COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 19, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team opposite Liz McMahon (Liberty Township, Ohio) scored 27 points as the Americans rallied in the fifth set to defeat Puerto Rico 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-12 in the Pan American Cup Pool B on Monday evening in Canete, Lima, Peru.
The U.S. improves to 3-0 in the Pan American Cup, which is a 12-team tournament broken up into two six-team preliminary round pools. The U.S. will face Mexico on Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET before concluding the group stage against Argentina on June 21 at 8 p.m. ET. Through the third day of pool play, the U.S. and Argentina are the lone undefeated teams in Pool A. Dominican Republic and host Peru are undefeated in Pool B.
Team USA won the opening two sets, only to have Puerto Rico bounced back to even the sets up sending the match to a fifth-set tiebreaker. The Americans trailed 11-9 in the fifth set, but rattled off four unanswered points to take a 13-11 advantage en route to winning 15-12 by scoring six of the final seven points of the match.
McMahon totaled 24 kills on 46 swings, two blocks and an ace for her match-high 27 points. Middle Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland) chipped in 14 points with nine kills on 17 attacks and match-leading five blocks. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Maryville, Illinois) pocketed 12 kills on 27 attacks and a block for 13 points.
Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) contributed eight points with four aces, two blocks and two kills. She now has 23 aces in three Pan Am Cup matches in 2017. Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona), who started just the third and fourth sets, turned in seven kills on 19 swings and a block for eight points. Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana), who was a sub in the first, third and fourth sets, added six kills on 12 attacks and a block for seven points.
Outside hitter Sonja Newcombe (Lake Arrowhead, California) and middle Amber Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska) were credited with three kills and block for four points each. Middle Paige Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota), who started the fourth set, tallied one kill and setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) rounded out the scoring with one ace as a sub in the first four sets.
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) produced a team-best 13 digs to go with seven excellent receptions. Bartsch added a team-best 14 excellent receptions on 41 chances. Newcombe charted seven excellent receptions on 21 errorless chances. Hancock was credited with 17 running sets on 106 total set attempts, while Carlini had two running sets on 21 set attempts.
Behind the setting combination of Hancock and Carlini, the U.S. converted 43.8 percent of its attacks into points with a .275 hitting efficiency (67-25-153). The U.S. defense limited Puerto Rico to a .257 hitting efficiency (61-22-152) and a 40.1 kill percent.
The U.S. held a slim 14-13 margin in blocks and both teams served six aces. The Americans managed a 67-61 kill advantage. Puerto Rico took advantage of 28 U.S. errors and limited its own miscues to 22 on the match.
Puerto Rico was led by Daly Santana’s 26 points and Marie Victoria Pilar added 19 points.
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. def. Puerto Rico 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-12
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