USA Rallies Past Dominican Republic for Pan Am Cup Gold

  0 Wendy Mayer | July 15th, 2018 | Brazilian Volleyball, Canadian Volleyball, International Volleyball, News, NORCECA volleyball, South American Volleyball, U.S. Women's Volleyball

NORCECA Women’s Pan American Cup

The United States won its second straight Pan American Cup title, outdoing the Dominican Republic for the second year in a row, rallying for a five-set win.

Canada rounded out the podium with a sweep of Brazil on Saturday, picking up the country’s second Pan Am Cup medal in tournament history, following  a bronze in 2002.

United States def. Dominican Republic 3-2 (24-26, 21-25, 25-21, 25-19, 15-8)

After falling behind 2-0, the United States won three straight sets to claim a five-set win and the Pan American Cup gold medal on Saturday.

“It took us two sets to adjust our game,” American coach Jon Newman-Gonchar said. “Once we slowed down their two strong attackers, we applied U.S. pressure and finished the job. I am very proud of successfully defending the crown.”

Aiyana Abukusumo-Whitney posted a team-best 27 points (23 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces) to pace the American effort. Chiaka Ogbogu led the team with seven blocks to go with her 14 putaways. Sarah Wilhite (15) and Haleigh Washington (14) also notched double-digit scoring efforts. Wilhite downed 12 kills and added two blocks and an ace, while Washington accounted for eight kills, five stuffs and an ace.

Brayelin Martinez was the top scorer for the Dominicans with 21 points (19 kills, 2 blocks). Gaila Gonzalez Lopez added 12 kills and two blocks. Yonkaira Pena Isabel also turned in a double-digit scoring effort with nine putaways and a match-high four aces. Niverka Frica put up a team-best three blocks.

Team USA led the Dominican Republic in kills (65-51) and blocks (17-10), but trailed its foes in aces (10-4). The Americans committed 28 errors to just 24 for the Dominicans.

In Set 1, the Americans trailed 11-7 early, but grabbed a 19-18 edge before falling in extra points.

Team USA turned a 9-4 deficit into a 12-all tie, but again found themselves falling short in the end, 25-21 in Set 2.

The teams split the first 28 points of Set 3, before the Americans scored seven of the next nine points en route to a 25-21 win.

The United States used a 12-3 run to build a nine-point lead at 14-5 midway through Set 4 before sending the match to a decisive fifth set with a 25-19 victory.

Once in tiebreak, the USA jumped ahead 6-2 and held on for the 15-8 win and the event title.


Canada def. Brazil 3-0 (25-19 25-20, 25-21)

Ten aces, three from top scorer Kiera Van Ryk, helped lift Canada to a sweep of Brazil and the Pan Am Cup bronze medal.

“I am excited after this huge victory achieved with confidence and energy. It was a team effort and I think we can beat anyone in the world,” Canadian captain Megan Cyr said. “This victory is a confidence builder.”

Van Ryk scored a match-high 18 points, with 13 kills, three aces and two blocks. Alexa Gray followed with 12 points, all on kills, while Autumn Bailey added five kills and three aces. Jennifer Cross joined Van Ryk with two stuffs.

Bruna Marques was the top scorer for Brazil with 10 points on nine kills and an ace. Maira Cipriano Claro was next with six points on four putaways, a block and an ace. Five players added three points each to round out the scoring. Mara Ferreira Leao and Francynne Jacintho tallied two blocks apiece.

Canada outdid Brazil in kills (40-25), blocks (6-5) and aces (10-2) to overcome 28 errors. Brazil limited its errors to 19 in the match.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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