COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 17, 2017) – Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) scored 13 points and was one shy of her own Pan American Cup single-match record in aces to lift the U.S. Women’s National Team to a convincing 25-9, 25-16, 25-11 victory over Venezuela Saturday afternoon to open the 16th Pan American Cup in Canete, Peru.
The Pan American Cup is a 12-team tournament broken up into two six-team preliminary round pools. The U.S. will face Colombia on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET, followed by Puerto Rico on June 19 at 8 p.m. ET, Mexico on June 20 at 6 p.m. ET and Argentina on June 21 at 8 p.m. ET. Pool B, being played in Lima, has Canada, Chile, Cuba, Dominican Republic, host Peru and Trinidad & Tobago.
Hancock totaled her 13 points with 11 aces on 21 serves and two aces on as many attempts. In her only other tournament appearance for the U.S. Women’s National Team, she set ace records for a match and tournament at the 2016 Pan American Cup as she tallied 12 aces in the 2016 bronze-medal match to finish with 50 aces for the tournament.
Middle Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland), who has one year remaining at University of Florida, contributed eight points with six blocks, one kill on two attacks and an ace. Opposites Liz McMahon (Liberty Township, Ohio) and Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) had matching seven points in the victory. McMahon started the first two sets with five kills on 15 swings and two blocks, while Drews started the third set and turned in seven kills on 10 attacks. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Maryville, Illinois pocketed three kills on nine swings, two aces and one block for six points.
Outside hitter Sonja Newcombe (Lake Arrowhead, California) provided four kills on eight errorless attacks and a block for five points in starting the first two sets. Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona) tacked on three kills on three swings, one block and one ace for five points. Outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) scored two kills on three swings and two block for four points. Middle Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota) had four kills on six attacks in the victory. Both Courtney and Tapp started the final set. Rounding out the scoring was middle Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska) with one kill on four attacks in starting the first two sets.
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) was credited with four digs and three excellent receptions on four errorless chances. Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois), who started the third set in place of Hancock, had five running sets on 20 errorless chances as Hancock provided four running sets on 26 chances.
The setting combination of Hancock and Carlini led the U.S. to a 51.6 kill percent and .371 hitting efficiency (32-9-62). Team USA held a 13-5 block advantage and commanding 15-2 margin in aces behind Hancock’s serving. The Americans limited Venezuela to a 27.0 kill percent and negative .016 hitting efficiency (17-18-63).
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for Pan Am Cup
# – Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 – Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
2 – Rhamat Alhassan (M, 6-4, Florida, Glenarden, Maryland)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska, Cypress, California)
6 – Amber Rolfzen (M, 6-3, Nebraska, Papillion, Nebraska)
7 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-1, Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois)
9 – Madi Kingdon (OH, 6-1, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-3, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Maryville, Illinois)
16 – Molly McCage (M, 6-3, Texas, Spring, Texas)
17 – Megan Courtney (OH, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
18 – Sonja Newcombe (OH, 6-1, Oregon, Lake Arrowhead, California)
20 – Amanda Benson (L, 5-7, Oregon, Litchfield Park, Arizona)
21 – Paige Tapp (M, 6-1, Minnesota, Stewartville, Minnesota)
23 – Liz McMahon (OPP, 6-6, Illinois, Liberty Township, Ohio)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Tama Miyashiro, Erin Virtue
Team Manager/Assistant Coach:Jon Newman-Gonchar (team manager)
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
16th Pan American Cup Schedule and Results for U.S. Women
June 17: U.S. def. Venezuela 25-9, 25-16, 25-11
June 18: U.S. vs. Colombia, 4 p.m. ET
June 19: U.S. vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m. ET
June 20: U.S. vs. Mexico, 6 p.m. ET
June 21: U.S. vs. Argentina, 8 p.m. ET
June 23: Pool A and Pool B 2nd and 3rd-place crossovers
June 24: Quarterfinal Winners
June 25: Bronze medal match (semifinal losers), 4 p.m. ET
June 25 Gold Medal match (semifinal winners), 6 p.m. ET