PILA, Poland, August 09, 2003 – The USA girl’s youth national Volleyball team started the FIVB Girl’s Under-18 World Championships with a convincing 3-1 over the Czech Republic at Mosir Hall on Saturday afternoon.
Nicole Fawcett and Jordan Larson each scored 16 points to lead five players in double figures as the United States recorded a 22-25, 26-24, 25-20, 25-11 victory to begin competition in Pool D.
"We are very happy to get our first win in the preliminary round," said Team USA head coach Shelton Collier. "We have a very inexperienced team compared to many of the others at this event, so this victory will really help our confidence. Hopefully we will play better and better as the tournament progresses."
Fawcett had 13 kills, two blocks and one service ace, while Larson had 10 kills, a match-high four aces and two blocks.
Team USA’s block was a key to the win as the Americans posted a commanding 17-5 advantage in that category.
Up next for the United States is a match against perennial power Brazil on Sunday. Brazil started pool play with an easy 25-15, 25-14, 25-5 win over Belarus to join Team USA at the top of the Pool D standings.
"We trained very hard to prepare for this tournament and it was great to see all of our hard work pay off with a win," said team captain Sarah Florian (Holland, Ohio), who scored 10 points on eight kills and two blocks. "We expected the Czechs to be very strong and they were, so it took a great effort to prevail. We are already excited about playing Brazil tomorrow."
Setter Angie McGinnis scored 11 points on eight kills, two blocks and one ace in the win for the USA, while Nicole Britenriker added 10 points on six kills and four blocks.
Middle blocker Alexis Crimes recorded a match-high five stuffs to go along with four kills and tallied nine points.
Pavla Duspivova scored 11 points on nine kills and two blocks and Veronika Stolkova added nine points on nine kills for the Czech Republic in the loss.
Sixteen-year-old outside hitter Cynthia Barboza who helped lead this team to the World Championships when it won the NORCECA Youth Girls’ Volleyball Championship in Salt Lake City, Utah, a year ago, is starting for the USA women’s national training team as it currently competes at the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
She offered some words of encouragement to her former teammates shortly before the World Championships began.
"Good luck, play as a team and win!" said Barboza.
"I’m sure they’ll do fine," she added. "That’s a strong group of girls."