By TIM RATH.
The noise produced by a near-capacity crowd of Peruvians packing Eduardo Dibos Coliseum may have been heard all the way to the United States.
However, a raucous crowd was not enough to keep Peru’s national women volleyball team from falling to the U.S. Thursday in the second day of the 2009 Final Four Intercontinental Cup, 25-10, 20-25, 25-14, 25-20.
“The match was a lot about trying to manage the crowd,” said the U.S. coach, Hugh McCutcheon. “The fans are great, it’s such a great environment … so, it was a tough match for us and we’re happy to win.”
Captain Leyla Chihuan led Peru with 14 points in the loss, while Diana Soto chipped in 12 points. The Americans were led by Angie Pressey, who tallied 23 points via 15 kills on 32 attempts and a match-high eight blocks, as well as Cynthia Barboza, who added 13 kills on 25 attacks and two aces as part of a 15-point evening.
“We knew it was going to be a hostile environment,” Pressey said. “We did a good job managing the crowd and just working on our side, just trying to get better.”
Peru fell behind quickly, as the Americans took a 19-6 lead en route to a 15-point 25-10 victory. Peru responded in the second set with a 7-2 lead at the start, only to have the U.S. come back to tie the set at 15. However, behind a crowd that rose and fell with every volley, Peru scored six of the final eight points to take a 25-20 second set victory.
In the third set, the Americans pulled away. They bolted to a 5-0 lead early and used an 8-2 run to take a commanding 22-10 advantage as part of a 25-14 victory. The U.S. established an 18-13 lead in the fourth set, but withstood a Peru rally that closed it to within 19-18 before winning the set 25-20.
Despite the loss, Peru’s head coach, Choel-Yong Kim chose to see the sunny side of things.
“We have improved and I’m satisfied,” he said.
The 2009 Final Four Intercontinental Cup continues tonight from Eduardo Dibos Coliseum, as the U.S. takes on the Dominican Republic at 5 p.m. (PET) and Peru squares off against Brazil at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the gate and the games may be watched online at http://www.perunotas.com/2009/06/television-peruana-en-vivo.html.