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U.S. Women Lose Heartbreaker to Italy

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 31, 2013, 4:34 a.m. (ET)

SAPPORO, Japan (Aug. 31, 2013) – The top-ranked U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team suffered a heart-breaking 19-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 16-14 loss to Italy Saturday afternoon on the fourth day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round being held in Sapporo, Japan.

Both teams were in search of their first victory in the 2013 Final Round. The U.S. is now 0-4 with one point, while Italy is now 1-3 with three points. Team USA concludes the World Grand Prix, the premier annual women’s international volleyball tournament, on Sunday against host Japan (1-3 before Saturday’s match with 3-0 China). All U.S. matches in the Final Round will be broadcast with same-day coverage on Universal Sports with live video streaming at universalsports.com. For the video schedule, click here.

Team USA recovered from an early 7-5 deficit in the first set with a 10-1 scoring run to take a 15-8 lead en route to a 25-19 victory. The Americans came back from a 19-15 deficit in the second set to level the score at 19-all, but Italy held off the charge in winning 25-22. Team USA built a 20-14 lead over Italy in the third set and held on for a 25-23 victory. Italy sent the match into a tiebreaker as it built a 19-12 lead in the fourth set and powered to a 25-18 victory. The U.S. led 14-10 in the deciding set and thought it had won the match with a point at 14-11, but the referee called a touch and Italy went on to save four match points and finished the set with a 16-14 victory.

“Today was a difficult loss,” U.S. captain Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) said. “In the fifth set, we thought we had the match at 15-11, but had a bad call from the referee. Our player didn’t touch the ball.”

“That was an extremely disappointing loss,” U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “Our team was in a great position to win and we thought we did win on the play the referee called the other way. Then we weren’t able to close the match out after working hard to put ourselves in that position. Congratulations to Italy for staying with it and coming back from a deficit at the end.”

Hildebrand led the U.S. with a team-high 18 points all on kills. Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) and Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) added 15 points each. Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) chipped in nine points with a team-high four blocks. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) and Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.) tallied five points each, while Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) and Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) produced four points each. Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) and Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) each served an ace.

Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) secured a team-high 10 digs go with 11 excellent receptions on 21 errorless chances. Hill added 19 excellent receptions on 57 errorless attempts and six digs. Glass turned in 38 running sets on 147 chances as Team USA converted 34.5 percent of its attacks with a .170 hitting efficiency (59-30-171).

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. Banwarth was the libero for the match.

Team USA held a 6-2 margin in aces as both teams produced 12 blocks. Italy managed a slim 62-59 advantage in kills and had five fewer team errors (32-27). Italy converted 38.3 percent of its attacks with a .253 hitting efficiency.

Italy’s Valentina Diouf totaled a match-high 31 points and Carolina Del Pilar Costagrande added 18 points in the victory.

Later today, Brazil (3-0, 9 points) takes on Serbia (2-1, 6 point) at 3:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 30) and Japan (1-2, 3 points) hosts China (3-0, 9 points) at 7:10 p.m. local time (3:10 a.m. PT).

Italy held a two-point cushion at 7-5 before Hill slammed a kill, Glass put up a block and Hildebrand pounded a back-row kill to give the Americans an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout. Out of the break, Harmotto hammered an overpass for a kill and Italy committed consecutive errors to yield an 11-7 Team USA lead. After Italy stopped the 6-0 run, Hill scored consecutive kills and Harmotto followed with a block and Murphy pocketed a kill to extend the American lead to 15-8. Hildebrand pocketed a cross-court winner after an Italian error to increase the American lead to 17-9. Italy put up consecutive blocks as part of a 4-0 run to close the deficit to 17-13. After Murphy hit a kill of the block, Lichtman subbed in to serve and ace and Italy called timeout after Gibbemeyer put the Americans up 20-13 with a block. Italy chipped two points off the deficit at 21-16. Team USA gained the two points back at 23-16. Italy saved two set points before Murphy ended the set with a cross-court winner at 25-19.

Italy scored the first two points of the second set and traded points until Hill knocked down consecutive kills to level the score at 6-all. However, Italy went into the first technical timeout leading 8-6 after a service ace. Out of the break Italy was called for a net violation, followed by a Harmotto overpass kill and Murphy slam to reverse the lead to the U.S. at 9-8. Italy answered with three unanswered points to push in front 12-10 at an American timeout. Out of the break Italy added three more points to extend its lead to 15-10. Out of the second technical timeout, Gibbemeyer put up a block and the Italian back-up setter committed a setting fault on her first chance after Signorile went down with an injury. Hagglund followed with an ace as part of a 3-0 run to close the gap to 16-14. Italy moved in front 19-15 with consecutive points, but Glass scored two blocks and her desperation dig save landed for a point as part of a 4-0 run that tied the score 19-all. Italy gained a two-point cushion at 22-20 with back-to-back points. Italy scored the final two points to win 25-22.

Paolini scored back-to-back kills to yield an American 6-4 advantage in the third set. The U.S. increased its lead to 9-6 with a Gibbemeyer kill and Italian error. Italy chipped two points off the deficit with back-to-back points at 11-10. Team USA rebuilt its three-point cushion at 14-11 with a Hildebrand kill and Italian attack error. Hill put up a block and Italy followed with consecutive attack errors to push the Americans in front 18-13. Hill pocketed a kill and ace on back-to-point points to raise the American lead to 20-14. Italy scored the next three points leading to a Team USA timeout with its lead trimmed to 20-17. Italy closed to 21-19 with back-to-back points leading into a U.S. timeout. Out of the break Italy closed to a single point at 21-20. The teams traded points the rest of the set as Murphy hit the winner at 25-23.

After Gibbemeyer gave the Americans a 3-2 lead in the fourth set with a kill and ace, Italy bounced back to take an 8-5 advantage into the first technical timeout. Italy scored a fourth straight point out of the break for a 9-5 lead. Hill downed a kill after an Italian error to close the American deficit to 9-7. Italy responded with consecutive points to regain a four-point cushion at 11-7. Italy reached the second technical timeout leading 16-11, then raised the advantage to 19-12 with three unanswered points. After an Italy service error, Gibbemeyer put up a block and Hill powered a kill to close the gap to 19-15. Italy scored the final three points for a 25-18 victory.

The U.S. scored the first two points of the fifth set with a Murphy kill and Italian error. Harmotto put up a power block and Hildebrand ended a long rally with several USA saves with a kill yielding a 4-1 American advantage. Italy committed a service and attack error on back-to-back plays to widen the American lead to 8-4 at the court switch. Consecutive U.S. errors cut its lead in half at 9-7. The U.S. expanded its lead to 12-8 with a Hildebrand kill and Murphy block going into Italy’s first timeout. Italy came out of the break with the next two points to close to 12-10. Hildebrand downed her 17 point with a kill and Murphy followed with an ace to give match points at 14-10. Italy saved all four set points and won the match 16-14 with six unanswered points.

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
* - Selected for Final Round 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 Final Round Schedule
Aug. 28: China def. Serbia 25-21, 22-25, 25-17, 25-20
Aug. 28: Brazil def. United States 25-19, 25-12, 25-10
Aug. 28: Japan def. Italy 25-18, 25-19, 25-22
Aug. 29: Serbia def. United States 25-23, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23
Aug. 29: China def. Italy 28-30, 25-22, 26-28, 25-13, 15-10
Aug. 29: Brazil def. Japan 25-21, 25-22, 25-17
Aug. 30: China def. United States 25-20, 25-23, 25-17
Aug. 30: Brazil def. Italy 25-16, 26-24, 25-11
Aug. 30: Serbia def. Japan 25-22, 25-17, 25-19
Aug. 31: Italy def. United States 19-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-18, 16-14
Aug. 31: Brazil vs. Serbia, 3:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 30)
Aug. 31: Japan vs. China, 7:10 p.m. local time (3:10 a.m. PT)
Sept. 1: Serbia vs. Italy, 1:30 p.m. local time (9:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 31)
Sept. 1: China vs. Brazil, 3:30 p.m. local time (11:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 31)
Sept. 1: United States vs. Japan, 7:10 p.m. local time (3:10 a.m. PT)

2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminary Round Results

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 def. Netherlands 25-15, 25-20, 25-15
Aug. 17: Kazakhstan def. Cuba 25-20, 17-25, 30-28, 25-20
Aug. 18: Netherlands def. Cuba 25-13, 25-23, 25-22
Aug. 18: Brazil def. Kazakhstan 25-17, 25-16, 25-10

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 def. Puerto Rico 25-8, 25-16, 25-19
Aug. 17: Germany def. Thailand 25-16, 25-14, 27-25
Aug. 18: Puerto Rico def. Germany 25-23, 25-23, 23-25, 13-25, 15-13
Aug. 18: Russia def. Thailand 24-26, 25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 15-11

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: Bulgaria def. Czech Republic 20-25, 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 15-8
Aug. 18: Japan def. Czech Republic 25-18, 22-25, 28-26, 23-25, 15-13
Aug. 18: United States def. Bulgaria 16-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-15, 15-8

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: Serbia def. Argentina 25-12, 25-20, 25-14
Aug. 17: China def. Poland 25-18, 25-21, 16-25, 25-23
Aug. 18: Poland def. Argentina 25-21, 21-25, 25-12, 23-25, 15-11
Aug. 18: China def. Serbia 25-17, 25-27, 25-20, 23-25, 15-5

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: Turkey def. Algeria 25-12, 25-12, 25-12
Aug. 17: Dominican Republic def. Italy 21-25, 19-25, 32-30, 26-24, 15-11
Aug. 18: Dominican Republic def. Algeria 25-11, 25-9, 25-8
Aug. 18: Italy def. Turkey 25-17, 25-18, 17-25, 15-25, 15-12

Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball Senior Manager of Communications, Phone: 719-228-6800, Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org

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