NORCECA Women’s Pan American Cup
- July 8-14, 2018
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
The United States and Dominican Republic will battle for the Pan American Cup title for the second straight year after each won semifinal matches on Friday.
The Americans won gold in four sets in 2017 for their fifth Pan Am Cup title, which made the United States the winningest country in the 16-year history of the event. The DR won the Pan Am titles in 2014 and 2016.
The Dominican Republic swept Brazil to reach the final, while Team USA moved past Canada in four sets to move on.
Dominican Republic def. Brazil 3-0 (25-16, 25-12, 25-23)
Brayelin Martinez racked up 23 points, including 20 kills, nearly equaling the offensive output of her Brazilian foes in a semifinal sweep.
The Dominican Republic managed 44 kills, while holding Brazil to just 22 putaways. The DR also outdid Brazil in service aces (7-2). A 10-5 advantage in blocks kept the Brazilians in the match.
“I feel very happy with this win,” Martinez said. “I had the feeling that we were going to win 3-0. We followed the game plan designed by our coach and everything came out well. Now we have to prepare to play USA for the gold.”
In addition to Martinez, Yonkaira Pena Isabel (12) and Annerys Vargas Valdez (10) also posted double-digit scoring efforts, tallying 10 and nine kills respectively. Martinez put up a team-leading two blocks alongside Candida Arias Perez, while Gina Mambru served up three of the team’s seven aces and Pena Isabel added two.
Bruna Marques led the way for Brazil with 10 points (7 kills, 3 blocks). Thaisa Daher de Menezes (7) and Fernanda Tome (6) followed. Daher de Menezes served up the team’s two aces, while also putting up two blocks alongside Tome.
“The Dominican team served well and we didn´t play like Brazil volleyball only in the third set,” Brazilian captain Dani Lins said. “For the first two sets we played apathetic but the credit should go to the Dominican team.”
United States def. Canada 3-1 (25-18, 23-25, 25-23, 25-19)
The United States put up 21 blocks and thirty three errors plagued Canada in the other semifinal.
Canada outdid the Americans 45-39 in kills and aces (7-5), but gave back the extra points with 33 miscues (to USA’s 24). The United States won the match at the net with a 21-9 lead in blocks.
“We salute an amazing team of Canada,” American coach Jonathan Newman-Gonchar said. “We knew it was going to be a challenging match. We prepared for them but they still found solutions. We came here for a purpose and tomorrow we are going for it.”
Four players notched double-digit scoring efforts for the Americans with Sarah Wilhite, Adora Anae and Haleigh Washington turning in 13 points apiece, while Aiyana Abukusumo-Whitney chimed in with 10 points. Wilhite downed a team-best 13 kills, while Washington added nine putaways. On the block, it was Chiaka Ogbogu pacing the team with seven stuffs, followed by Anae’s four and three each by Washington and Abukusumo-Whitney and setter Lauren Carlini. Anae and Abukusumo-Whitney each served up two aces.
Kiera Van Ryk was the top scorer in the match, notching 18 points on 16 kills and two aces. Alexa Gray added 16 points (15 kills, 1 block) and Autumn Bailey chipped in 10 points (5 kills, 3 aces, 2 blocks).
“It is disappointing to lose,” Canadian captain Megan Cyr said. “They put a lot of pressure and aggressiveness. The United States sided out well and blocked a lot of balls.”