The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked No. 1 in the world, will face perennial power Cuba and rising Mexico in the opening round of the nine-team Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship set for Sept. 16-21 at Ralston Arena.
Team USA, which holds a 16-1 record in 2013 after earning the 2012 Olympic Games silver medal, faces Mexico on Sept. 16 at 8 p.m. to open the tournament, and then rival Cuba on Sept. 18 at 8 p.m.
The tournament features three round-robin pools of three teams. Matches are set for 4, 6, 8 p.m. each day.
- Pool A: Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago
- Pool B: United States, Cuba and Mexico
- Pool C: Puerto Rico, Canada and St. Lucia
“Omaha will get to see all the other strong teams in our zone, and that is probably headed by Dominican Republic, who had a really strong finish in the London Olympics with a four-way tie for fifth place,” said U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly. “Dominican Republic is always a very dangerous opponent, as is Cuba, who has a great, great tradition of volleyball success including winning three Olympic gold medals in a row in the 1990s and 2000. Mexico is improving with their young outside hitter Samantha Bricio.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased online at www.homepridetix.com, via phone at 800-440-3741 or at the Ralston Arena box office. Single day tickets start at just $20 and include all three games for that day. Championship weekend packages also are available starting at just $50 and include all Friday and Saturday games.
“Nebraska is a great volleyball state and great volleyball community,” Kiraly added. “It is a fantastic place to host a tournament.”
Quarterfinal round matches are on Sept. 19, followed by semifinals on Sept. 20. The gold- and bronze-medal matches conclude the tournament on Sept. 21. The winner of the tournament earns a spot in the season-ending FIVB Grand Champions Cup this November in Japan.
Harold Cliff, president of the Omaha Sports Commission, said each day of competition offers fans high caliber volleyball action.
“Some of the best volleyball teams in the world are coming to the Ralston Arena for the Visit Omaha NORCECA Championship and fans are guaranteed great volleyball action every day,” Cliff said. “The United States pool includes Cuba and Mexico, and this pool plays the featured evening game the first three nights. We’ve made tickets very reasonable so fans can see a wide variety of international teams in competition each day. It’s the closest Omaha has ever come to showcasing an international Olympic event.”
The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team is currently in Sapporo, Japan, attempting to win its unprecedented fourth straight FIVB World Grand Prix – the premier annual women’s international volleyball tournament. The Americans, which finished the three weekend preliminary phase with an 8-1 record with it only loss at Brazil on Aug. 4, opens the six-team round-robin Final Round on Aug. 28 against the same Brazil team that also won the 2012 Olympic Games. The U.S. will also challenge Serbia on Aug. 29, China on Aug. 30, Italy on Aug. 31 and host Japan on Sept. 1. Team USA already holds road victories over Serbia and Japan in the preliminary round of this year’s event.
Meanwhile, NORCECA rival Dominican Republic finished the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix with a country-best 6-3 record and in 10th place. Cuba used a very young squad that improved with each match at the World Grand Prix, gaining valuable international experience in the first year of the Olympic quadrennial that will go far beyond its 0-9 record against the top teams in the world.
2013 Visit Omaha NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship Schedule
Dominican Republic vs. Costa Rica, 4 p.m. (Pool A)
Puerto Rico vs. St. Lucia, 6 p.m. (Pool C)
United States vs. Mexico, 8 p.m. (Pool B)
Costa Rica vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4 p.m. (Pool A)
Canada vs. St. Lucia, 6 p.m. (Pool C)
Mexico vs. Cuba, 8 p.m. (Pool B)
Dominican Republic vs. Trinidad & Tobago, 4 p.m. (Pool A)
Puerto Rico vs. Canada, 6 p.m. (Pool C)
United States vs. Cuba, 8 p.m. (Pool B)
9th-Place Classification Final, 4 p.m.
Quarterfinals, 6 p.m.
Quarterfinals, 8 p.m.
7th/8th-Place Classification Final, 4 p.m.
Semifinals, 6 p.m.
Semifinals, 8 p.m.
Fifth-Place Match, 4 p.m.
Bronze-Medal Match, 6 p.m.
Championship Finals, 8 p.m.