COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 9, 2016) – A mix of college players and just recently graduated athletes representing the U.S. Women’s National Team lost to Olympic Games-bound Puerto Rico 25-20, 21-25, 25-17, 25-20 in the Pan American Cup semifinals on Saturday in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The U.S., now 5-1 overall in the Pan American Cup, will now play Cuba for the bronze medal on Sunday at 3 pm. Local time. Team USA edged Cuba in five sets during pool play.
Middle Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland) led the U.S. in scoring with 12 points including six kills, a team-best five blocks and an ace. Outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) contributed 11 points with nine kills and two blocks. Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona) tallied nine kills and a block for 10 points, while middle Carly Wopat (Santa Barbara, California) recorded six kills and four blocks for 10 points.
Opposite Nikki Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii) charted eight kills in starting just the fourth set after being a sub in the first three. Opposite Alex Holston (Olney, Maryland) scored seven kills in the match as she started the first three sets. Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) turned in four kills and a serve for five points as she started the first three sets. Setter Lauren Carlini (West Aurora, Illinois), who started the fourth set, rounded out the scoring with an ace.
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) was credited with nine digs and 10 excellent receptions on 23 chances. Kingdon turned in 18 excellent receptions on 37 chances and eight digs. Courtney tacked on 11 excellent receptions on 25 chances.
Team USA advantages of 49-46 in kills and 12-11 in blocks, but the Puerto Rico serves caused problems for the American passing with a 9-3 ace advantage. The U.S. also committed 30 errors, 16 of which were service errors, in the match to the Puerto Ricans’ 18.
With the FIVB World Grand Prix running concurrently with the Pan Am Cup, Team USA is using a young roster of athletes, some of whom have never played internationally at any level.
The U.S. had won the Pan American Cup three of the past four years and four total times since the inaugural event in 2002.