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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 19, 2007)
Thompson provided 29 assists, 11 digs, three aces and two blocks as Team USA defeated Peru 25-22, 25-22, 25-22 in the third-place match on July 19.
“I think as a team we improved a lot during the tournament,” Thompson said. “We got better every match. Today was pretty rough and it was not our prettiest match, but we hung in their and got a win.”
Thompson now has two international tournaments under her belt, but the amount of playing time was largely as a situation sub until earlier this week. She played in 15 sets during the Pan American Cup in June, but started just one set and normally entered as a double-sub late in sets.
At the start of the Pan American Games, Thompson did not play in the opening match against Costa Rica on June 14. Her playing time significantly increased the following day against Puerto Rico. Thompson subbed into a first set loss to Puerto Rico, then started the rest of the way as she rallied Team USA to a four-set win and did not relinquish the setter’s role.
“I was just excited to get a chance,” Thompson said. “That is what I have been waiting for, but you have to be patient in being the new one. I thought I would get an opportunity at some time. All I could do is prepare as best as I know how. I sure have enjoyed playing this week and I had a great team around me.”
Thompson finished the tournament with 81 assists, 35 digs, four aces, four blocks and one kill in 13 sets.
“Courtney has really worked on being able to control herself and make good decisions on the court,” said Sue Woodstra, who served as head coach at the Pan American Games. “She really evolved in that area even from the Cuba match to these last two matches (versus Brazil on July 18 and Peru on July 19). She did a very good job in this difficult environment to do that.”
Team USA advanced to the medal round by defeating Costa Rica 3-0 and Puerto Rico 3-1, before concluding Pool B action with a 3-0 loss to Cuba. The U.S. lost to Brazil 25-13, 25-20, 25-20 on July 18 in the semifinal round.
According to Woodstra, Thompson is still learning the international style of play. Yet, she remains very coachable and works at her craft.
“Courtney is a player whose inclination is to fight harder,” Woodstra said. “What she is learning here at this level is that everybody fight hards. You need to play smart and out-think what the opponent is doing and be ahead of them. I think she has is capable of trying anything we have asked of her, and that is something she has done well in the last two matches.”
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