U.S. Women Golden at Pan Am Cup

By Bill Kauffman | June 21, 2015, 9:48 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 21, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, with a balanced offensive attack, captured its fourth Pan American Cup title by defeating Dominican Republic 25-20, 25-20, 25-15 in a battle of undefeated teams Sunday during the gold-medal match in Lima, Peru.

Last year Dominican Republic defeated the U.S. in the title match to end the Americans' run of two consecutive titles won in 2012 and 2013. The two teams have played in each of the last three Pan Am Cup gold-medal matches. The U.S. also won the Pan Am Cup title in 2003. The Americans are now tied with Cuba with the most Pan Am Cup titles with four.

Middle blocker Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) led Team USA in scoring with 11 kills via 17 attacks and two blocks for 13 points. Outside hitter Krista Vansant (Redlands, Calif.), playing in her first international tournament for the U.S. Women, notched eight kills on 29 swings and three blocks for 11 points. She was named the tournament's most valuable player and was First Outside Hitter on the All-Star Team after compiling a 50.4 kill percent for the tournament. Middle blocker Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles) tacked on 10 points via six kills on nine swings, three blocks and an ace.

Related: Unofficial DataVolley Stats | Official Stats | FIVB World Grand Prix Finals

“We knew that if we could put our plan in practice the victory was possible," said David Hunt, who served as the head coach for Team USA at the Pan Am Cup. "I didn’t expect to do it in three sets since the Dominican Republic is such good team, but I was confident about the ability of my team, especially with the reception, a key against their strong services.”

Team USA, which lost just one set in seven matches at the Pan American Cup, out-blocked Dominican Republic 11-5 and held a 4-2 service ace advantage to overcome 21 errors on the evening. The American enjoyed a 43-27 margin in kills which resulted in a 43.9 kill percent for Team USA and a .327 hitting efficiency (43-11-98). The U.S. limited Dominican Republic to a 26.5 kill percent and .059 hitting efficiency (27-21-102).

Opposite Alix Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) pocketed eight points with six kills on 13 attacks, one ace and one block in the American victory. Outside hitter Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) contributed six kills on 16 attacks and a block for seven points. Michelle Bartsch (Maryville, Ill.), who was a sub in all three sets, tallied four kills on nine swings in the win.

“We are very happy with this victory as it is so important for our country," said Hildebrand, who is serving as captain for Team USA. "I feel very proud with the results of our work.”

Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, Calif.), who was named the Best Setter of the Pan Am Cup, totaled two kills and a block for three points. Lloyd had 23 running sets on 57 total set attempts. Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) contributed seven digs from her libero position, matching Hildebrand's dig total. Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio), a sub in all three sets as part of a double-sub, added an ace in each of the second and third sets for two points along with eight running sets.

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

Quarterfinals
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

Semifinals
June 20: USA (Pool A1) def. 25-17, 25-20, 25-22
June 20: Dominican Republic (Pool B1) def. Argentina 25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21

Medal Rounds
June 21: Argentina def. Cuba 25-23, 25-23, 25-20 (Bronze-Medal Match)
June 21: USA def. Dominican Republic 25-20, 25-20, 25-15 (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
2015: USA - DOM - ARG