Former Benjamin Logan great Nicole Fawcett (pictured) scored 15 points in sparking the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 25-12, 25-20, 25-18 victory over Dominican Republic Sunday evening in Lima, Peru, to capture the Pan American Cup gold medal for the second consecutive year.
Fawcett, who had a match-high 15 points, was named the tournament's MVP.
Team USA, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, finished the tournament with a 5-0 record in its season-opening event under new head coach Karch Kiraly. The Americans have now won the Pan American Cup three times, including 2003 and 2012. Seven U.S. players competed in both the 2012 and 2013 gold-medal campaigns. Team USA is only the second country to successfully defend its title in the history of the intercontinental event, joining Cuba who won consecutive titles in 2004 and 2005. Meanwhile, Dominican Republic failed in its attempt to win its third tournament title and finished with its sixth silver medal.
After Dominican Republic opened the first set with a 4-2 lead, it was all U.S. in the frame as the Americans went on a 9-1 scoring run and later used a 6-0 run en route to a 25-12 victory. The Americans produced a 6-1 advantage in blocks the opening set. The second set was tight until the last six points with 11 lead changes. However, the U.S. changed leads for the final time after trailing 20-19 and scored the final six points for a 25-20 victory with Fawcett serving out the set with consecutive aces. Team USA charged out to a 7-2 lead in the third set, only to have Dominican Republic climb back to within one at 12-11. However, the U.S. regrouped to string together a 9-3 scoring run to take a commanding 21-14 advantage in closing the set at 25-18.
"I am really pleased with the team's performance tonight, and overall with the tournament, especially how we were able to get better with every match," Kiraly said. "Dominican is a good team with Olympic experience and for the most part we were able to control the match from beginning to end."
Fawcett tallied 15 points with six kills on 15 errorless attacks, six blocks and three aces. Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) charted 11 points with eight kills on 16 attacks and three blocks. Kristin Richards Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) picked up nine kills on 16 swings in the match. Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.), the only 2012 U.S. Olympian in the match, pocketed eight points with seven kills on 16 attacks and an ace. Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) recorded five kills on 10 attacks and two blocks for seven points. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) was credited with two blocks, while Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) rounded out the scoring with a kill as a reserve.
Glass provided 28 running sets and Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) added seven running sets in leading the U.S. offense to a 45.6 kill percent and .367 hitting efficiency (36-7-79). Fawcett led the American defense with eight digs, while Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) added eight digs and seven excellent receptions on 14 errorless attempts. Hodge added a team-high 12 excellent receptions on 22 chances.
In addition to the MVP award, Fawcett earned the best server honor. Hodge was selected to receive the best spiker award, while Banwarth was selected as best receiver.
"This group is a blend of experienced and young players," said Richards Hildebrand, the U.S. captain. "I'm really pleased with how we were able to come together to defend our gold medal in this event and show what USA Volleyball is all about: supporting each other, being tough, and playing great--especially when it matters most. We are happy to leave as champions and with a gold medal; one of many more to come during this quadrennium."
The U.S. started Hodge and Richards Hildebrand at outside hitter, Gibbemeyer and Adams at middle blocker, Fawcett at opposite and Glass at setter. Banwarth is the designated Team USA libero for the tournament. Hagglund and Murphy were double subs in all three sets, while Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) was a sub in the final two sets.
"Our experienced players led, and our young players held their own against some good competition," Kiraly said. "I can't ask for a better start to this quadrennium. We are determined to continue to get better every day until the Olympics conclude in Rio just over 3 years from now, and this is the right start."
Team USA used a stifling 13-4 block advantage to thwart the Dominican Republic offense. Further, the U.S. benefited from 22 other Dominican Republic errors in the match. The U.S. limited Dominican Republic to a 33.3 kill percent and .107 hitting efficiency (28-19-84) for the match. The Americans also held a slim 4-3 margin in aces to go with a 36-28 advantage in kills and a 37-34 lead in digs.
"We are working hard to improve our serving, and we made significant progress as the tournament went on," Kiraly said. "Nicole Fawcett wowed everyone with her jump serve. There cannot be many others in the world serving as consistently hard and in as she did this past week. Others are developing tough serves of their own and contributing to our success in that way."
“It is not that we played bad,” Dominican Republic Head Coach Marcos Kwiek said. “They started playing very well and pressured us from the beginning. We didn’t know how to get out of some situation. After that we improved our attitude and played at a good level, but not as we could really do.”
Priscilla Rivera, Yonkaira Pena and Annerys Vargas all scored eight points to lead Dominican Republic.
The Pan American Cup, now in its 12th year, consists of 12 teams from NORCECA (North American, Central America and Caribbean Confederation) and CSV (South America Federation). The tournament serves as a qualification tournament into the 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix. The top four teams from NORCECA and the top placing team from CSV other than Brazil will earn tickets to next year’s World Grand Prix.
Team USA qualified for the 2014 FIVB World Grand Prix as one of the top four NORCECA finishing teams in the tournament.
The U.S. will host Japan in a three-match series as part of the USA Volleyball Cup held July 10 in San Diego, July 12 at Long Beach, Calif., and July 13 at San Juan Capistrano, Calif. To purchase tickets, visit www.usavolleyballcup.com.
Dominican Republic earned a quick 3-1 lead in the opening set, but the U.S. came back to take a 6-4 lead with a Glass block followed by two Hodge kills and a Dominican Republic error as part of a 5-0 American run. Team USA reached the first technical timeout leading 8-5 with a Fawcett kill following up a Dominican Republic error. Out of the break Fawcett put up a block and downed a kill for a 10-5 American lead causing Dominican Republic to call timeout. Hodge slammed a kill off the block out of the break to extend the lead to 11-5. Dominican Republic tallied three straight points to narrow the gap to 11-8. Team USA upped its lead to 16-9 with an Adams kill, blocks from Fawcett and Gibbemeyer and a Dominican Republic error. Out of the second technical timeout, Fawcett added another block followed by a Dominican Republic error to extend the U.S. lead to 18-9. Team USA jumped its lead to 21-10 with a Fawcett kill and ace around a Dominican Republic error. Gibbemeyer followed with a block and Dominican Republic committed an error to push the U.S. advantage to 23-10. Murphy ended the set with a kill at 25-12. Fawcett paced the Americans with nine points in the set, including three of her team’s six blocks along with an ace.
Dominican Republic scored the first two points of the second set, but the U.S. came back to level the score at 4-all with a Gibbemeyer kill and Dominican Republic error. Team USA went in front 6-5 on a Fawcett block after a Dominican Republic service error. Dominican Republic quickly flipped score to its favor at 7-6 with back-to-back points. However, the U.S. went into the first technical timeout leading 8-7 after a Dominican Republic service error and Hodge ace. Dominican Republic went back in front 10-9 on back-to-back points. Team USA reversed the lead to its side at 11-10 on consecutive Dominican Republic errors. Dominican Republic rolled off three unanswered points to grab a 14-12 lead at a Team USA timeout. The U.S. came out of the break with a Gibbemeyer kill and Dominican Republic attack error to tie the score at 14-all. Adams hammered back-to-back kills to put the Americans in front 16-15 at the second technical timeout. Dominican Republic came out of the break with the next two points to assume a 17-16 lead on the eighth lead change of the set. Fawcett and Richards Hildebrand connected for back-to-back kills to put the Americans in front 19-18, but it was short lived as Dominican Republic scored two points out of a timeout to regain the lead at 20-19. Consecutive Dominican Republic errors put the Americans in front 21-20, the 11th lead change of the set. Gibbemeyer gave the U.S. a two-point cushion at 22-20 with a kill. Out of a Dominican Republic timeout, Richards Hildebrand scored a kill and Fawcett sliced an ace to reach set points at 24-20. Fawcett promptly ended the set at 25-20 with another ace, her third of the match and 14th point.
Team USA grabbed an early 3-0 lead in the third set with a kill from Richards Hildebrand followed by a kill and block by Gibbemeyer. The U.S. extended its lead to 7-2 before Dominican Republic closed to 8-6 on a 4-1 scoring spurt. Adams notched back-to-back kills followed by a Dominican Republic error to yield an 11-6 advantage for the U.S. Dominican Republic answered with consecutive points to whittle the gap to 11-8. Dominican Republic continued to battle back to close to 12-11. Richards Hildebrand scored three consecutive kills to inch the U.S. lead to 15-11. Richards Hildebrand notched her fifth kill of the set and Gibbemeyer followed with a block to put the U.S. in front 17-12. Dominican Republic shaved two points off the deficit at 17-14. Gibbemeyer and Hodge scored back-to-back kills and Adams followed with a block to increase the lead to 20-14. Hodge added a fourth straight point with a kill at 21-14. Richards Hildebrand scored her sixth kill of the set to finish the match with a 25-18 victory in the third.
2013 U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Roster for Pan American Cup
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
1 – Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
7 – Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, Poway, Calif., Stanford)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., Minnesota)
11 – Megan Hodge (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State)
12 – Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, Nebraska)
14 – Nicole Fawcett (Opp, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
16 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine)
17 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., Texas)
20 – Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, West Chester, Ohio, Washington)
22 – Rachael Adams (MB, 6-2, Cincinnati, Ohio, Texas)
24 – Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford)
25 – Kelly Murphy (Opp, 6-2, Wilmington, Ill., Florida)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Reed Sunahara, Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Physiotherapist: Jill Wosmek
Team Manager: Rob Browning
2013 Pan American Cup Schedule
Pool Play (Times Listed as Pacific Time)
June 10: Argentina def. Puerto Rico 25-23, 25-21, 25-15 (at Callao – Pool A)
June 10: United States def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-13, 25-12, 25-13 (at Callao – Pool A)
June 10: Peru def. Costa Rica 25-19, 25-18, 25-16(at Iquitos – Pool B)
June 10: Cuba vs. Canada 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-13 (at Iquitos – Pool B)
June 10: Mexico def. Colombia 25-18, 25-23, 25-16 (at Huacho – Pool C)
June 10: Dominican Republic def. Brazil 21-25, 25-20, 25-21, 35-33 (at Huacho – Pool C)
June 11: Argentina def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-23, 25-18, 25-11 (at Callao – Pool A)
June 11: United States def. Puerto Rico 28-30, 23-25, 25-14, 25-17, 15-13 (at Callao – Pool A)
June 11: Canada def. Peru 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 20-25, 15-11 (at Iquitos – Pool B)
June 11: Cuba def. Costa Rica 25-20, 25-14, 25-17 (at Iquitos – Pool B)
June 11: Dominican Republic def. Colombia 25-19, 25-14, 25-21 (at Huacho –Pool C)
June 11: Brazil def. Mexico 23-25, 25-16, 25-21, 25-15 (at Huacho – Pool C)
June 12: Puerto Rico def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-19, 25-18, 25-12 (at Callao – Pool A)
June 12: United States def. Argentina 25-17, 25-19, 25-22 (at Callao – Pool A)
June 12: Cuba def. Peru 19-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-22, 15-12 (at Iquitos – Pool B)
June 12: Canada def. Costa Rica 25-18, 25-23, 25-19 (at Iquitos – Pool B)
June 12: Dominican Republic def. Mexico 25-17, 25-13, 25-18 (at Huacho – Pool C)
June 12: Brazil def. Colombia 25-11, 25-23, 25-18(at Huacho – Pool C)
June 14: Peru def. Mexico 20-25, 26-28, 25-20, 25-17, 16-14
June 14: Puerto Rico def. Costa Rica 25-5, 25-14, 25-12
June 14: Brazil def. Canada 25-20, 23-25, 25-13, 20-25, 15-9
June 14: Argentina def. Cuba 26-24, 25-22, 25-23
June 15: Trinidad & Tobago def. Mexico 25-17, 25-22, 26-24
June 15: Colombia def. Costa Rica 35-33, 15-25, 20-25, 25-22, 15-6
June 15: Cuba def. Peru 18-25, 25-16, 25-15, 25-16
June 15: Puerto Rico def. Canada 27-25, 18-25, 25-17, 25-19
June 15: United States def. Brazil 25-11, 25-20, 25-22
June 15: Dominican Republic def. Argentina 25-18, 25-18, 25-11
June 16: Costa Rica def. Mexico 27-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21 (11th/12th Place)
June 16: Colombia def. Trinidad & Tobago 19-25, 13-25, 25-18, 25-14, 15-13 (9th/10th Place)
June 16: June 16: Canada def. Peru 25-21, 25-14, 25-19 (7th/8th Place)
June 16: Puerto Rico def. Cuba 24-26, 18-25, 25-18, 25-22, 15-9 (5th/6th Place)
June 16: Argentina def. Brazil 25-23, 25-22, 25-15 (3rd/4th Place)
June 16: United States def. Dominican Republic 25-12, 25-20, 25-18