USA Women Capture 2001 NORCECA Championship
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic -- For the first time in 18 years the
USA Women's National Volleyball Team claimed the gold medal at the
NORCECA Zone Championships Sunday evening. Team USA defeated the number
one team in the world for the second time in three days to claim the
title. The U.S. defeated Cuba in four sets (20-25, 25-22, 25-18, 27-25)
and clinched a bid in the prestigious six-team FIVB Grand Champions Cup
in Japan later this year.
USA outside hitter Tara Cross-Battle (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach
State) was named the tournament's most valuable player. She was excited
to break Cuba's long hold on the NORCECA Zone title.
"I am so happy for this team," said Cross-Battle. "We played so well
when it counted. Every player deserves this win. It feels real good to
know that we beat Cuba for the gold medal after nearly 20 years. It is
finally our turn to enjoy it."
Team USA won the tournament despite the absence of outside hitter Logan
Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah). Tom is a junior at Stanford University and
did not travel with the team.
USA libero Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas/Texas A&M) was awarded the
tournament's best receiver award. Sykora said it was exciting to see the
American Flag raised following the win.
"I think it is wonderful that Team USA can come together through
everything and win the gold tonight," said Sykora. "The National Anthem
was the greatest moment tonight and the most memorable. To be standing
on the first place stand for two tournaments in a row is amazing and I
hope we only proceed to get better."
USA opposite hitter Sarah Noriega (Ulysses, Kan./Loyola Marymount) turned
in a great performance in the finals. Noriega led all scorers with 21
points, including 15 kills and six blocks. Danielle Scott (Baton Rouge,
La./Long Beach State) finished with 14 kills and four blocks. Noriega
was named best blocker. USA setter Robyn Ah Mow (Honolulu, Hawaii/Univ.
of Hawaii) was the tournament's best setter. USA middle blocker Heather
Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif./Univ. of Hawaii) rounded out the U.S. award
winners collecting the best attacker award.
Team USA returns to Colorado Springs, Colo., to train for the Grand
Champions Cup, played November 13-18. Other teams competing at the Cup
include Japan, Russia, China, Brazil and Korea. The U.S. will be
attempting to win its second major world competition this year. They
captured the 2001 FIVB Grand Prix for the first time since 1995 earlier
SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC -- The USA Women's National
Volleyball Team moved one step closer to their first NORCECA Zone
Championship since 1983 with a four set victory over Mexico (25-18, 25-
18, 22-25, 25-23) here Saturday night. The United States will face Cuba
Sunday evening for the championship and the right to play in the 2001
FIVB Grand Champions Cup. Cuba had their hands full with host Dominican
Republic, being pushed to five sets (17-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 15-9)
before claiming victory.
The Sunday evening championship will mark the second match between the
two teams in three days. Team USA downed the Cubans in five sets (27-29,
28-26, 24-26, 25-19, 15-12) Friday night. Cuba is the top ranked team in
the world, while the U.S. women enter the match as the world's number
The USA Women's National Volleyball Team picked up another big victory
Friday night, downing Cuba in five sets (27-29, 28-26, 24-26, 25-19, 15-
12) at the 2001 NORCECA Zone Championships in Santo Domingo, Dominican
USA outside hitter Therese Crawford (Kalamazoo, Mich./Univ. of Hawaii)
dominated the match scoring 25 points in the victory. Crawford put down
24 kills in 41 attempts and added one service ace. Tara Cross-Battle
(Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach State Univ.) added 13 kills for the US.
Danielle Scott (Baton Rouge, La./Long Beach State Univ.) contributed
eight of the team's 11 blocks.
"It was a great win for the team," said Scott. "We started out slow and
did not make the plays during the long rallies. Once we steadied the
passing and ran down some balls, Robyn (Ah Mow) was able to run the
offense. Therese and Heather (Bown) played particularly well but
everyone contributed to the win. Sarah (Noriega) had some awesome ankle
breaking blocks, the ball hit the floor before the attacker."
The United States advances to the semi-finals on Saturday when they take
on Mexico. Cuba plays Dominican Republic in the second semi-final, with
the winners playing for a bid to the 2001 FIVB Grand Champions Cup on
USA Women’s Victors over El Salvador at NORCECA Championships
SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC– The USA Women’s Volleyball team dealt a crushing defeat to the El Salvador team, in their opening match on Wednesday evening (October 10) at the NORCECA Championships, with a straight set victory (25-6, 25-2 and 25-3).
“It was a good start for the tournament,” said Head Coach Toshiaki Yoshida. “All the players showed better skills than El Salvador.”
The team was obviously satisfied with the win. “This match gave us a chance to work out some kinks and anxiety before we face Cuba Friday night,” said Jenny Whitehead (Jenison, Mich. & University of Florida and Michigan State University). “Our hitters were able to get into a rhythm and everyone was able to adjust to the competition arena.”
Kelly Campbell (Newport Coast, Calif. & University of Colorado/Boulder) concurred and added, “The starters did a great job taking care of business. Their focus and good play gave each of us a chance to get on the court.”
Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif. & UC Santa Barbara) led the team with 15 points.
Team USA playing in Pool B will face Cuba on Friday (October 12) evening.
The original schedule called for four teams in each pool but Canada chose not to send a team, making that decision last weekend, citing safety concerns in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in the United States. Jamaica also did not field a team.
Winnipeg, MB - The Canadian Women's Volleyball Team has decided to withdraw from the 2001 NORCECA Championships taking place in the Dominican Republic, due to the emergence of the recent bombings over seas, and the question of safety.
The NORCECA Championships is the Zone Championships for the top eight North & Central American ranked teams. It would have been one of the best competitions of the year for Team Canada, as they would have been playing against some of the world's best including #1 ranked Cuba and #5 ranked USA.
Team Canada Head Coach Lorne Sawula had the following to say about the situation; "As you can understand we did not take this decision lightly. Canada has never missed an event before due to these circumstances, but it seems that the world situation has changed since the bombing in New York. There is now much more of a concern for safety in society, and the fear of what "may happen" or "could happen" is a strong deterrent for this particular moment. All we can do is give an educated guess on what will happen in the short while since the USA responded to the New York tragedy. As we would be traveling through the USA in this immediate time period, we felt it is best for the mental state of our team to remain in Canada. Our team has been training very hard for these Championships, and all the players and staff regret that we will not be able to take part."
The team will continue training in Winnipeg in the mean time, and then make a decision in the next couple weeks about their Japan tour scheduled to take place in late October early November.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – Friday, October 5, 2001 – The USA Women’s Volleyball Team leaves Sunday for the Dominican Republic, where from October 10 to the 14 they will face seven other teams from countries in North, Central and South America at the NORCECA Championships. The winner of this tournament will automatically qualify for the 2001 World Grand Championship Cup taking place in November in Japan.
Team USA will be minus one of their prominent players, Logan Tom, for this tournament. Tom, a sophomore at Stanford University, has chosen to remain in school and concentrate on her studies and play for the Cardinal’s volleyball team.
Women’s Head Coach Toshi Yoshida was realistic when asked to assess the team’s chances without Tom on the squad. “We have to field a different line-up than that at the 2001 FIVB Grand Prix last August. It makes a huge difference that Logan is not playing,” he said. He plans to fill in the gap with Therese Crawford and Nicole Branagh
“I’m making no excuses but Cuba and the Dominican Republic will be strong opponents,” he said. “We will have to play very well against them. They will not give us a point.”
“Cuba is our biggest obstacle this tournament. We have to focus on winning and beating Cuba and the Dominican Republic. We will try to do our best,” he added.
He said that the team’s strength lies in their blocking ability, “it has been a weapon for a long time.”
He cited Danielle Scott, a two-time Olympian, and Tara Cross-Battle, a three-time Olympian, as the standout players on the squad. “They are both experienced veterans, Scott was named Most Valuable Player (and best blocker) at the Grand Prix.”
Last year Cuba won the NORCECA Championships and the USA finished second.
Team USA cannot enter the 2001 World Grand Championship Cup via a wildcard as that went to Korea.
Team USA is in Pool 2 with Cuba, Costa Rica and a fourth team to be determined from either El Salvador or Jamaica. The Dominican Republic as host of the competition will be in Pool 1.
Play begins on Wednesday, October 10 with the semifinals scheduled for Saturday, October 13 and the finals on Sunday, October 14.
Assisting Yoshida will be Kevin Hambly and Cross-Battle. The team’s Technical Coordinator is Robyn Johnson. Team Manager Tom Pingel, Trainer Emery Hill and International Referee Mary Holly will accompany the squad.