U.S. Women Cruise by Colombia at Pan Am Cup

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | July 11, 2018, 9:52 p.m. (ET)

Aiyana Whitney attacks against Colombia
Aiyana Whitney scored 20 points in a dominating U.S. win over Colombia, thus securing Team USA a ticket to the Pan Am Cup semifinals on Thursday and a spot into the 2019 Pan American Games

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 11, 2018) – Aiyana Whitney (Norwood, New Jersey) scored 20 points as the U.S. Women’s National Team dominated Colombia 25-12, 25-17, 25-17 in the Pan American Cup quarterfinals being played in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The U.S. advances to the semifinals set for Friday after all teams receive a day off. Team USA’s opponent will be determined following tonight’s second quarterfinal between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Canada and Brazil have already advance to the semifinals as the top two pool finishers among the three four-team pools. All matches can be watched live on flovolleyball.tv in the United States.

With the victory, the U.S. Women earned a berth into the 2019 Pan American Games. The top five finishers in this year’s Pan Am Cup receive tickets to the event held every four years.

The U.S. dominated Colombia in the opening set using two 6-0 runs to establish a 21-9 advantage and cruised to the 25-12 victory. After the second set was tied 3-all, the U.S. used a 7-1 run to take a 10-4 margin and never allowed Colombia into the set with a 25-17 victory.

“We put a lot of pressure with our serves,” said Jon Newman-Gonchar, who is serving as head coach for the U.S. Pan Am Cup squad. “We knew that we were going to have our hands full against Colombia and their good setter.”

Related: Match Stats | U.S. Women's National Team Home Page

Whitney totaled 20 points with 11 kills on 15 attacks, six blocks and three aces. Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas) contributed 11 points with seven kills on 19 swings and four blocks. Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs) pocketed 11 points with seven kills on 10 attacks and four blocks.

Outside hitter Adora Anae (Punaluu, Hawaii) reached 10 points with nine kills on 19 swings and an ace. Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) added two kills and two blocks for four points. Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska) turned in two kills and five swings as a sub in the second set. Krystal Rivers (Birmingham, Alabama) provided one kill and a block for two points as a reserve in the final two sets. Middle Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota) rounded out the scoring with an ace in the third set.

Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona) tallied five digs and added three excellent receptions on 12 chances. Anae was credited with eight excellent receptions on 16 chances.

Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) was credited with nine running sets. She and Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colorado), who was used as a double-sub with Rivers in the final two sets, ran the American offense to a 44.3 kill percent and .352 hitting efficiency (39-8-88). The U.S. held Colombia to a 25.6 kill percent and .037 hitting efficiency (21-18-82).

“We played really well,” Carlini said. “It is winning time. We are in the medal round after playing clean volleyball.”

Team USA dominated each of the scoring categories. The Americans held a 14-6 advantage in blocks and an 8-1 margin in aces. The U.S. out-scored Colombia 39-21 on attack.

Colombia was led in scoring by Dayana Segovia and Amanda Coneo with six points each.

The U.S. started Anae and Wilhite at outside hitter, Ogbogu and Washington at middle, Whitney at opposite, Carlini at setter and Benson at libero.

The U.S. took a 5-1 lead early in the opening set on a Whitney kill and block around a Wilhite block and Colombia error. Colombia whittled the deficit to 5-3 on consecutive American errors. The U.S. regained its four-point cushion at 7-3 with an Ogbogu kill and Washington block. Team USA extended the advantage to 13-4 on a 6-0 run with three Whitney aces, Wilhite block and Washington overpass kill after a Colombia error. Colombia scored three straight points to decrease its deficit to 15-9. The Americans used a 6-0 run with three points from Anae and two Whitney kills to go up 21-9. Team USA finished the set with an ace at 25-12.

Whitney scored a block and kill to produce 2-0 Team USA lead to start the second set. Colombia tied the set at 3-all. Whitney connected for three consecutive kills yield to a 6-3 American advantage. The U.S. went into the first technical timeout up 8-4 following a Washington kill. Out of the break, Whitney served two aces to stretch the lead to 10-4. Colombia chipped two points off the deficit at 10-6. Washington, Whitney and Anae connected for consecutive kills to extend the American lead to 14-8. Anae and Ogbogu hammered kills to build the Team USA lead to 18-10. Whitney put a block to extend the margin to 19-10. Colombia sliced its deficit to 21-15 with three straight points. Ogbogu collected the final point at 25-17 on a block.

Team USA gained a 4-0 lead to start set three with two Colombia errors, an Ogbogu block and Whitney kill. Anae and Ogbogu downed kills as part of a 3-0 run to go up 7-1. Colombia erased three points off the deficit at 7-4. Washington scored back-to-back kills to start a 4-0 run to 11-4. Washington and Anae cashed in on attacks to inch the American lead to 14-6. Ogbgobu put up a block to place Team USA in front 16-8 at the second technical timeout. Out of the break, Colombia scored three consecutive points to move to within 16-11. Team USA answered with a Whitney kill and Colombia error, prompting Colombia to call timeout trailing 18-11. Colombia cut its deficit to five at 20-15. Rivers jumped the American lead to 22-15 with a kill. Anae downed a kill and Tapp served an ace to get Team USA to match point 24-16. Ogbogu slammed the final point for a 25-17 victory.

U.S. Women’s National Team Pan American Cup Roster
# - Name (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 – Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, University of Illinois, Aurora, Colorado)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, University of Nebraska, Cypress, California)
7 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, University of Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois)
8 – Krystal Rivers (OPP, 5-11, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama)
10 – Simone Lee (OH, 6-1, Penn State University, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin)
13 – Sarah Wilhite (OH, 6-2, University of Minnesota, Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
14 – Adora Anae (OH, 6-1, University of Utah, Punaluu, Hawaii)
15 – Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Penn State University, Colorado Springs, Colorado)
18 – Aiyana Whitney (OPP, 6-4, Penn State University, Norwood, New Jersey)
20 – Amanda Benson (L, 5-7, University of Oregon, Litchfield Park, Arizona)
21 – Paige Tapp (M, 6-1, University of Minnesota, Stewartville, Minnesota)
22 – Molly McCage (M, 6-3, University of Texas, Spring, Texas)
24 – Kadie Rolfzen (OH, 6-3, University of Nebraska, Papillion, Nebraska)
25 – Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, University of Texas, Coppell, Texas)

Head Coach: Jon Newman Gonchar (associate head coach at University of Arkansas)
Assistant Coach: Alisha Glass Childress (2016 U.S. Women’s Olympic Team bronze medalist)
Assistant Coach: JJ Van Niel (associate head coach at University of Southern California)
Technical Coordinator: Natalie Morgan (assistant coach at Loyola Marymount University)
Team Manager: John Xie
Athletic Trainer: Salvador Vallejo

Pan American Cup Schedule

Pool B
July 8: USA def. Trinidad & Tobago 21-25, 25-15, 25-22, 25-15
July 9: USA lost to Cuba 18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 13-25, 15-13
July 10: USA def. Puerto Rico 25-22, 25-21, 25-14

Pan American Cup Playoff Schedule
July 11: USA def. Colombia 25-12, 25-17, 25-17 (Quarterfinals)
July 13: Semifinals
July 14: Medal Round