U.S. celebrating in over Cuba in U21 World Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 15, 2023) – The U.S. Women’s U21 Team began the 2023 FIVB U21 World Championship in style with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-21) win over Cuba on Thursday that featured two late rallies in Aguascalientes, Mexico.


The U.S. will face Türkiye at 4 p.m. PDT on Friday in the second match of pool play.

“I am very proud of the way this group represented USA today,” said U.S. Women’s U21 Head Coach Tom Hogan. “The players held their poise when facing adversity throughout the match, especially in end-of-set situations. This is the starting point for this young group, and we look to grow and improve through each high-level experience as the tournament progresses.”

A balanced attack that saw five players score at least six points led the U.S. squad to advantages in kills (30-27), blocks (7-3) and aces (9-7). Opposite Abigail Mullen shared the match high with 12 points on seven kills, three blocks and two aces.

Outside hitter Skyler Pierce tallied eight points (five kills, two blocks, one ace) and eight successful receptions in her international debut. Outside hitter Emerson Sellman equaled Mullen with seven kills and finished with 17 successful receptions.

“I am proud of our team and our performance today,” Sellman noted. “I think we found ourselves after the first set and carried it with us for the rest of the match.”

Middle blocker Lizzy Andrew also totaled seven points on six kills and an ace. Libero Ava Falduto finished with 10 digs and five successful receptions.

Setter Campbell Flynn recorded a match-high four aces with two kills for six points. Middle blockers Taylor Harvey and Alec Rothe combined for five points playing in their first international competition. Rothe had a block and an ace before suffering an injury midway through the second set.

Cuba led for most of the first set, moving ahead 21-17 before the U.S. rallied for four consecutive points, evening the set on a block by Mullen. After falling back behind, 22-21, the U.S. Women’s U21 scored four of the next five points, culminating the comeback on a kill from Andrew.

The U.S. kept the momentum going in the second set by jumping out to an 8-3 lead. Cuba pulled within two points, 13-11, but a kill on a tip by Sellman sent the U.S. on a 12-3 run to finish the set and take a 2-0 lead.

Cuba trailed 15-12 in the third set before going on a 10-3 run to take a 21-18 lead, but that would be its last point of the match. The U.S. forced a Cuba timeout by tying the set and then a block by Harvey and a kill by Sellman made it 23-21 before two mistakes by Cuba finished the match.

There are 16 teams entered in the World Championship. The United States is looking for its first medal at the Women’s U21 World Championship.

U.S. Women’s U21 Roster for the 2023 FIVB World Championship

No. Name (Position, Height, Birth Year, Hometown, School, USAV Region)
Lizzy Andrew (MB, 6-5, 2005, Ridgefield, Wash., Ridgefield HS, Columbia Empire)
Campbell Flynn (S, 6-3, 2006, Rochester Hills, Mich., Mercy HS, Lakeshore)
Kaci Demaria (OH, 6-4, 2007, San Pedro, Calif., Palos Verdes HS, Southern California)
Ava Falduto (L, 5-7, 2006, Elmhurst, Ill., IC Catholic Prep, Great Lakes)
11 Kelly Kinney (OH, 6-2, 2007, West Palm Beach, Fla., The King’s Academy, Florida)
13C Emerson Sellman (OH, 6-4, 2005, Burtonsville, Md., The Academy of the Holy Cross, Chesapeake)
14 Skyler Pierce (OH, 6-2, 2005, Lenexa, Kan., Olathe Northwest HS, Heart of America)
15 Abigail Mullen (OPP, 6-3, 2006, Kansas City, Mo., Liberty HS, Heart of America)
17 Taylor Harvey (MB, 6-3, 2006, Bountiful, Utah, Bountiful HS, Intermountain)
18 Izzy Starck (S, 6-1, 2006, Melbourne, Fla., Viera HS, Rocky Mountain)
19 Abby Vander Wal (OH, 6-3, 2006, Elmhurst, Ill., Timothy Christian HS, Great Lakes)
20 Alec Rothe (MB, 6-3, 2006, Dublin, Ohio, Dublin Scioto HS, Ohio Valley)

Head Coach: Tom Hogan
Assistant Coach: Stacy Sykora
Second Assistant: Lauren Plum
Team Manager: Courtney Smith
Performance Analyst: Evan Metzger
Athletic Trainer: Cherryl-Marie Bueno

U.S. Schedule for the 2023 FIVB Women’s U21 World Championship
Matches will be livestreamed on the Volleyball World YouTube channel
All times PDT
Aug. 17 USA def. Cuba, 3-0 (25-23, 25-14, 25-21)
Aug. 18 at 4 p.m. USA vs Türkiye
Aug. 19 at 4 p.m. USA vs Netherlands
Aug. 21-24 Second round of pool play
Aug. 25 Semifinals and classification playoffs
Aug. 26 Finals