The second-ranked United States women's national volleyball team downed Mexico, 25-9, 25-12, 25-11, Monday in the opening round of play of the NORCECA Women's Continental Championship at Ralston Arena in Omaha.
The Americans (1-0 in NORCECA play, 18-5 overall) will meet Cuba in its second match on Wednesday at 6 p.m. (PT). The Cubans were winless in the recently concluded FIVB World League Grand Prix.
"I thought we did a good job," USA team captain and Stanford grad Kristin Richards Hildebrand said. "We served really well, passed well and ran a fast offense. I thought a lot of people came off the bench and made great contributions."
Kelly Murphy charted a match-high 14 points to lead the United States. Local favorite Jordan Larson-Burbach tallied 11 points in the victory, while Christa Harmotto scored six blocks as part of 10 total points.
The United States out-blocked Mexico, 9-2, produced a 6-2 advantage in aces and recorded a 43-17 edge in kills.
"It's nice to be home. We've barely been home two weeks from World Grand Prix," U.S. coach Karch Kiraly said. "All 12 players we brought here made nice contributions against a feisty and spunky Mexican team. They pursued a lot of balls on defense that other teams might not have been able to get over the net."
Hildebrand only played the first set, recording three kills. Cardinal grad Cassidy Lichtman subbed into the second set and started the third set.
Cuba has won the event 13 times in its 22 previous editions. The U.S is the defending champion and has won it six times. The Americans have also finished second 11 times, losing to Cuba in the finals each time.
In related news, the United States will participate in the inaugural FIVB Women's U23 World Championship in Mexico that will take place in the cities of Tijuana and Mexicali beginning October 5.
Twelve countries are set to compete divided in two pools of six teams each with the sets of the matches to be contested to 21 points.
The Americans will play in Pool B and are joined by Turkey, Brazil, China, Cuba and Kenya.
Pool A consists of Mexico, Japan, Italy, Dominican Republic, Russia and Argentina.