COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 18, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team improved to 2-0 at the Pan American Cup following a 25-8, 25-19, 29-27 victory over Colombia in Pool A action Sunday afternoon in Canete, Lima, Peru.
The Pan American Cup is a 12-team tournament broken up into two six-team preliminary round pools. The U.S. will face Puerto Rico on June 19 at 8 p.m. ET, followed by 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.
Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana), who was a sub in all three sets, provided a team-high nine points with eight kills on 14 attacks and a block. Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) tallied eight aces against Colombia to bring her two-day tournament ace total to 19. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley charted eight kills on 10 errorless swings, while opposite Liz McMahon (Liberty Township, Ohio) totaled four kills on 13 attempts and three blocks for seven points.
“Today’s match has allowed us to know each other better,” said Hancock, who is serving as captain of the U.S. Women in the Pan Am Cup. “We have been working in our service game and the score was close because we failed in little things. But those are details that we will fix to keep growing.”
Middle Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska) pocketed four kills on five attacks and a block for five points, matching outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) who had five kills on 10 errorless attacks in the victory. Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Arirzona) and middles Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland) and Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota) each popped in four kills. Outside hitter Sonja Newcombe (Lake Arrowhead, California) tacked on two kills and an ace for three points. Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) and middle Molly McCage (Spring, Texas) each scored one point to round out the scoring.
The U.S. started Hancock at setter, McMahon at opposite, Alhassan and Rolfzen at middle, Bartsch-Hackley and Newcombe at outside hitter. The starters started all three sets with the exception of Kingdon replacing Bartsch-Hackley in the third set. Except for the two liberos – starter Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) and Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona) who started the second and third sets – everyone on the 14-player roster scored at least one point in the match.
Benson was credited with seven digs and had a team-best 14 reception attempts, while Wong-Orantes had four digs in her one set of action. Courtney had five excellent receptions on 13 chances, while Bartsch-Hackley added four excellent receptions on eight total chances.
“I liked the fight Colombia put up today,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “That made us to give a better effort. The match was interesting and we rotated our players because we feel good with anybody on the court. This competition gives us the chance to see the development of different players.”
The U.S. out-blocked Colombia 6-3 and held a 9-1 ace margin. The Americans, who had .375 hitting efficiency (44-8-96) with a 45.8 kill percent, held a 44-29 advantage in kills. Carlini was credited with 14 running sets on 43 chances, while Hancock turned in 11 running sets on 32 set attempts.
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 Leader/Assistant Coach:Jon Newman-Gonchar
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Athletic Trainer: Beri Dwyer
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. def. Colombia 25-8, 25-19, 29-27
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