U.S. Women Block Japan at Montreux

By Bill Kauffman | May 28, 2014, 5:26 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 28, 2014) – Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) scored a match-high 12 points in her senior international debut in sparking the second-ranked U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 25-17, 25-22, 25-20 victory over third-ranked Japan Wednesday on the second day of the Montreux Volley Masters taking place in Montreux, Switzerland.

The U.S. Women (2-0) are idle on Thursday before concluding the four-team round-robin Pool B against NORCECA rival Dominican Republic (0-1) on Friday at noon PT. Japan (0-1) faces Dominican Republic on Thursday in its next match. The top two teams in both pools advance to Saturday's semifinal round.

Dixon tallied 10 kills on 17 attack with just one error to go with two blocks for her 12 points. U.S. captain Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) matched Dixon’s total of 12 points with 11 kills and a block. Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.) added 11 points, including a match-high five blocks. Sonja Newcombe (Lake Arrowhead, Calif.), also making her senior international debut, notched eight points all on kills.

Julian Faucette (San Diego, Calif.) came off the bench to tally eight points with five kills, two blocks and the match-winning ace. Ebony Nwanebu (Fairview, Texas) chalked up four kills all in the first set. Setters Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) and Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) each scored one point.

Hagglund set Team USA to a 38 kill percent for the match with just 10 attack errors. Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Hildebrand each pocketed eight digs in the victory. Hildebrand was credited with a 64 positive reception percent on a team-leading 25 chances, while Newcombe handled 20 receptions with a 50 positive percent. The U.S. height advantage over Japan produced a dominating 11-1 block advantage, while its defense netted a 37-28 dig margin.

Team USA has now started five different players at the Montreux Volley Masters who have made their senior international debuts. In its four-set win over Germany on Tuesday, Nwanebu, outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.) and libero Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) donned the Red, White and Blue for the first time for the U.S. Women’s National Team.

The U.S. used an 8-1 run in the opening set to take a 16-8 advantage and went on to win 25-17. Hildebrand notched six points in the set, while Harmotto added five points. In the second set, Team USA scored seven of the final eight points to rally to a 25-22 win. Dixon scored six points in the set and the Americans picked up five blocks in the frame. The U.S. Women ran off four straight to grab an 11-6 advantage in the third set only to have Japan close back to within one at 15-14. Team USA regained a four-point cushion at 19-15 and eased into a 25-20 victory.

The U.S. started Hagglund at setter, Harmotto and Dixon at middle blocker, Hildebrand and Newcombe at outside hitter, Nwanebu at opposite and Davis at libero. Dixon and Newcombe were making their senior international debuts for the U.S. Women’s National Team. Faucette subbed into the match for Nwanebu in the opening set and was the starter the final two sets. Thompson and Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) were subs in all three sets.

Team USA has now won seven consecutive matches against Japan after winning all six head-to-head matches in 2013 after not playing each other in 2012. The Japanese ended the 2011 season with a win over the Americans in the FIVB World Cup final match.

Earlier today, Germany (1-1) defeated Dominican Republic (0-1) 25-21, 25-20, 25-21 and Brazil (2-0) edged China (1-1) 25-19, 14-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-13.

Nearly all 2014 Montreux Volley Masters matches will be streamed online through laola1.tv, which is not available in parts of the world. Links to individual matches are below in the schedule schedule. For additional information on the Montreux Volley Masters, click here.

U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Roster for Montreux Volley Masters
# - Name (Position, Height, Hometown, College)
2 – Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota)
3 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
5 – Rachael Adams (MB, 6-2, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)
6 – Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 – Sonja Newcombe (OH, 6-1, Lake Arrowhead, Calif., University of Oregon)
9 – Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
10 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska)
11 – Natalie Hagglund (L, 5-9, Encinitas, Calif., University of Southern California)
12 – Ebony Nwanebu (OPP, 6-4, Fairview, Texas, University of Southern California)
13 – Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State University)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
18 – Juliann Faucette (OPP, 6-2, San Diego, Calif., University of Texas)
20 – Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison, Tom Black, Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Team Manager: Rob Browning
Scout/Consultant Coaches: Jamison Van Niel, Alessandro Lodi

Montreux Volley Masters Schedule

May 27: Brazil def. Switzerland 25-13, 25-20, 25-13 (Video)
May 27: United States def. Germany 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 (Video)
May 27: China def. Russia 25-22, 23-25, 16-25, 25-18, 15-9 (Video)
May 28: Germany def. Dominican Republic 25-21, 25-20, 25-21 (Video)
May 28: Brazil def. China 25-19, 14-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-13 (Video)
May 28: United States def. Japan 25-17, 25-22, 25-20 (Video)
May 29: China def. Switzerland 25-16, 25-22, 25-13 (Video)
May 29: Russia def. Brazil 35-33, 25-20, 26-28, 20-25, 15-11 (Video)
May 29: Japan def. Dominican Republic 26-24, 25-19, 25-23 (Video)
May 30: Russia vs. Switzerland, 7:30 a.m. PT (Video Stream)
May 30: Japan vs. Germany, 10:30 a.m. PT (Video Stream)
May 30: United States vs. Dominican Republic, noon PT (Video Stream)
May 31: A3 vs. B4, 5 a.m. PT
May 31: B3 vs. A4, 7 a.m. PT
May 31: A1 vs. B2, 9:30 a.m. PT (Video Stream)
May 31: Ba vs. A2, noon PT (Video Stream)
June 1: 5th Place Match, 2 a.m. PT (Video Stream)
June 1: Bronze Match, 4:30 a.m. PT (Video Stream)
June 1: Gold Match, 7 a.m. PT (Video Stream)