Aug. 28, 1997
Jaimie Lee Posts Team-High 18 Kills as U.S. Downs Canada, 3-2
CATANIA, Sicily - Notre Dame senior and United States team captain Jaimie Lee (Spokane, Wash.) had a team-leading 18 kills as the U.S. volleyball team held on for a 15-7, 15-10, 7-15, 3-15, 15-10 victory over Canada in Wednesday's semifinal round of the World University Games.
The victory propels the U.S. into a gold-medal match against Russia, which defeated Japan 16-14 in the fifth game of Wednesday's other semifinal (with the final point coming on a missed serve in the rally-scoring format). Russia handed the U.S. (4-1) its only loss of the week-long tournament in a closely contested 15-11, 15-12, 15-12 match during pool play.
Lee totaled her 18 kills on a .260 hitting percentage while adding eight digs and an ace. Another of the team's outside hitters, UCLA senior Kara Milling, added 13 kills on .400 hitting, plus 15 dig and two service aces. University of Texas junior hitter Demetria Sance suffered an off hitting night (nine kills) but provided a key serving stretch in the decisive fifth game, when she served five straight points to push the U.S. score from seven to 12 (full statistics were not available as of Wednesday night). Sance also led the U.S. with 18 digs.
The U.S. jumped out to a 2-0 lead in Wednesday's semifinal before a breakdown in the U.S. serving and passing, coupled with a tough serving stretch from Canada, quickly forced the match to a fifth game. Canada's six-player starting lineup included four starters from the team that lost 3-1 to the U.S. in the recent Canada Cup, with the two added middle blockers providing a boost to Canada's starting lineup in Wednesday's match.
Lee--who spent the past summer training with the national program at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.--will miss Notre Dame's season opener on Friday against Louisville (7:30) in first day action of the Shamrock Invitational. The tournament continues at the Notre Dame Joyce Center with four matches on Saturday, with the Irish set to face Oral Roberts at 1:00 PM and Wisconsin at 7:30 PM. Lee is set to return with the U.S. contingent on Saturday, with a 4:30 PM arrival in Chicago that conceivably could allow her to attend the Wisconsin match.
USA HEAD COACH BRIAN HOSFELD: "We knew that this would be a tough match from the other times we've played Canada, so we knew anything could happen. It's good that we got a chance to get our feet wet in a game five situation because that will help this team. We had great execution and trust in our ability."
JAIMIE LEE: "I actually was happy, in a way, that the match went five games, because I wasn't sure how our team would respond to that type of challenge. We did a great job of siding out in the fifth game and that, along with Demetria's serving, was the difference. I also think that our team was in much better shape than Canada and that was a factor in such a long match. ... Our team is very excited to play Russia again. We know their tendencies a lot more than when we played them last time and we will have a lot more confidence this time around. ... The past few months have been a great experience for me and I am going to miss my U.S. teammates a lot. But I'm also very anxious to get back to Notre Dame and very excited for the upcoming season. It's tough not being there for the season opener but I'm glad to have had this opportunity."