COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (August 26) – Eight players made their U.S. Women’s National Team debuts Thursday during a 3-2 (21-25, 28-26, 25-19, 21-25, 15-9) loss to Puerto Rico at the NORCECA Continental Championship.

“We fought hard,” head coach Joe Trinsey said. “We know Puerto Rico is a scrappy team, and our effort level matched theirs. There were times when our execution didn’t match our effort, so we have to tighten that up tomorrow.”

Official Box Score | Unofficial Bench Box Score | 2021 NORCECA Continental Championship Hub

The U.S. (0-1) will close group play Friday, August 27, with a 6:30 p.m. Eastern/3:30 Pacific matchup against Canada. All three group A teams will advance to knockout play, which begins August 29.

Six of the eight debutants started the match. Outside hitter Kara Bajema led the team with 17 points, and middle blocker Rachael Kramer added eight blocks and 10 total points. Setter Jenna Gray led an offense that scored 46 times on the attack, and Kendall White served as the squad’s libero. Madeline Gates and Ali Frantti started all five sets at middle blocker and outside hitter, respectively.

Lindsay Stalzer and Ali Bastianelli made their debuts off the bench.

“The new players came to play,” Trinsey said. “They had some nerves, but I think they channeled those by being aggressive, especially in the beginning of the match.

Opposite and team captain Danielle Cuttino scored 11 points as the lone starter with previous WNT experience. She played in two tournaments and some exhibition matches in 2019.

Ashley Evans and Roni Jones-Perry are the other squad members with previous national team service. Both saw playing time as substitutes Thursday.

The United States took an early match lead by winning the first set, but Puerto Rico responded with a lead of their own, taking the next two. USA re-tied the match by winning the fourth and then took an early 2-4 lead in the fifth, but Puerto Rico ended on a 13-5 scoring run, clinching the match.

All matches of the 2021 NORCECA Continental Championship take place in Guadalajara, Mexico, and will be streamed live online.

NORCECA Continental Championship Roster

No. Name (Position, Height, Hometown)
1 Kara Bajema (OH, 6-3, Lynden, Wash.)
2 Tiffany Clark (L, 5-11, Naperville, Ill.)
3 Madeleine Gates (MB, 6-3, San Diego, Calif.)
4 Cori Crocker (MB, 6-3, Brighton, Mich.)
5 Jenna Gray (S, 6-1, Shawnee, Kan.)
6 Micaya White (OH, 6-1, Frisco, Texas)
7 Ashley Evans (S, 6-1, Liberty Township, Ohio)
9 Rachael Kramer (MB, 6-10, Phoenix, Ariz.)
10 Kendall White (L, 5-5, Zionsville, Ind.)
12 Lindsay Stalzer (OH, 6-1, Kewanee, Ill.)
14 Ali Bastianelli (MB, 6-3, Marysville, Mich.)
15 Roni Jones-Perry (OPP, 5-11, West Jordan, Utah)
16 Danielle Cuttino (OPP, 6-4, Indianapolis, Ind.)
18 Ali Frantti (OH, 6-3, Spring Grove, Ill.)

Head Coach: Joe Trinsey
Assistant Coach: Michelle Chatman
Assistant Coach: Cullen Irons
Physiotherapist: Misao Tanioka
Technical Coordinator: Michael Gee
Team Manager: John Xie

NORCECA Continental Championship Schedule

Date Opponent Time
August 26: vs. Puerto Rico; L, 3-2 (21-25, 28-26, 25-19, 21-25, 15-9)
August 27: vs. Canada, 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT
August 29: Quarterfinals (2nd A vs. 3rd B, 3rd B vs. 2nd A), TBD
August 30: Semifinals, TBD
August 31: Medal Matches, TBD