Team USA Volleyball Roughs Up Costa Rica in Straight Sets

Costa Rica is known for its beautiful scenery, coffee beans, and -- now -- for not practicing enough volleyball. A sparse crowd at the BankUnited Center watched the second-ranked United States team dismantle Costa Rica Friday night in the 2009 Women's Volleyball Pan-American Cup in straight sets; 25-7, 25-6, and 25-16.

"Congratulations to USA," said the coach of the Costa Rican squad, Willis Lando, to reporters. "They had a great match. Costa Rica always has problems without practicing to come to tournaments like this."

Really? As the 30th ranked team in the world, practicing just a little would probably be a good idea to prepare for a team as dominant as the US. After all, the Americans were the only team in the field to take a set against Brazil in the Beijing Olympics.

But who are we kidding? The US only trailed once against Costa Rica, early in the third set. Had you left for popcorn and a soda, you would have missed it.

Jordan Larson led the US with 14 points and was a blur on the court. 6-foot-2 and sporting an intimidating black headband, the outside hitter made her international debut Friday with 12 kills and two aces. Nancy Metcalf and Kristin Richards added 11 and nine points respectively.

The United States should not be tested until they play number one ranked Brazil, but that can only happen much later in the playoffs. For now, the US will have to settle for another tune-up match against Guatemala today at 8 p.m. in the BankUnited Center.

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