USA Women Win Second-Straight NORCECA Championship

Sept. 22, 2003

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic - One night after achieving its topgoal at the NORCECA Zone Championships, the USA women's nationalvolleyball team crossed another one off its list.

Keba Phipps (Las Vegas, Nev.) scored a match-high 15 points to lead theUnited States to a 3-0 win over Cuba in the gold medal match Fridaynight at the Pabellon de Voleibol at Olympic Park.

The Americans finished the tournament with a perfect 4-0 record andsecured its second consecutive NORCECA championship with the win overthree-time defending Olympic gold medalists. Team USA also won thecrown in 2001. In fact, 20 years have passed since the only other timethe United States captured two straight NORCECA titles (1981 and 1983).

At this year's tournament, just like in 2001, the United States defeatedCuba twice: 3-2 in the Pool B finale on Sept. 16 and 3-0 Friday night.The top priority for Team USA, however, was clinching one of the twoavailable bids to the 2003 World Cup, the first Olympic qualifierscheduled for Nov. 1-15 in Japan. That mission was accomplished forboth teams (USA and Cuba) Thursday night when they posted wins in thesemifinals.

'We achieved the two goals we were aiming for,' said USA team captainDanielle Scott (Baton Rouge, La.), who scored 10 points. 'The first wasqualifying for the World Cup and the second was winning the gold medal.

'It wasn't easy because the Cubans presented a tough battle in the thirdset (Friday night), but we combined to get the victory. They playedwith a lot of desire and heart but we found a way to prevail.'

Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) added 12 points for Team USA as it wonits sixth match in a row overall to improve its season record to 20-9.The United States also captured a medal for the fourth straighttournament.

The team won the gold medal at the Pan American Cup in Mexico on July 5and then earned a bronze medal at the prestigious World Grand Prix onAug. 3. The USA women's training team won the bronze medal at the PanAmerican Games on Aug. 16 in the same arena the top USA women's nationalteam struck gold Friday night.

'This is basically the team that will represent the USA in the WorldCup,' explained Team USA head coach Toshi Yoshida. 'There are somethings we need to improve, but we played very consistent for the firsttwo sets (tonight) and somehow found a way to win the third one.'

The next big goal on Team USA's list is to earn a top-three finish atthe World Cup later this year. Doing so will clinch a berth to the 2004Summer Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

courtesy of USA Volleyball

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