USA Women Sweep Canada, Qualify for World Cup

Sept. 21, 2003

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - The USA women's national volleyballteam took the first step toward qualifying for the 2004 Summer OlympicGames by qualifying for the 2003 World Cup Thursday night.

Logan Tom scored a match-high 17 points to lead the United States to a 3-0 win over Canada in the NORCECA Zone Championship semifinals at thePabellon de Voleibol at Olympic Park.

With the 25-16, 25-19, 25-16 victory, the Americans remained undefeatedin the tournament (3-0) and clinched a spot in the NORCECA championshipmatch, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19 against Cuba, a 3-2 winner overthe Dominican Republic in another semifinal.

As the top two NORCECA finishers, the USA and Cuba automatically qualifyfor the first Olympic qualifier, the World Cup, scheduled for Nov. 1-15in Japan. The top three finishers at the World Cup, a 12-team, round-robin tournament, earn an automatic bid to the 2004 Olympics in Athens,Greece.

'Tonight's game was our first step to qualifying for the Olympics,' saidsetter Lindsey Berg (Honolulu, Hawaii), who posted six assists, threedigs and two aces off the bench. 'We went into the game with specificgoals and executed well. Now we continue on and look toward the nextstep to qualify for the Olympics.'

Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) had 13 kills, two blocks and two serviceaces and posted a hitting percentage of .545 (13 kills, one error, 22attempts). Keba Phipps (Las Vegas, Nev.) added 14 points on nine kills,three blocks and two aces and hit .600 for the match.

As a team, the United States registered a hitting percentage of .458 andhad nine blocks and seven service aces. Canada hit .154 and had threeaces and zero blocks.

'It is great to know that we are on our way to the World Cup,' saidlibero Stacy Sykora (Burleson, Texas), who had 15 digs. 'Lindseybrought us energy and played great. Our first goal is accomplished.Now we have to qualify for the Olympics.'

Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) scored 10 points on nine kills and one acewhile Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) added nine points on eightkills and one block in the win for the Team USA, which won its fifth-straight match overall to improve to 19-9 on the year.

Barb Bellini scored 12 points on 11 kills and one ace while Sarah Pavanadded nine points on eight kills and one ace for Canada, which willbattle the Dominican Republic for third place tomorrow night.

The championship match between the United States and Cuba is a rematchof the Pool B finale Tuesday night, won by the Americans, 3-2, and ofthe 2001 NORCECA championship, won by Team USA, 3-1.

The two teams are no strangers to NORCECA success: Since the firstwomen's NORCECA Championship in 1969 (the tournament is held every otheryear in odd-numbered years), Cuba has won the tournament 12 out of 17times. The United States has won three championships (1981, 1983 and2001) and has finished second to Cuba nine times. Mexico won the firsttwo NORCECA crowns in 1969 and 1971.

'It will be very competitive,' said Team USA captain Danielle Scott(Baton Rouge, La.) in describing Friday's match between the UnitedStates and Cuba. 'There are three very strong teams here (Cuba,Dominican Republic and USA), and I anticipate a tough battle for thegold medal. On the other hand, I feel very happy that we have qualifiedfor the World Cup and we hope to be a good representative of the NORCECAregion.'

courtesy of USA Volleyball

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