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U.S. Women Block Japan at FIVB World Grand Prix

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 17, 2013, 3:15 a.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball Senior Manager of Communications, Phone: 719-228-6800, Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org
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SENDAI, Japan (Aug. 17, 2013) – The top-ranked U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team used a 20-6 block advantage and Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) scored 21 points to defeat Japan 25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18 Saturday afternoon during the FIVB World Grand Prix Pool M, the third and final preliminary weekend for the event, in Sendai, Japan.

Team USA, which entered the day in fourth place, improves to 7-1 overall with 20 points to remain in the hunt for one of five spots available to join host Japan in the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round being staged Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 in Sapporo, Japan. Japan, ranked No. 3 in the world, is now 6-2 with 17 points. The U.S. is the three-time defending World Grand Prix champions and is aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive title in the premier annual international volleyball tournament for women.

The Americans conclude the preliminary round on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. on Aug. 17) versus Bulgaria, which is 5-2 overall with 16 points heading into its Saturday match versus Czech Republic. In other key matches on Saturday, first-place China (7-0, 20 points) plays Poland, Serbia (6-1, 19 points) faces Argentina (2-5, 4 points), Italy (6-1, 18 points) takes on Dominican Republic (4-3, 12 points) and Brazil (6-1, 17 points) plays Netherlands (3-4, 9 points). A loss by any of the frontrunners will allow Bulgaria, Turkey (5-2, 15 points) and Russia (5-2, 14 points) a shot to move into the Final Round. Turkey takes on Algeria (0-7, 0 points) and Russia Puerto Rico (0-7, 0 points).

The Americans conclude the preliminary round on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. on Aug. 17) versus Bulgaria, which is 5-2 overall with 16 points heading into its Saturday match versus Czech Republic.

The U.S. jumped to a 9-3 lead in the opening set, but Japan rallied to tie the score at 11-all. However, the U.S. gained momentum again with a 3-0 run and cruised to a 25-17 victory. After the U.S. bolted to a 6-1 lead in the second set, Japan charged back to within one at 7-6. The Americans upped the set again at 11-6 with four unanswered points and stretch the gap to 20-12 before closing at 25-19. The third set was close most of the way until Japan collected four straight points to take a 22-19 advantage en route to a 25-21 victory. Team USA took a 7-1 advantage in the fourth set and withstood every Japan charge to win 25-18.

The U.S. is now 4-0 versus Japan in 2013 as the Americans won all three matches in Southern California as part of the USA Volleyball Cup. The two teams have met 225 times since 1983 with Japan holding a slim 113-102 series advantage.

Hildebrand reached her match-high 21 points with 16 kills on 37 attacks, four blocks and one ace. Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) totaled 14 kills on 32 swings, one block and one ace for 16 points. Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.) contributed a match-high seven blocks, one more than Japan had as a team, to go with four kills on 12 attacks for 11 points. Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) tacked on nine kills on 28 swings, one block and one ace for 11 points.

Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) chalked up seven kills on 15 errorless attacks and two blocks for nine points, while Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) added four blocks and one kill for five points as a reserve in all three sets. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) collected two kills, one block and one ace for four points, while Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) rounded out the scoring with an ace.

The U.S. converted 39.3 percent of its attacks with a .267 hitting efficiency (53-17-135) as Glass provided 18 running sets on 78 attempts and Hagglund added six running sets on 30 attempts. Tama Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) was credited with a team-high seven digs and added seven excellent receptions on 14 errorless chances. Hill turned in a team-high 11 excellent service receptions.

U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly started Hildebrand and Hill at outside hitter, Gibbemeyer and Harmotto at middle blocker, Murphy at opposite and Glass at setter. Miyashiro was the libero for the match. Fawcett and Hagglund were subs in all four sets, while Regan Hood (Dallas) was a sub in the first set. Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) came in to serve in the third set.

Team USA held a 53-43 advantage in kills to go with its 20-6 differential in blocks. Both teams served five aces in the victory. Japan, which had a 20-15 margin in digs, took advantage of 25 American errors and limited its miscues to 18.

Japan’s Saori Kimura led her squad with 13 points, while Miyu Nagaoka came off the bench in the third set to score 12 points.

The U.S. has faced Bulgaria 11 times heading into the FIVB World Grand Prix final preliminary round match. Team USA, using its 2012 Olympic Games roster, defeated Bulgaria three times (3-2, 3-1 and 3-0) in a Challenge series in the Los Angeles area three weeks before the 2012 Olympic Games began. Overall, the Americans are 10-1 versus the Bulgarians, whose only win came in 1998.

Team USA took a 5-2 lead in the opening set with a 4-0 run including kills by Harmotto, Murphy and Hildeband and capped by a Gibbemeyer block. The Americans reached the first technical timeout leading 8-3 with a Murphy ace after a Hildebrand kill and Japan service error as part of a 7-1 run. Out of the break, Hildebrand pounded a kill to extend the gap to 9-3. Japan narrowed its deficit to 10-8 with a 5-1 scoring run. Japan squared the set at 11-all with a 3-0 run. The U.S. answered with a Harmotto kill and block around a Glass ace for a 14-11 advantage. Team USA increased its margin to four with a Hildebrand kill and Fawcett block leading to a Japan timeout trailing 18-14. Out of the break Hagglund served an ace to inch the margin to 19-14.

The Americans maintained momentum in the second set with a 3-0 start with a Harmotto block and Hildebrand kill around a Japan error. Team USA extended its lead to 5-1 with a Murphy kill and Hildebrand block. Japan charged back to within one at 7-6 with a 5-1 scoring run. The U.S. built a five-point cushion at 11-6 using a 4-0 scoring run with a Hill kill, Japan error, Hildebrand ace and Gibbemeyer block. Team USA stretched its margin to 13-7 with a Murphy kill and Japan attack into the antenna. Japan erased three points off the deficit with three unanswered points at 13-10. The U.S. reached the second technical timeout leading 16-11 with a Hill kill and Murphy block. The U.S. kept pushing to 20-12 with kills by Harmotto and Murphy followed by a Hildebrand block and Japan error. Japan moved to within four at 20-16 after an ace of the net and block capped a 4-0 run. Hildebrand and Hill scored consecutive kills at 23-17 and the Americans sided out to a 25-19 victory.

Gibbemeyer broke an 11-all tie with consecutive kills to yield a 13-11 American lead, but Japan answered with two quick points to start a 4-1 run to take a 16-14 advantage into the second technical timeout. Team USA responded with a Gibbemeyer kill, Japan setting error and combined block from Fawcett and Harmotto out of the break to regain the lead back at 17-16. After Harmotto put up a couple blocks to trade side outs with Japan, the hosts went in front 22-19 with four straight points capped by an ace leading into a USA timeout. Japan ended the set with a 25-21 victory.

Team USA opened the fourth set with a 4-0 lead as Hildebrand pocketed a kill and block around a Harmotto block and Japan error. Hildebrand added a kill and block and Gibbemeyer hammered an overpass for a point to push the American lead to 7-1. Consecutive Japan errors gave the U.S. a 9-2 lead. Japan removed two points from the deficit at 10-5 and sided out until Hill put up a block and served an ace to present the Americans a 14-7 advantage. Japan climbed to within four again at 15-11 with three consecutive kills. The Americans gained a six-point edge at 19-13 with a Hill kill and Japan attack error. After Japan closed to 19-15 with back-to-back points, the U.S. picked up a Fawcett kill and two Japan attack errors to extend the advantage to 22-15. Murphy connected for consecutive kills to yield match points at 24-16. Hildebrand scored her 21st point of the match with a kill for the match winner at 25-18.

U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team World Grand Prix Preliminary Roster
# - Name (Position, Height, Spike Touch, Block Touch, Hometown, College)
1 - #^$ Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, 10-0, 9-10, Leland, Mich., Penn State University)
2 - Danielle Scott (MB, 6-2, 10-8, 9-11, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State University)
3 - ^ Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, 9-0, 8-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 - Sonja Newcombe (OH, 6-1, 10-0, 9-10, Lake Arrowhead, Calif., University of Oregon)
5 - #^$ Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, 9-4, 8-9, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, 9-4, 8-9, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 - #^$ Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, 9-10, 9-2, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
8 - #^$ Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, 10-1, 9-7, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
9 - Alix Klineman (OH, 6-5, 10-7, 9-8, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
10 - #^$ Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, 9-10, 9-4, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
11 - Alaina Bergsma (OPP, 6-3, 10-4, 9-10, Chandler, Ariz., University of Oregon)
12 - #^$ Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, 9-8, 9-3, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
13 - #^$ Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, 10-7, 9-10, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State University)
14 - #$ Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, 10-2, 9-7, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State University)
15 - #^$ Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, 10-4, 10-1, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida)
16 - #^$ Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, 10-6, 10-2, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
17 - #^$ Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, 10-5, 9-10, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
18 - #^$ Regan Hood (OH, 6-2, 10-3, 10-0, Dallas, Texas, LSU)
19 - ^ Juliann Faucette (OPP, 6-2, 10-6. 10-1, San Diego, Calif., University of Texas)
20 - #$ Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, 9-7, 9-6, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)
21 - Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, 10-6, 10-2, Los Angeles, Calif., University of Arizona)
22 - #^$ Rachael Adams (MB, 6-2, 10-5, 10-1, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)
# - Selected for Week 1 Roster
^ - Selected for Week 2 Roster
$ - Selected for Week 3 Roster

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Reed Sunahara, Tom Black (Weeks 1/2), Cecile Reynaud (Week 3, Final Round)
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek Team Leader: Cecile Reynaud (Weeks 1/2), Kenny Sullivan (Week 3, Final Round)

2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Schedule (all match times local)

Pool A – Campinas, Brazil
Aug. 2: United States def. Russia 25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 25-12
Aug. 2: Brazil def. Poland 21-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-20
Aug. 3: Brazil def. Russia 26-28, 26-24, 25-19, 22-25, 15-8
Aug. 3: United States def. Poland 25-22, 25-23, 25-16
Aug. 4: Brazil def. United States 17-25, 25-23, 25-18, 25-20
Aug. 4: Russia def. Poland 25-21, 22-25, 29-27, 28-30, 15-13

Pool B – San Domingo, Dominican Republic
Aug. 2: Czech Republic vs. Puerto Rico 25-14, 25-20, 25-18
Aug. 2: Serbia def. Dominican Republic 25-13, 25-20, 25-16
Aug. 3: Serbia def. Czech Republic 28-26, 25-18, 25-23
Aug. 3: Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico 25-14, 26-24, 25-21
Aug. 4: Serbia def. Puerto Rico 25-22, 22-25, 25-17, 25-17
Aug. 4: Dominican Republic def. Czech Republic 25-22, 25-20, 23-25, 25-18

Pool C – Ankara, Turkey
Aug. 2: Turkey def. Algeria 25-13, 25-18, 25-15
Aug. 2: Japan def. Thailand 25-19, 25-17, 25-21
Aug. 3: Japan def. Algeria 25-10, 25-8, 25-8
Aug. 3: Turkey def. Thailand 25-23, 26-24, 25-22
Aug. 4: Thailand def. Algeria 25-7, 25-14, 25-13
Aug. 4: Japan def. Turkey 25-21, 30-28, 18-25, 25-18

Pool D – Macau, China
Aug. 2: Netherlands def. Cuba 25-20, 25-14, 25-11
Aug. 2: China def. Bulgaria 25-13, 26-24, 25-23
Aug. 3: Bulgaria def. Netherlands 20-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-23
Aug. 3: China def. Cuba 25-13, 25-20, 25-15
Aug. 4: Bulgaria def. Cuba 25-8, 25-15, 25-16
Aug. 4: China def. Netherlands 26-24, 19-25, 25-17, 25-17

Pool E – Montichiari, Italy
Aug. 2: Germany def. Kazakhstan 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17
Aug. 2: Italy def. Argentina 25-21, 25-20, 25-17
Aug. 3: Argentina def. Germany 25-23, 13-25, 18-25, 25-21, 15-12
Aug. 3: Italy def. Kazakhstan, 28-26, 25-17, 25-13
Aug. 4: Argentina def. Kazakhstan 15-25, 25-15, 23-25, 25-20, 15-9
Aug. 4: Italy def. Germany 25-23, 25-20, 24-26, 25-20

Pool F – Belgrade, Serbia
Aug. 9: Serbia def. Netherlands 25-18, 25-16, 25-21
Aug. 9: United States def. Algeria 25-12, 25-15, 25-11
Aug. 10: Serbia def. Algeria 25-11, 25-12, 25-11
Aug. 10: United States def. Netherlands 25-20, 25-16, 25-12
Aug. 11: Netherlands def. Algeria 25-15, 25-7, 25-6
Aug. 11: United States def. Serbia 25-14, 22-25, 25-17, 23-25, 15-12

Pool G – Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Aug. 9: Brazil def. Dominican Republic 20-25, 25-22, 25-12, 25-18
Aug. 9: Bulgaria def. Puerto Rico 25-21, 25-20, 25-10
Aug. 10: Bulgaria def. Brazil 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 25-21
Aug. 10: Dominican Republic def. Puerto Rico 25-22, 25-23, 25-20
Aug. 11: Dominican Republic def. Bulgaria 25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 28-30, 16-14
Aug. 11: Brazil def. Puerto Rico 25-14, 25-15, 25-17

Pool H – Plock, Poland
Aug. 9: Japan def. Germany 18-25, 20-25, 25-20, 25-22, 15-12
Aug. 9: Poland def. Kazakhstan 25-17, 25-17, 25-11
Aug. 10: Japan def. Kazakhstan 23-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-20
Aug. 10: Germany def. Poland 25-17, 25-17, 26-24
Aug. 11: Germany def. Kazakhstan 25-14, 25-11, 20-25, 25-19
Aug. 11: Japan def. Poland 25-19, 26-24, 25-15

Pool I – Hong Kong, China
Aug. 9: Turkey def. Argentina 25-17, 25-14, 34-36, 25-18
Aug. 9: China def. Czech Republic 25-14, 25-17, 25-13
Aug. 10: Turkey def. Czech Republic 25-23, 25-18, 25-15
Aug. 10: China def. Argentina 25-17, 26-24, 25-22
Aug. 11: Czech Republic def. Argentina 25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 25-20
Aug. 11: China def. Turkey 19-25, 25-17, 25-20, 15-25, 15-10

Pool J – Ekaterinburg, Russia
Aug. 9: Russia def. Italy 25-13, 18-25, 25-18, 26-24
Aug. 9: Thailand def. Cuba 25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 25-19
Aug. 10: Russia def. Thailand 25-20, 25-23, 25-22
Aug. 10: Italy def. Cuba 25-16, 25-16, 25-20
Aug. 11: Russia def. Cuba 25-17, 25-14, 16-25, 25-17
Aug. 11: Italy def. Thailand 25-18, 25-14, 29-27

Pool K – Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aug. 16: Brazil def. Cuba 25-16, 25-11, 25-20
Aug. 16: Netherlands def. Kazakhstan 25-23, 25-14, 25-16
Aug. 17: Brazil vs. Netherlands, 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: Kazakhstan vs. Cuba, 6 p.m.
Aug. 18: Cuba vs. Netherlands, 3 p.m.
Aug. 18: Kazakhstan vs. Brazil, 6 p.m.

Pool L – Bangkok, Thailand
Aug. 16: Thailand def. Puerto Rico 18-25, 25-7, 25-22, 25-11
Aug. 16: Russia def. Germany 22-25, 17-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-11
Aug. 17: Russia vs. Puerto Rico, 2 p.m.
Aug. 17: Thailand vs. Germany, 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Puerto Rico vs. Germany, 2 p.m.
Aug. 18: Russia vs. Thailand, 4:30 p.m.

Pool M – Sendai, Japan
Aug. 16: United States def. Czech Republic 25-20, 25-20, 25-23
Aug. 16: Bulgaria def. Japan 25-23, 25-23, 31-29
Aug. 17: United States def. Japan 25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18
Aug. 17: Czech Republic vs. Bulgaria, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Japan vs. Czech Republic, 12:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: United States vs. Bulgaria, 3:30 p.m.

Pool N – Wuhan, China
Aug. 16: Serbia def. Poland 25-14, 25-20, 22-25, 25-21
Aug. 16: China def. Argentina 25-18, 25-17, 25-16
Aug. 17: Argentina vs. Serbia, 4 p.m.
Aug. 17: China vs. Poland, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Poland vs. Argentina, 4 p.m.
Aug. 18: China vs. Serbia, 7:30 p.m.

Pool O – Kaohsiung City, Chinese Taipei
Aug. 16: Italy def. Algeria 25-13, 25-19, 25-10
Aug. 16: Turkey def. Dominican Republic 25-27, 22-25, 25-22, 26-24, 15-13
Aug. 17: Algeria vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Dominican Republic vs. Algeria, 3 p.m.
Aug. 18: Italy vs. Turkey, 5:30 p.m.

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