COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 3, 2016) – Nikki Taylor (Honolulu, Hawaii) notched a match-high 10 points as a young U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Trinidad & Tobago 25-11, 25-13, 25-19 on Sunday to improve to 2-0 in the annual Pan American Cup being held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Taylor, who started just the final set after being the double-sub opposite in the first two sets, scored eight of her points via kills on 11 errorless attacks to go with two blocks. Middle Carly Wopat (Santa Barbara, California) added nine points with six kills on nine swings and three blocks. Setter Micha Hancock(Edmond, Oklahoma), who started the match after being a sub in the opener, totaled six points with three aces, two kills and a block. She now has 11 aces in the first two Pan American Cup matches.
Kelsie Payne (Austin, Texas), playing and starting just the final two sets, contributed six points at middle blocker – all on kills from nine attacks. Alex Holston (Olney, Maryland), who started at opposite the first two sets, added six points with five kills on seven attacks and a block.
Outside hitter Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio), outside hitter Taylor Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and middle Rhamat Alhassan (Glenarden, Maryland) all charted three points in the victory. Courtney started all three sets, while Alhassan started just the first set and Taylor was a sub in the final two sets. Outside hitter Brittany Howard (Los Altos, California) rounded out the scoring with two points in starting the final two sets.
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) was credited with a team-high eight digs to go with five excellent receptions on 11 chances. Courtney totaled a team-best nine excellent receptions on 14 chances and four digs, while Howard had six excellent receptions on seven errorless chances.
The U.S. Women converted 55.9 percent of their attacks with a .424 hitting efficiency (.424) as Hancock was credited with 11 running sets on 34 chances and double-sub setter Lauren Carlini (West Aurora, Illinois) added two running sets on 16 set attempts. The Team USA defense limited Trinidad & Tobago to a 28.1 kill percent and a negative .016 hitting efficiency (18-19-64).
The Americans out-blocked Trinidad & Tobago 10-6 and held a slim 5-3 margin in aces. The U.S. managed a 33-18 advantage in kills and a 16-10 edge in digs.
With the FIVB World Grand Prix running concurrently with the Pan Am Cup, Team USA is using a roster of athletes either still in college or just recently graduated. For many of the players the Pan Am Cup is their first international competition including the junior and youth ranks.