PRESS RELEASE 16.09.2003


USA book semifinal spot with victory over Cuba

September 16, 2003 - USA overcame an electricity power failure during the tie-breaker and a fired up Cuban side to advance to the semifinals with a 3-2 (20-25, 25-20, 25-20, 18-25, 15-13) win behind the attack of lefty Nancy Metalf at the NORCECA Women's Continental Championship.

The Americans finished with a 2-0 record in Pool B while Cuba now has to face Puerto Rico on Wednesday in a quarterfinal match and Canada meets Costa Rica in another.

Following a power cut with the score tied at 4-all in the tie breaker USA captain Danielle Scott put her serve in the net and Liana Mesa responded with an ace for a 6-4 lead in favor of Cuba. Then Metcalf came up with a powerful combination to tie the match a 8-all.

A couple of monster blocks by Scott gave USA a 10-8 lead and two spikes from Cuba's Yumilka Ruiz went long and the Americans were ahead by four at 12-8. The lead narrowed to 12-11 after a couple of unforced errors but Metcalf produced another spike for a two point lead. At 13-all USA relied on Metcalf again for the spike and match-point and Logan Tom produced an ace for the victory.

“It was a game of highs and lows for both teams,” said Toshi Yoshida, the American coach. “We brought Metcalf on at the right time and she delivered some huge points. Also our blocking was a key. We could have won in four sets but the Cubans played a great set establishing a very quick pace. You have to credit them.

“We came mentally prepared to play five sets and win the match by two points and that was exactly the way it happened,” said Scott, the USA captain. “As I said before we didn’t expect a three set match and we don’t expect it the rest of the tournament.”

“USA are a great team right through there 12 players,” said Luis Felipe Calderon, the Cuban coach. “It is a luxury that every coach would love to have. They can make substitutions without losing effectiveness. They have very big players and their blocking was very good at the right moment and I offer my congratulations.”

In earlier action, the Dominican Republic qualified first in Pool A after beating Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 (25-12, 25-8, 25-14) using mostly bench players. Juana Saviñon and Sofia Mercedes both scored 13 points.

Canada finished second in Pool A after defeating Puerto Rico 3-1 (19-25, 25-20, 25-10, 25-17) with lefty Sarah Pavan scoring 18 points.