COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 9, 2019) – Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado) scored 11 points and was a perfect 10-of-10 hitting as the U.S. Women’s National Team used its entire 14-player roster in sweeping Mexico 25-8, 25-15, 25-14 on Wednesday on the second day of the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship pool play in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The U.S. concludes the four-team Pool B on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET against undefeated Dominican Republic. The USA-DOM winner advances directly to the semifinals on Saturday, while the loser drops to the crossover quarterfinal to play Pool A’s third-place team on Friday. The medal-round matches are scheduled for Sunday.
All U.S. matches at the NORCECA Championship will be streamed on FloVolleyball.tv.
Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) added eight kills on 14 swings and a block for nine points. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) charted six kills on 11 swings and three aces for nine points all in the first set. Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) provided six kills on 12 attacks and two aces for eight points.
“I think speed is something we take pride in our gym,” Washington said. “I think we really pushed that speed tonight, and it was a good match. Personally, I did a good job of being loose. I like to bring a fun energy to the court and I think I did that.”
Haleigh Washington was a perfect 10-of-10 hitting and scored a team-high 11 points in leading the U.S. Women to a sweep…
Opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California) knocked down four kills on four swings and two aces for six points. Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) contributed five kills on 11 attacks, while middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas) chipped in five kills on six attacks in the victory. Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) totaled five kills on six errorless attacks. Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) pocketed an ace and block for two points while middle Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota) rounded out the scoring with a kill.
Libero Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) handled 10 receptions with a 70 positive percent to go with 13 digs in the final two sets. Larson was 45 percent positive on 11 receptions. Robinson was credited with six digs and handled seven receptions with a 71 positive percent. Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) totaled four digs in the opening set.
The U.S. converted 62 percent of its attacks with a .500 hitting efficiency (50-10-80) with Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) and Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colorado) sharing the setting duties. The Americans held Mexico to a 21 kill percent and .039 hitting efficiency (16-13-77).
Team USA held an 8-2 margin in aces to offset Mexico’s 7-3 advantage in blocks.
“As a team we were really good job at filling our roles. Whatever that needed to be, if people needed to come in and play, they did that. If people needed to bring high energy, they did that.”
The U.S. started Bartsch-Hackley and Hill at outside hitter, Dixon and Tapp at middle, Lowe at opposite, Carlini at setter and Wong-Orantes at libero. The U.S. changed out all seven players for the second and third sets with Robinson and Larson taking over at outside hitter, Washington and Ogbogu at middle, Drews at opposite, Poulter at setter and Courtney at libero.
Washington is looking forward to Team USA’s next match against Dominican Republic on Thursday.
“I think you should expect to see something very competitive,” Washington said. “Dominican is a very strong team, they have a lot of great players and heavy hitters. But we are also a really strong team. We have a lot of great players and a lot of heavy hitters. So it should be a great match and I am excited for it.”
According to Washington, the U.S. will continue to work on pushing the speed against Dominican Republic.
“Lots of speed,” Washington said of what the team is working on. “We will be working on pushing our speed, working on good read blocking skills and always putting our service pressure on.”
The U.S. started the opening set with a 5-0 lead that included three kills from Bartsch-Hackley. Lowe served consecutive aces after a kill followed by a Hill kill to raise the American lead to 14-4. Bartsch-Hackley, who had nine points in the opening set, scored the final four points including three aces for a 25-8 victory.
Team USA broke a 7-all tie in the second set with a 7-0 run on Robinson’s serve to establish a 14-7 advantage. The American lead reached double-digits at 22-12 with Washington scoring a kill and block in a 3-0 run. Washington ended the set with a power slam, her fifth point of the set, at 25-15.
The Americans built an 8-4 advantage in the third set with a kills from Robinson and Washington in a 3-0 run. Mexico scored three unanswered to close to 10-9. Team USA answered with a 10-1 including four kills from Drews to give the Americans a 20-10 advantage. Washington closed out the match with a kill at 25-14.