58.8 kill percent and a .513 hitting efficiency (47-6-80) with 30 running sets on 69 total sets. Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) and Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) each scored one point in the victory.
“I think the USA team did a very good job, but especially the setter as she was the difference in the match," Cuba Head Coach Roberto Garcia said. "She hurt us with her setting avoiding our blocking, but I am satisfied."
Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) served as Team USA's libero all three sets. She provided a team-leading eight digs to go with a team-high 11 excellent reception attempts on 23 chances. Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) was a sub in the final two sets.
The U.S. out-blocked Cuba 11-6 in the victory and held a slim 5-4 margin in aces. Team USA produced a 47-37 advantage in kills during the match. The Americans limited Cuba to a .247 hitting efficiency (37-15-89). Both teams kept their mistakes to a minimum, giving each team only 12 points on errors. The U.S. edged Cuba in the dig department, 20-16.
Hildebrand was credited with 10 excellent receptions on 13 chances. Bartsch added five digs in the victory.
The U.S. has captured the Pan Am Cup in two of the previous three editions with gold in 2012 and 2013. The Americans also won the event in 2003.
Following the Pan American Cup, Team USA begins the FIVB World Grand Prix July 3 with three consecutive preliminary round weekends of three matches each. The U.S. hosts the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals July 22-26 in Omaha, Neb.
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
June 19: Argentina (Pool A2) def. Canada (Pool B3) 25-20, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21
June 19: Cuba (Pool B2) def. Puerto Rico (Pool A3) 25-19, 23-25, 29-27, 23-25, 16-14
June 20: USA (Pool A1) def. 25-17, 25-20, 25-22
June 20: Dominican Republic (Pool B1) vs. Argentina
June 21: Semifinal Losers (Bronze-Medal Match)
June 21: Semifinal Winners (Gold-Medal Match)
Year by Year Results
Year: Gold - Silver - Bronze
2002: CUB - DOM - CAN
2003: USA - DOM - CUB
2004: CUB - USA - DOM
2005: CUB - DOM - BRA
2006: BRA - CUB - DOM
2007: CUB - BRA - DOM
2008: DOM - BRA - ARG
2009: BRA - DOM - PUR
2010: DOM - PER - USA
2011: BRA - DOM - USA
2012: USA - BRA - CUB
2013: USA - DOM - ARG
2014: DOM - USA - PUR