Liz McMahon Lifts USA to Thrilling Win over Puerto Rico

NORCECA Pan-American Cup 2017

  • June 15-26, 2017
  • Canete, Peru
  • Schedule/Results

Group A

Argentina 3, Columbia 0 (25-22, 26-24, 26-24)

Venezuela 3, Mexico 2 (25-22, 23-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-7)

United States 3, Puerto Rico 2 (25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 21-25, 15-12)

 

The United States and Argentina moved to 3-0 atop Group A on Sunday. Argentina survived a tough three-setter against Columbia, while the Americans outlasted Puerto Rico in a battle of the favorites.

Venezuela picked up its first win of the Pan American Cup, edging Mexico in five sets.

Team USA looks to stay perfect when it faces Mexico tonight, while Argentina takes on Puerto Rico.

 

Argentina 3, Columbia 0

Argentina made up for its 22 errors by outdoing Columbia in every other statistical category, racking up 44 kills, eight blocks and 10 aces. The Columbians managed 36 kills, six blocks and six aces, but committed just 15 miscues in the match.

“I am very happy with the victory since that is why we are here,” Argentinian captain Emilce Sosa said. “Today we had a battle but Argentina reacted on time and we made up for the difference they built at the early part of each set.”

Lucia Fresco paced a trio of Argentinian players with double-digit scoring. Fresco tallied 16 points, with 14 kills and two blocks. Paula Yamila Nizetich added 14 points, with 10 kills and four aces. Sosa

added 11 points, with 10 kills. Natalia Aispurua put up a match-high four blocks.

Dayana Segovia led all scorers with 17 points, including 15 kills. Maria Margarita Martinez added 12 points, with 11 kills.

“The close score tells us that every day we are growing a little,” Columbian coach Antonio Rizola said. “We still don’t know how to keep the concentration to close the sets but that’s normal among the young teams going through a process of changes. Today I am leaving happy with the growth of my team.”

 

Venezuela 3, Mexico 2

Four Mexican players tallied double-digit point totals, but it was not enough to overcome the team’s miscues.

In a back-and-forth match decided by just 11 points, the Mexicans committed 40 errors, while Venezuela had just 29. The rest of the stats were pretty even with Mexico boasting two more kills (52-50) and Venezuela winning the block (8-7), while both teams served up 10 aces.

“It was a well fought match and we thought was going to be easy,” Mexican captain Andrea Rangel said. “We lacked attitude entering the court and that gave life to the opponent. We arrived into the fifth set and then we started to commit more errors that we should not have to do. The experience of Venezuela was a difference but I feel we lacked heart on the court.”

Rangel managed a match-high 22 points to pace Mexico, including 20 kills. Patricia Valle (15), Jocelyn Urias (12) and Dulce Carranza (12) also racked up double-digit totals. Carranza and Urias added 10 kills apiece, while Valle chipped in eight putaways and racking up six blocks.

“What we needed was more game rhythm and I think tomorrow we will be better against Colombia,” Venezuelan captain Desiree Glod said. “It won’t be easy but we will battle until the last point. We are moving forward step by step and this victory is a confidence builder to keep battling.”

 

Venezuela was led by Maria Jose Perez’s 17 points, which included 15 kills and two aces. Shirley Florian added 12 points, with six kills, four blocks and two aces.

 

United States 3, Puerto Rico 2

Just one point divided the Americans and Puerto Ricans in the final score (109-108) of a battle the United States nearly let slip away.

Team USA won the first two sets 25-23, 25-23, only to see Puerto Rico charge back and level the match with wins of 25-23 and 25-21. In the end, it was the Americans that stayed perfect in the group with the 15-12 win in the tie break, but it took the team rallying from an 11-9 deficit. The United States scored six of the final seven points in the match to clinch the victory.

“The opponent played very well and it was a big challenge for us because we have a young group which is learning how to move forward in tough matches,” American coach Karch Kiraly said. “The most important lesson learned today is that we need to communicate more when we are in the court.”

Liz McMahon racked up 27 points, including 24 kills, to pace the Americans. Rhamat Alhassan added 14 points, including five blocks, while Michelle Bartsch-Hackley chipped in 13 points, with 12 kills. Setter Micha Hancock continued her serving success, managing four of the team’s six aces.

Daly Santana carried the Puerto Ricans with 26 points, including 23 kills and three blocks. Pilar Maria Victoria (19) and Ana Sofia Jusino (11) also added double-digit scoring efforts.

“Our game plan was until certain point an effective one,” Puerto Rican coach Javier Gaspar said. “But then we made some changes that worked well like the use of middle blocker Alba Hernandez and also our serves was more effective pressing their reception. At the end one mistake in the last few minutes was the key for them to carry with the win.”

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