U.S. Girls' Youth Team Loses to Belgium

July 04, 2009, 9:25 a.m. (ET)

Maura Gladys
Intern, Media Relations and Publications
Phone: (719) 228-6886
E-Mail: maura.gladys@usav.org

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 4, 2009) -The U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team lost for the second time in as many days, as they fell to Belgium 3-1 (20-25, 25-13, 32-30, 25-19) on July 3 at the 2009 FIVB Girls’ Youth World Championship in Nakhonratchasima, Thailand.

“I think we played much better than the previous match against Mexico,” U.S. Head Coach Jim Stone said. “I’m happy with my girls’ improved performance and we continue to improve as we play more matches.”

The United States trailed 1-5 at the immediate outset of the match, but battled back to tie it up at 8-8. They surged to a sizable lead and quelled a small comeback by Belgium to take the first set 25-10. Belgium bounced back in the second set, dominating 25-13. The U.S. trailed for most of the third set, but staged a powerful comeback at the end of the set to tie it 24-24. Momentum shifted back and forth as rapidly as the score and the U.S. pushed Belgium to 30-30. But Belgium prevailed, winning the set 32-30. The European champions never looked back, winning the fourth set 25-19.

Team USA was led by sisters Carly and Sam Wopat who combine for 38 of the team’s 87 points. Captain Carly Wopat (Goleta, Calif.) finished with 27 points, including 22 kills, four blocks and one ace. Sam Wopat (Goleta, Calif.) added 11 points including seven kills, one block and three aces. Hannah Allison (Siloam Springs, Ark.) contributed ten points, with six kills and four blocks. Katherine Bell (Mesquite, Tex.) added four kills, two blocks and one ace for seven points. Erica Denney (Centennial, Colo.) had five points including two kills and three blocks. Madelyn Hutson (Brentwood, Tenn.) added one kill and one block and Carly Thomas (Swansea, Ill.) had one kill. Libero, Jennifer Bonilla (Reseda, Calif.), finished with three digs and eight receptions.

Team USA out-blocked Belgium 15-5, but Belgium dominated every other statistical category, out-serving and out-hitting the U.S. 12-5 and 59-43 respectively.

Belgium was led by captain Lise Van Hecke, whose powerful spikes garnered 30 kills. She also had two blocks and one ace. Juliette Thevinin contributed with 12 kills and two blocks.

“Belgium are very strong. We played hard, but we found that they are just unbeatable,” U.S. captain, Carly Wopat said.

“It was a great game,” Belgium head coach Julien van de Vijver said. “We had to fight hard to get points in each set, but we played cool under pressure.”

Belgium, who upset Asian champion Japan yesterday, sits atop Pool D with a 2-0 record. Earlier in the day, Japan defeated Mexico 3-1, giving both teams a 1-1 record, and tying them for second place in the pool. Today’s loss puts Team USA at the bottom of the pool with one pool-play game left to play. They take on Japan tomorrow.