COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 15, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team, with a 12-4 ace advantage, defeated NORCECA rival Cuba 31-29, 25-20, 25-23 on Saturday during the FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship at Boca del Rio, Mexico.
The U.S. (1-1) will take on Serbia (1-1) on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET to conclude Pool C. Serbia edged Cuba in five sets on Friday to open the Women’s U20 World Championship. The winner will advance to the top eight gold bracket of the World Championship that begins on Tuesday, while the loser moves on the classification 9-16 round.
“We are so excited not only about our win over Cuba tonight, but more importantly our great turnaround from yesterday!” U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Head Coach Laurie Corbelli said. “The team really prepared well and executed the game plan beautifully. Leah Edmond and Bri Butler both had a fantastic match at the net and Norene Iosia set a consistent, calm match which reflected in the team during stressful moments. Our serving was the best it’s been and our serve receive was sharp and purposeful. We are ready and eager to go up against Serbia tomorrow night. Go USA!”
Middle Brionne Butler (Kendleton, Texas) scored 12 points with seven kills on 11 swings, three aces and two blocks. Outside hitter Leah Edmond (Lexington, Kentucky) had a matching 12 points with 11 kills on 33 attacks and a block.
“I thought Cuba was a very, very good team who have been together for a long time where we haven’t been together,” Butler said. “So I think we have been working pretty well and I can’t wait how the tournament continues.”
Ronika Stone (San Jose, California), who started one set at opposite and one at middle, contributed six kills on 11 attacks with an ace for seven points. Outside hitter Thayer Hall (Moore, South Carolina) pocketed seven points with five kills on 18 swings, one block and one ace. Setter Norene Iosia (Torrance, California) provided four aces, two kills on five attempts and a block for seven points.
“I think it was a hard fought match,” Stone said. “We had to come back strong from yesterday’s match. So we came out more focused this match and it was a really big team effort. Cuba is a great team to play against, they have some big hitters. I am proud of us come together and fight hard to win this game. I am looking forward to tomorrow’s match against Serbia and taking it home.”
Opposite Holly Carlton (Sterling, Virginia) tacked on three kills, one block and one ace for five points. Middle Regan Pittman (Spring Hill, Kansas) turned in three points with two aces and one block.
Hall was credited with 22 excellent passes on 28 attempts, while libero Tiffany Clark (Naperville, Illinois) chipped in 10 excellent receptions on 15 errorless attempts and team-leading 14 digs. Iosia added 12 digs in the victory.
Iosia set the Americans to a 34.7 kill percent and .194 hitting efficiency (34-15-98) as she was credited with 24 running sets on 70 total attempts. The U.S. limited Cuba to a .167 hitting efficiency (38-22-96) and 39.6 kill percent. The Americans held a slim 7-5 block advantage to go with its dominance at the service line. Cuba managed a 38-34 lead in kills.
Cuba was led by Heidy Casanova Alvarez’s match-leading 23 points. No other Cuban scored more than five points in the loss.
The Americans started Butler and Pittman at middle, Hall and Edmond at outside hitter, Carlton at opposite and Iosia at setter. Clark was the libero for the match. Stone started the second set in place of Carlton, who moved into the starting rotation in the third set at opposite and Stone started the third at middle in place of Pittman. Gabby Curry (Buford, Georgia) was a sub in all three sets, while Paige Hammons (Louisville, Kentucky) was a sub in the second set.
U.S. Women’s Junior National Team
# – Name (Position, 2017 Club/College, Height, Hometown, Region)
1 – Brionne Butler (M, University of Texas, 6-4, Kendleton, Texas, Lone Star)
2 – Tiffany Clark (L, University of Wisconsin, 5-11, Naperville, Illinois, Great Lakes)
3 – Thayer Hall (OH, Upward Stars, 6-3, Moore, South Carolina, Palmetto)
4 – Paige Hammons (OH, University of Florida, 6-2, Louisville, Kentucky, Pioneer)
5 – Regan Pittman (M, University of Minnesota, 6-5, Spring Hill, Kansas, Heart of America)
6 – Holly Carlton (OPP, University of North Carolina, 6-7, Sterling, Virginia, Chesapeake)
8 – Ronika Stone (OPP, University of Oregon, 6-2, San Jose, California, Northern California)
11 – Norene Iosia (S, University of Hawaii, 5-11, Torrance, California, Southern California)
12 – MacKenzi Welsh (S, University of Michigan, 6-1, Bolingbrook, Illinois, Great Lakes)
14 – Gabby Curry (L, University of Kentucky, 5-9, Buford, Georgia, Southern)
15 – Rachael Kramer (M, University of Florida, 6-8, Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona)
17 – Leah Edmond (OH, University of Kentucky, 6-2, Lexington, Kentucky, Pioneer)
Head Coach: Laurie Corbelli (head coach at Texas A&M University)
Assistant Coach: Blake Rawlins (head trainer at Top Select Volleyball Academy)
Assistant Coach: Jay Van Vark (assistant coach at Grand Canyon University)
Team Leader: Tom Pingel (USA Volleyball High Performance)
Athletic Trainer: Ronni Beatty-Kollasch (University of Minnesota)
2017 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship
Pool C at Boca del Rio, Mexico
July 14: USA vs. Brazil 25-10, 25-12, 24-26, 25-22
July 15: USA def. Cuba 31-29, 25-20, 25-23
July 16: USA vs. Serbia, 7 p.m. ET