U.S. Women Defeat Russia in Montreux Semi

By Bill Kauffman | May 31, 2014, 5:18 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 31, 2014) - The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked second in the world, used balanced scoring to defeat No. 6 Russia 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21 Saturday evening in the second semifinal of the Montreux Volley Masters in Montreux, Switzerland.

The U.S. will now face Germany in the gold-medal match on Sunday at 7 a.m. PT. In the first semifinal of the day, No. 9 Germany eased past No. 5 China 25-22, 25-18, 25-21. In pool play Germany finished second in Pool B behind the United States. The Americans defeated the Germans 22-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 on the opening day of pool play. China won Pool A over Russia and the world’s top-ranked Brazil.

All five of Team USA’s starting hitters scored at least 11 points in the victory and the two middle blockers combined for 33 points. Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) notched a match-high 17 points with eight kills, seven blocks and two aces. Christa Harmotto (Hopewell Township, Pa.) collected 16 points with 14 kills and two blocks.

Outside hitters Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) and Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.) combined for 29 points. Hill chipped in 15 points on 13 kills and two blocks, while Robinson collected 11 kills and three aces for 14 points. Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah), starting her second consecutive match at opposite over her customary outside hitter position, added 11 points with 10 kills and a block. Setter Courtney Thompson tacked on three aces a block four points to round out the scoring.

Thompson set the Americans to a 38 kill percent for the match. Robinson handled 52 of the team’s 82 serve receive chances with a 54 positive percent and added a team-high eight digs. Hildebrand and Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) added six and five digs, respectively.

The Americans out-blocked the Russians 13-10 and held an 8-4 margin in aces. The U.S. limited its errors to 17 in the match compared to Russia’s 20.

The U.S. started Thompson at setter, Adams and Harmotto at middle blocker, Hill and Robinson at outside hitter, Hildebrand at opposite and Natalie Hagglund (Encinitas, Calif.) at libero. Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) and Juliann Faucette (San Diego) were subs in all four sets, while Tori Dixon was a sub in the second and fourth sets.

The first set was a battle of point swings and momentum. Russia opened the first set with a 5-0 lead, but the U.S. battled back to square the set at 9-all and went in front for the first time at 11-10. Robinson served three aces around a Harmotto kill to push Team USA’s advantage to 15-10. Russia took four straight points to move to within one at 16-15 and knotted the score at 19-all. Team USA regained a two-point cushion at 21-19 with a Robinson kill and Russia attack error, but Russia aced its way into a tie at 21-all. Harmotto gave the U.S. set point at 24-23 with a kill and Russia followed with an attack error. Robinson scored a team-high six points with three of USA’s five aces. Hill added five points in the opening set.

In the second set, Team USA opened with a 4-1 lead that included two blocks. Russia came back to take the lead at 7-6, only to have Harmotto and Hill pound kills to take the U.S. into the first technical timeout leading 8-7. Russia scored three unanswered points to take a 14-11 lead and would later increase its advantage to 19-15 at a USA timeout. Team USA saved two set points at 24-22, but lost on a service error.

Harmotto and Hill hammered consecutive kills in the third set to yield a two-point USA advantage, 8-6, at the first technical timeout. Team USA inched its lead to 13-9 with an ace from Adams and Harmotto block. The Americans extended their lead to 19-14 following an Adams kill. Team USA cruised to the set win at 25-20. Adams scored five points in the set.

Team USA scored the first four points of the fourth set that included a Thompson ace, Adams block and two Russia errors. Russia bounced back to tie the score at 6-all, but Hildebrand slammed a kill and Harmotto blocked an attack to put the Americans in front 8-6 at the first technical timeout. Harmotto collected a kill and Russia hit into the antenna to yield an 11-8 American lead. Team USA reached the second technical timeout leading 16-12 after an Adams kill and Russia error. However, Russia rushed back into the set with four straight points out of the break to tie the score at 16-all, then went in front 18-17 with an ace. Robinson and Hill connected for consecutive kills to flip the lead to the U.S. at 19-18. Out of a Russia timeout, Harmotto pounded an overpass for a kill and Russia hit long for a 21-18 American advantage. Team USA closed out the set at 25-21.

Earlier today, Brazil defeated Dominican Republic 27-25, 25-16, 27-25 and Japan swept host Switzerland 25-17, 25-16, 25-19 to set up the fifth-place matchup on Sunday.

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 def. Switzerland 25-19, 25-13, 25-15 (Video)
May 30: Germany def. Japan 25-15, 27-25, 25-16 (Video)
May 30: United States def. Dominican Republic 25-19, 25-15, 25-14 (Video)
May 31: Brazil (A3) def. Dominican Republic (B4) 27-25, 25-16, 27-25 (Video)
May 31: Japan (B3) def. Switzerland (A4) 25-17, 25-16, 25-19 (Video)
May 31: Germany (B2) def. China (A1) vs. Germany (B2) 25-22, 25-18, 25-21, semifinal (Video)
May 31: United States (B1) def. Russia (A2), 25-23, 22-25, 25-20, 25-21, semifinal (Video Stream)
June 1: Brazil vs. Japan, 5th Place Match, 2 a.m. PT (Video Stream)
June 1: China vs. Russia, Bronze Match, 4:30 a.m. PT (Video Stream)
June 1: United States vs Germany (Gold Medal), 7 a.m. PT (Video Stream)