COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 22, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team got over first-set jitters and went on to beat Canada 18-25, 25-14, 25-23, 25-20 on Thursday on opening day of the NORCECA Champions Cup at the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Training Center.
U.S. outside hitters Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) and Kadie Rolfzen (Papillion, Nebraska) each finished with 17 points to lead Team USA. Wilhite Parsons collected 14 kills on 35 swings and three blocks while Rolfzen charted 11 kills on 28 attacks, three blocks and a team-high three aces. Middle Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland) chipped in eight klils on 19 swings, three blocks and an ace for 12 points.
“Overall it felt great,” Wilhite Parsons said of winning the opening match. “I thought we had a lot of energy and fight in us. We worked out some kinks in the first set, but after that we stayed really patient and worked well as a unit. Sam, our setter, did a good job of mixing it up, and that helped a lot. It took pressure off the pins. Everyone I thought played really well and stepped up.”
Simone Lee (Menomoeee Falls, Wisconsin), playing opposite, toatled nine kills, one block and one ace for 11 points. Middle Jenna Rosenthal (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) tacked on six kills via 14 attacks, one block and one ace for eight points. Roni Jones-Perry, a sub in the final two sets, added two kills and setter Sam Seliger-Swenson rounded out the scoring with a kill.
Libero Amanda Benson (Litchfield Park, Arizona) was credited with 15 excellent receptions on 24 chances while Wilhite Parsons had 22 excellent receptions on 37 chances and 10 digs. Rolfzen had a team-leading 12 digs, followed by Lee’s 11 digs.
Seliger-Swenson led Team USA to a 38.9 kill percent and .229 hitting efficiency (51-21-131). The American defense limited the Canadians to a 31.8 kill percent and .114 hitting efficiency (42-27-132).
The U.S. Women led Canada in attacks (51-42), blocks (11-10) and ace (6-4).
Tayyiba Haneef-Park, who won her head coaching debut with the U.S. Women after being a three-time Olympian with the squad, felt the team made adjustments from early errors.
“I think we had too many unforced errors,” Haneef-Park said. “We were out of our rhythm and once we started to just keep the ball in the court it created more out of system offense for them. I think we stepped up our serve and our pass, and it created a lot of difficulty for Canada. That was all part of our game plan. As long as we can stay true to keeping them out of system, we can put up a really good block and defense around it.”
All 12 matches of the NORCECA Champions Cup will be held in Sports Center 1 at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center. Admission is free and open to the public. All matches are also being live streamed on the