Dominican Republic, Americans Will Meet For History-Breaking Final

NORCECA PAN-AMERICAN CUP 2017

  • June 15-25, 2017
  • Lima, Peru
  • Stats through June 24th
  • Schedule/Results

The two most storied teams in tournament history have advanced to Sunday’s final at the 2017 Pan American Cup. In one semi, the United States has advanced to its 7th final in history, while the Dominican Republic will play in its 12th. The two teams are tied (with Cuba) with 4 titles in the history of the tournament, and that tie will be broken, one way or the other, on Sunday.

The United States beat the home team Peru, while the Dominican Republic knocked off Puerto Rico, with both matches coming in straight-set sweeps.

Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico 3-0 (25-18, 25-21, 25-19)

  • P2 Stats Report

The defending champions from the Dominican Republic have not dropped a set in the 2017 tournament, and continued that trend on Saturday with a sweep of Puerto Rico.

Bethania de la Cruz and Jineiry Martinez each had 12 points for the Dominican Republic, with De La Cruz making her mark offensively (12 kills) and Martinez dominating defensively (4 blocks).

“We are very happy with the victory,” de la Cruz said after the match. “Congratulations to Puerto Rico for the good job. In spite of being very young they have a lot of power and good ball handling. They put pressure on us and we had to adjust the blocking and strengthen our concentration to achieve the win.”

Courtesy: NORCECA

Puerto Rico could only muster 31 kills in 3 sets, and it took them 119 swings to get there (26% success rate). Santana Day led the team in all 3 scoring categories with 8 kills, 2 blocks, and 2 aces, and also had 11 excellent receptions in 17 attempts.

“My team is very young and tried to grow little by little,” said Puerto Rican captain Natalia Valentin. “For moments we were able to be at their level but at the end their blocking was superior and sealed us.”

Marcos Kwiek, the coach of the Dominican team, believes that the NORCECA region still needs to improve depth after his team rolled through the first 6 games of the tournament.

“Congratulations to the coach of Puerto Rico for the job he is doing with his team,” Kwiek said. “They are young but with many strengths and complicated us for moments. It is very important to elevate the quality of the teams within our zone to have better competitive level.”

USA def. Peru 3-0 (25-14, 25-17, 27-25)

The United States is not quite as perfect as the Dominican Republic (they needed 5 sets to beat Puerto Rico in pool play), but they did remain undefeated with a very young, inexperienced team on Saturday by sweeping the hosts Peru 3-0.

The Americans dominated the first set, but Peru improved in each frame of the match. Ultimately, the American serve-and-block game was what carried the day. The U.S. had 6 aces, while Peru had none; and the Americans had 14 blocks, to just 4 for Peru. 4 of those blocks came by National Team veretan Rhamat Alhassan, with Madison Kingdon chipping in another 3.

Elizabeth McMahon led the Americans with 13 kills in 27 attempts, part of a team-high 16-point performance.

Angela Leyva had 16 points for Peru – she’s been one of the most prolific scorers of the tournament, having gone over 20 in two matches this year.

“Today’s match has been very important because Peru demanded the best from us for moments and we could control the match,” said Team USA captain Micha Hancock after the match. She split time at setter with Lauren Carlini, an All-American who completed her collegiate career at Wisconsin last fall.

““From  watching the game Peru showed against Argentina we knew it was not going to be an easy rival and today’s game was going to be a tough one,” said USA coach Karch Kiraly. “We had a marvelous level of volleyball in our match today.”

“We knew the match was going to be difficult for the speed USA is showing but we were able to come back in the third set and even though we didn’t win we could show our game and came out with the heads up,” said Peruvian captain Mirtha Uribe. “We have to work harder and we are committed to keep improving and giving our best.”

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