COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 27, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team has selected its 12 athletes who will compete in the 2016 Pan American Cup scheduled to take place July 2-10 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
The 12 athletes are either still in college or recently completed eligibility from their respective college. Selected setters are Lauren Carlini (University of Wisconsin) and Micha Hancock (Penn State). Outside hitters named to the roster are captain Megan Courtney (Penn State), Brittany Howard (Stanford University), Madi Kingdon (University of Arizona) and Taylor Simpson (University of Colorado).
Opposites going to the Pan Am Cup are Alex Holston (University of Florida) and Nikki Taylor (University of Hawaii). Middles chosen for the team are Rhamat Alhassan (University of Florida), Kelsie Payne (University of Kansas) and Carly Wopat (Stanford University). The libero will be Justine Wong-Orantes (University of Nebraska).
As this competition runs concurrently with the World Grand Prix, U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly named University of Pittsburgh Head Coach Dan Fisher to lead the Pan American Cup squad. Fisher served in a similar role at the 2015 Pan American Games and led the U.S. to the gold medal, beating Brazil in the championship match.
In addition to Fisher, the Pan American Cup staff includes BYU Women’s Head Coach Heather Olmstead as assistant coach, University of Arkansas Associate Head Coach Jon Newman-Gonchar as team leader/assistant coach and Arkansas State University Assistant Head Coach Tristan Johnson as scout coach.
“Training has been going great,” Fisher said. “We have a lot of players who are new to the USA system, and so there has been a fast learning curve. We are going to get to learn a lot about some younger players for the future of USA Volleyball with this tournament.”
Fisher feels the team has strengths in its setting and ball control, but will continue to train this week before heading to Dominican Republic to establish who the go-to hitter will be out of system.
“I think we have a couple good options at setter. I think we will be fairly steady with ball control. We got to figure out who is going to the heavy lifting out of system. But I think we will be able to pass and set at a pretty decent level.”
The U.S. squad is part of the six-team Pool B with Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru and Trinidad & Tobago. The Americans open pool play on July 2 against Peru, followed by Trinidad & Tobago on July 3, Cuba on July 4, Costa Rica on July 5 and Argentina on July 6.
Pool A includes Canada, Colombia, host Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Quarterfinals are set for July 8 with crossover second- and third-place finishers facing off. The two pool winners advance directly to the semifinals on July 9 with the medal rounds set for July 10.
The U.S. has won the Pan American Cup three of the past four years and four total times since the inaugural event in 2002.
U.S. Women’s Roster for Pan American Cup
Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, West Aurora, Illinois, University of Wisconsin)
3 – Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Oklahoma, Penn State)
4 – Megan Courtney (OH, 6-1, Dayton, Ohio, Penn State)
5 – Brittany Howard (OH, 6-3, Los Altos, California, Stanford University)
6 – Madi Kingdon (OH, 6-1, Phoenix, Arizona, University of Arizona)
7 – Taylor Simpson (OH, 6-3, Colorado Springs, Colorado, University of Colorado)
10 – Alex Holston (OPP, 6-1, Olney, Maryland, University of Florida)
11 – Nikki Taylor (OPP, 6-3, Honolulu, Hawaii, University of Hawaii)
12 – Carly Wopat (MB, 6-2, Santa Barbara, California, Stanford University)
13 – Rhamat Alhassan (M, 6-4, Glenarden, Maryland, University of Florida)
14 – Kelsie Payne (M, 6-3, Austin, Texas, University of Kansas)
22 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, California, University of Nebraska)
Head Coach: Dan Fisher (University of Pittsburgh)
Assistant Coach: Heather Olmstead (BYU)
Assistant Coach/Team Leader: Jon Newman-Gonchar (University of Arkansas)
Scout: Tristan Johnson (Arkansas State University)
Athletic Trainer: Peter Higbie
2016 Pan American Cup Schedule (times ET)
July 2: USA vs. Peru, 4 p.m.
July 3: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4 p.m.
July 4: USA vs. Cuba, 6 p.m.
July 5: USA vs. Costa Rica, 4 p.m.
July 6: USA vs Argentina, 6 p.m.
July 8: Quarterfinals
July 9: Semifinals
July 10: Medal Round