The U.S. Women’s U21 National Team – with Nebraska middle blocker Bekka Allick and libero Lexi Rodriguez – defeated Argentina 3-1 (25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 25-14) late Sunday night to win the Pan American Cup at La Paz Arena in Baja California Sur.
It is the second time the U.S. has won the title. The last time was in 2017. Both the U.S. Women (5-0) and Argentina (4-2) qualified for the 2023 FIVB U21 World Championship.
Allick added 14 points on 12 kills and two blocks. Rodriguez, the libero and team captain, was credited with 24 digs and 12 excellent receptions.
“Going into the third set after losing the second, our minds were set on working hard, focus on the controllable and loving hard on each other because we are all such competitive, independent strong women that uplift one another,” Allick said after the match. “When I’m given the opportunity, I always take advantage, everyone gets their moments, I’m on a great team.”
Overall, the U.S. women led Argentina in kills, 53-42. Argentina led in aces 6-4 and blocks 12-9. The U.S. scored 30 points on Argentina’s errors and committed 21 errors.
The U.S. won the first set without much trouble. Argentina turned up the pressure with its serving and blocking in the second set and the U.S. struggled to respond.
Argentina rode the momentum into the third set where it opened a 5-0 lead. Argentina still led at 16-13 when the U.S. scored three straight points behind the serves of middle blocker Bre Kelley to tie the score at 16-16. Trailing 18-19, the U.S. used another serving run by Chicoine to lead 21-19 and it did not trail again in the set.
The U.S. held an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout of set 4 and did not relinquish it.