United States win ticket to FIVB Grand Champions Cup
Omaha, Nebraska, September 21, 2013 –The United States captured the 2013 Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship gold medal by defeating Dominican Republic (25-19, 26-24, 21-25, 25-19) on Saturday evening at Ralston Arena.
By winning the title, the U.S. earned NORCECA’s automatic berth into the FIVB Grand Champions Cup held Nov. 12-17 in Nagoya and Tokyo, Japan. The Americans defended its title in the biennial championship and now have won the tournament seven times (1981, 1983, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2013). Team USA has won five of the last seven editions and reached the podium in 21 of the 23 editions since the tournament began in 1969.
Kelly Murphy sparked the United States with 18 points and three other teammates reached double-figure scoring. Lauren Paolini added 11 points, while Jordan Larson-Burbach totaled 15 points and Kristin Hildebrand contributed 11 points. Dominican Republic was led by Bethania de La Cruz with a match-high 23 points and Gina Mambru chipped in 15 points.
The United States held advantages of 5-2 in aces and 12-7 in blocks. Dominican Republic produced a 60-51 margin in kills, but committed 29 errors in the match.
Dominican Republic finished with the silver medal for the second straight edition after falling to the United States in the 2011 gold-medal match. Dominican Republic was aiming for its second tournament title, winning the event for the first time in 2009 after taking bronze five of the previous six events.
Earlier in the day Puerto Rico claimed the bronze medal by defeating Canada 25-23, 25-16, 25-16.
“(In the fourth set) we were struggling a little and needed a little bit of energy. We brought Christa Harmotto in off the bench,” U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “The first thing she did is get us a put-away and then she had a huge block and all of a sudden we were back in it. We were going after points again instead of waiting for those points to happen on their own. Kristin Hildebrand had a great serving streak. She was applying lots of pressure at the service line just the way we want her to. Jordan took some huge swings down the stretch. I’m proud of this group. Every one of these athletes made a meaningful, significant and critical contribution this week.”
Bronze Medal: Puerto Rico 3, Canada 0
Puerto Rico captured the bronze medal of the 2013 Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship by defeating Canada 25-23, 25-16, 25-16.
Puerto Rico earned a podium spot for the second time in the 23rd edition of the biennial championship. Puerto Rico won the silver medal in 2009. Karina Ocasio, who entered the bronze-medal match with a tournament-leading 63 points, added to her point total with a match-high 19 points for Puerto Rico. Aurea Cruz chipped in 14 points in the victory. Canada was paced by Tabitha Love led Canada with 13 points and Dana Cranston added 10 points.
Offensively, Puerto Rico dominated Canada with a 44-27advantage in kills and benefited from 19 Canadian errors. Canada held a slim 10-9 margin in blocks and both teams had three aces.
“It’s been a rough year,” Ocasio said. “We’ve had a lot of players injured. So for us, this tournament, I think it was great to see what level we are right now. We’re happy with the bronze medal. We came here of course with the goal of winning the gold medal. But after we lost yesterday, we said we at least have to go home with a bronze medal.”
Fifth-Place Match: Mexico 3, Trinidad & Tobago 0
Mexico finished the 2013 Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship in fifth place after defeating Trinidad & Tobago 25-23, 25-19, 25-22. Lizbeth Sainz led Mexico with 15 points and Andrea Rangel added 14 points. Trinidad & Tobago was led by Darlene Ramdin’s 14 points, while Krystle Esdelle added nine points. Mexico held a 41-32 advantage in kills and a slim 6-5 margin in aces. Trinidad & Tobago held a 10-6 edge in blocks.