The United States women's national volleyball team opened the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament with a 25-18, 25-18, 25-15 victory over Canada on Thursday evening at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Neb.
"I thought we kept our patience in the match," U.S. team captain Christa Dietzen said. "Was it our best match? No, but I think we have to find ways to win."
Nicole Fawcett scored a team match-high 14 points for the Americans, who are looking to nail down a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics this weekend. Karsta Lowe and Jordan Larson each added 10 points.
"We used a little different substitution patterns that many other international teams use," Team USA coach Karch Kiraly said. "We look for little fractions of points of advantage. So we will often use all six of our available subs."
USA faces Puerto Rico on Friday. The Dominican Republic beat Puerto Rico earlier in the day.
Lake Forest Academy senior Thomas Schaffer, a two-way lineman, gave his verbal commitment to Stanford on Wednesday.
Schaffer (6-7, 260) is expected to play on the offensive line for the Cardinal. He's ranked No. 44 at his position.
Aaliyah Sowards scored 22 points and had eight rebounds but Menlo College's rally from 16 points down fell short in a 72-69 loss to host No. 12 Vanguard in a Golden State Athletic Conference contest Thursday.
Emma Briggs added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Oaks (7-9, 0-3 GSAC), who play at Arizona Christian on Saturday. Vanessa D'Amico had 11 points.
The Lions went ahead, 49-33, early in the third quarter before Menlo began its comeback. The Oaks cut the lead to 58-48 heading into the fourth quarter.
Sowards scored Menlo's first five points of the final period and consecutive jumpers from Jacki Bateman and Fia Hoskinson drew Menlo within 60-57 with 6:53 left to play.
Vanguard regained a nine-point lead 1:27 later but the Oaks continued to rally, as D'Amico hit a jumper with 19 seconds remaining to draw Menlo within 70-69.
Vanguard hit a pair of free throws moments later but Menlo missed a pair of 3-point attempts the rest of the way.
Tyler Evans scored 15 points, Dylan Severson added 10 rebounds but Menlo College fell to host Vanguard, 69-46, in a Golden State Athletic Conference game Thursday night.
The Oaks (7-9, 1-2 GSAC) fell behind early and never could recover. They look to rebound Saturday at Arizona Christian.