Howard, Wopat volleyball teammates again for Team USA


Stanford grads Brittany Howard and Carly Wopat were named on Monday to the U.S. women's national volleyball team that will compete at the Pan American Cup, scheduled to take place July 2-10 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Howard and Wopat are joined by Lauren Carlini, Micha Hancock, Megan Courtney, Madi Kingdon, Taylor Simpson, Alex Holston, Nikki Taylor, Rhamat Alhassan, Kelsie Payne and Justine Wong-Orantes.

Carly Wopat
As this competition runs concurrently with the World Grand Prix, national team coach Karch Kiraly named University of Pittsburgh's Dan Fisher to lead the Pan American Cup squad. Fisher served in a similar role at the 2015 Pan American Games and led the U.S. to the gold medal, beating Brazil in the championship match.

In addition to Fisher, the Pan American Cup staff includes BYU coach Heather Olmstead, Arkansas associate coach Jon Newman-Gonchar and Arkansas State's assistant head coach Tristan Johnson.

"Training has been going great," Fisher said. "We have a lot of players who are new to the USA system, and so there has been a fast learning curve. We are going to get to learn a lot about some younger players for the future of USA volleyball with this tournament."

Fisher feels the team has strengths in its setting and ball control, but will continue to train this week before heading to Dominican Republic to establish who the go-to hitter will be out of system.

"I think we have a couple good options at setter. I think we will be fairly steady with ball control. We got to figure out who is going to the heavy lifting out of system. But I think we will be able to pass and set at a pretty decent level."

The U.S. squad is part of the six-team Pool B with Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Peru and Trinidad & Tobago. The Americans open pool play on July 2 against Peru, followed by Trinidad & Tobago on July 3, Cuba on July 4, Costa Rica on July 5 and Argentina on July 6.

Pool A includes Canada, Colombia, host Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

Quarterfinals are set for July 8 with crossover second- and third-place finishers facing off. The two pool winners advance directly to the semifinals on July 9 with the medal rounds set for July 10.

The U.S. has won the Pan American Cup three of the past four years and four total times since the inaugural event in 2002.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA volleyball

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