Sports

American men and women continue winning at volleyball

 

Micha Hancock scored a tournament single-match record 11 aces to lead the U.S. women's national volleyball team to a 25-16, 25-10, 25-18 victory over Costa Rica on Wednesday during the fourth day of Pan American Cup pool play in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The U.S. improves to 4-0 in Pool B and concludes pool play on Thursday against Argentina (3-1). The winner of the group advances directly to the semifinals that are on Saturday.

Hancock now has 31 aces in 14 sets played in the first four matches of the Pan American Cup. Hancock had nine aces in a five-set win over Cuba on Wednesday, as well as eight aces in the opener against Peru and three against Trinidad & Tobago.

Everyone contributed during the match as all 11 non-liberos scored at least one point. Along with Hancock's match-high 11 aces, middle Kelsie Payne tallied five kills on six attacks, three aces and a block for nine points.

Outside hitter Madi Kingdon scored six kills on 15 attacks and an ace for seven points. Stanford grad Carly Wopat chipped in seven points with five kills on five errorless attacks, one block and one ace in starting the first two sets.

Outside hitters Megan Courtney, Taylor Simpson and Stanford grad Brittany Howard each scored three points in the victory. Opposite Alex Holston added three points, while opposite Nikki Taylor contributed two points off the bench. Setter Lauren Carlini tallied one kill as a sub in all three sets and middle Rhamat Alhassan rounded out the scoring with a block in starting the third set.

Libero Justine Wong-Orantes was credited with a team-best three digs and three excellent receptions. Kingdon totaled five excellent receptions on eight chances.

The U.S. converted .435 percent of its attacks into points with a .319 hitting efficiency (30-8-69) as Hancock had 10 running sets on 32 set attempts and Carlini added three running sets on 15 set attempts.

Team USA held a 17-1 advantage in aces and a 3-2 margin in blocks. The American offense produced a 30-18 margin in kills. The American defense limited Costa Rica to a .240 kill percent and .093 hitting efficiency (18-11-75).

Men' s volleyball

The U.S. men's junior national team opened the NORCECA Under-21 Continental Championship with a 25-15, 25-15, 25-16 victory over Barbados on Tuesday in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

The Americans conclude pool play on Thursday against St. Vincent. The event is a qualifier for the 2017 FIVB U21 World Championship in Brno, Czech Republic. Quarterfinals will be played Friday. The pool winners will go directly to the semifinals on Saturday.

The U.S. did not allow Barbados to reach double digits before the second technical timeout of each set.

"We had some good rotations and got several guys taking some good swings (on attacks)," U.S. captain and setter Josh Tuaniga said. "We've all put in a lot of work to get here and compete for a bid (to the 2017 FIVB world championship)."

Every player on the 12-man U.S. roster started at least one set. Outside hitters Austin Matautia and Reese Devilbiss each started the second and third sets and each led the scoring with eight points each and each finished with seven kills. Stanford sophomore Jordan Ewert contributed three points, all on kills.

Setter Joe Worsley, who started the second and third sets, led all players in blocks with three.

The U.S. scored 35 points on Barbados errors while committing 24. The U.S. hitting efficiency was .397 while Barbados' was negative.

— USA volleyball

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