United States book ticket to Rio Olympic Games



LINCOLN, Nebraska, January 9, 2016 – The United States, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, seized its 2016 Olympic Games berth after defeating No. 7 Dominican Republic 25-19, 25-19, 25-18 Saturday evening to conclude the NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament in front of 10,213 fans at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.


The United States, which also clinched an Olympic Games spot on domestic soil back in 2000, finished the tournament 3-0, while Dominican Republic ended the competition at 2-1. The Dominican Republic will channel its focus on Olympic qualification with a last opportunity in May at the World Olympic Qualifier in Japan.


Foluke Akinradewo ignited the American offense with 12 points, while Nicole Fawcett added 10 points and Jordan Larson nine points. Brayelin Martinez led Dominican Republic with 15 points, while Prisilla Rivera and Gina Mambru added seven points.


The U.S. held a 45-37 advantage in kills and benefited from 26 Dominican Republic errors.


The U.S. has now won six of its last seven tournaments including the 2014 FIVB World Championship, 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix, Pan American Games, Pan American Cup and NORCECA Continental Championship. Team USA finished with the bronze at 2015 FIVB World Cup, its only tournament it failed to win. The Americans needed to finish first or second at the World Cup to earn an Olympic bid in the first qualifying tournament.


USA Head Coach Karch Kiraly: “What a fabulous atmosphere it was here, a huge crowd that was going crazy for USA. Three former Huskers playing big roles for USA. It is so nice to have a crowd. It is a huge advantage and we were fortunate to host this and book our ticket to Rio. We are really excited to do it in a venue like this and in a place that supports volleyball so fiercely.


“Teams in your zone you know best because you play them most. Dominican knows us well, we know them well. Same is true for Puerto Rico, Canada and Mexico. We did have a good game plan. We are very happy with the players playing a big role in bullding it and executing it and driving the bus.”


USA Outside Hitter Jordan Larson: “There is no words to describe it. It is unbelievable. I am happy that all the fans came out to support us. Obviously we have played Dominican Republic a lot. We know a lot of about. We had a good game plan going in and executed well.”


USA middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo: “It is fantastic. The fan support has been amazing from the get-go. Lincoln did a really good job. Usually we are overseas and we don’t have support. I am really happy we are step closer to winning Olympic gold.”


Dominican Republic Head Coach Marcos Kwiek: “It is impossible to play a team like USA without being a good serving team. We are a good team throughout, but we didn’t play cohesively. In Japan against a team of this caliber, we will have to do a better job at serving.”


Dominican Republic Captain Prisilla Rivera: “This is one of the worst games we’ve had. We need to do better at serving and with our offense. Today we didn’t play as we should have. We are going to work a lot on the things we didn’t do well today. It was the serving and the offense. We are usually a good team offensively and today we didn’t show up.”