Tough Start for U19 USVI Girls at 2023 Norceca Pan American Cup

USVI Head Coach Isaac Raphael instructs his team during a time out. (Submitted Photo)

The United States Virgin Islands National Youth Girls Volleyball Team opened the U19 Girls’ Norceca Pan American Cup with a straight-set loss to perineal powerhouse USA (25-6; 25-18; 25-12) on Tuesday afternoon in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico.

Despite the defeat, USVI captain Jala Dixon was pleased with her team’s performance. “We played a great game today; we went out fighting strong and I am so proud of my team,” Dixon said in a post-game interview.

USVI Coach Isaac Raphael echoed his captain’s sentiments during the same interview, “This is the first time ever being in a competition at this level with this age group and facing USA as a first match was a bit tough. We relaxed a little bit more in the second set and I am not disappointed. We know there’s a lot to work on. It’s a great experience for the girls.”

USVI Coaching Staff stands during the playing of the USVI National Anthem before their match. Closest, Isaac Raphael, Head Coach; Myriam Rodney, Assistant Coach; Nilsa Bough, Trainer; Vanessa James, Statistician. (Submitted Photo)

The USVI was led by their two outside hitters, Anna Gillens and Dixon, scoring 7 and 6 points, respectively.

Nikaya Sarauw, USVI, plays the ball in her opening match against USA. (Submitted Photo)

The USVI faced Mexico on the second day of the tournament. The Virgin Islands girls played better but it wasn’t enough, falling once again in three sets (25-15; 25-14; 25-17). The team was led by Anna Gillens’ game-high 15 points and captain Jala Dixon’s 9 points. Jahyra Thomas and Krystal Eddy also scored 4 and 2 points, respectively.

USVI Libero Jadyn Webb digs the ball in her match against USA with teammate Sapphire Cruz in the background. (Submitted Photo)

On Thursday at 2:00 pm, the USVI played its final pool play match against the other winless team in their group, Costa Rica. A win would have secured a third-place finish in Group A. They will then play the second-place team from Group B on Friday at 8:00 pm. A loss will leave the USVI in fourth place in Group A. They will rest on Friday before playing their next match on Saturday at 4:00 pm.