Women's U23 Squad Edges Germany in Five

By Bill Kauffman | Oct. 07, 2013, 9:53 p.m. (ET)

Bojana Todorovic celebrates during Team USA's victory over Germany in the FIVB Volleyball Women's U23 World Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 7, 2013) – The U.S. Women’s U23 National Volleyball Team remained undefeated at the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship after defeating Germany 25-15, 23-25, 25-27, 25-12, 15-11 behind a balanced attack Monday at Mexicali, Mexico.

The U.S., now 3-0 with eight points, challenges China (2-0, 6 points) on Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. PT. The match can be viewed online by clicking here. Later today China plays Cuba (0-2, 0 points). Team USA concludes pool play on Oct. 9 against Brazil (2-1, 6 points) at 7 p.m. PT. The top two teams in both pools will have crossover semifinals to play into the medal-round matches, while the third- and fourth-place teams in each pool advance to the classification 5-8 round. The bottom two teams in each pool are eliminated.

U.S. captain Gina Mancuso (Omaha, Neb.) led the Americans with 20 points with 17 kills on 44 attacks, two aces and a block. Sandra Adeleye (Katy, Texas) contributed seven kills on 13 attacks and three blocks for 10 points. Hayley Hodson (Newport Beach, Calif.) tacked on nine points with six kills on 22 swings and three blocks. Sha’Dare McNeal (San Diego, Calif.) chipped in six kills on seven errorless attacks, one block and one ace for eight points.

"It was certainly a tough battle and a great effort by Germany," Mancuso said. "We could not say that this was our best match because we made some mistakes. Fortunately we won, but there are still two more matches to play (in pool)."

Erica Wilson (Oceanside, Calif.) contributed five kills on eight swings and two blocks for seven points, which was matched by Ariel Turner (Highlands Ranch, Calif.) with her six kills and one block. Lauren Cook (Lincoln, Neb.) turned in three kills on four attacks and an ace for four points, while Monique Mead (Newnan, Ga.) added three points. Tia Scambray (Monarch Beach, Calif.) served three aces in the victory, while Lexi Sun (Solana Beach, Calif.) rounded out the scoring with an ace.

Cook provided 18 running sets in leading the offense to a 38.5 kill percent and .222 hitting efficiency (52-22-135). Bojana Todorovic (Irvine, Calif.) tallied a team-high seven digs, while Mancuso provided a team-leading 10 excellent receptions on 37 attempts.

With its balanced offense with 10 of 12 players scoring, the U.S. led in all three team scoring categories. The Americans turned in a 52-34 advantage in kills, 8-6 margin in aces and 12-10 edge in blocks. Further, the U.S. took advantage of 41 German errors during the match. Germany was held to a 23.8 kill percent and .056 hitting efficiency (34-26-143). However, the Americans helped the Germans stay close with 40 errors of their own, including 19 service errors.

Despite the match going five sets, Germany did not have a single player in double-digit scoring as Katharina Schwabe and Leonie Schwertmann both had team highs of nine points.

U.S. Women’s Head Coach Karch Kiraly started Adeleye and Wilson at middle blocker, Mancuso and Turner at outside hitter, Mead at opposite and Cook at setter. Todorovic is the team’s libero for tournament. Hodson subbed into the match in the second set and started the final three sets in place of Mead. McNeal moved into the starting lineup in the fourth set in place of Adeleye. Scambray and Sun each subbed into each set, while Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colo.) was a sub in the third and fifth sets.

Team USA built a 16-10 lead in the opening set and cruised to a 25-15 victory as Mancuso scored seven kills and the Americans took advantage of 10 German errors. In the second set, Germany scored four unanswered points to take a 16-15 lead in to the second technical timeout. The U.S. battled back from a 22-20 deficit with three straight points to regain the lead at 23-22, but it was Germany scoring the final three points to win 25-23. Both teams committed a high-number of errors in the second set as the Americans had 11 to the Germany’s 10.

Hodson scored three early points to spark the U.S. to a 7-3 advantage in the third set, while Scambray served three consecutive aces as part of a 5-0 run to put the Americans in front 14-7. Both Hodson and Scambray were members of the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team that won silver at the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship earlier this summer. Later in the third set, Germany bounced back to tie the set at 19-all. After trading 12 points and saving two set points, Germany scored the final three points to win the third set 27-25.

Mancuso notched two aces to helped the Americans build a 6-1 lead in the fourth set. The American lead reached double-digits at 17-7 as Germany committed seven errors in the set to that point to go with four Team USA blocks and three aces. The U.S. closed out the set with a 25-12 victory.

The U.S. opened the fifth set with the first two points via Germany errors. McNeal scored consecutive kills to raise the American advantage to 7-3 in the tiebreaker. Germany was unable to mount a serious challenge down the stretch as the Americans won 15-11. McNeal and Mancuso each scored four points for the U.S. in the final set.

"It was a very nice effort by Germany," Kiraly said. "They fought from a big deficit in the third set. I like those kind of teams that play hard and we want to be able to fight like that. There were a lot of errors, but we improved in the fourth and fifth sets."

In other matches today, Brazil (2-1, 6 points) handled Kenya 25-8, 25-7, 25-10 in Pool B in Mexicali. In Tijuana, Turkey (2-1, 5 points) blanked Argentina (1-2, 3 points) 25-20, 25-20, 25-19 in Pool A action, while Japan (3-0, 7 points) rallied past Dominican Republic (2-1, 7 points) 15-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-17, 15-9. Later today, Mexico (0-2, 0 points) hosts Italy (0-2, 0 points) in Pool A action.

For more information about the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship, click here.

U.S. Women's U23 National Volleyball Team Roster
# - Name (Position, Hometown, Club)
1 - Sandra Adeleye (MB, Katy, Texas, Clemson University)
2 - Lauren Cook (S, Lincoln, Neb., Vaqueras de Bayamon)
4 - Hayley Hodson (OH, Newport Beach, Calif., T Street Volleyball Club)
5 - Monique Mead (Opp., Newnan, Ga., Telekom Baku)
6 - Jordyn Poulter (S, Aurora, Colo., Front Range Volleyball Club)
7 - Gina Mancuso (OH, Omaha, Neb., Leonas de Ponce)
8 - Ariel Turner (OH, Highlands Ranch, Colo., USGE Nantes)
9 - Bojana Todorovic (L, Irvine, Calif., UCLA)
10 - Erica Wilson (MB, Oceanside, Calif., Arizona State University)
11 - Lexi Sun (OH, Solana Beach, Calif., Coast Volleyball Club)
12 - Tia Scambray (OH, Monarch Beach, Calif., T Street Volleyball Club)
14 - Sha’Dare McNeal (Opp., San Diego, Calif., Neruda Volksbank Bolzano)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Reed Sunahara, Joe Trinsey
Technical Coordinator: Jamison Van Neil
Team Doctor: Jill Wosmeck

2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship

Pool A (at Tijuana, Mexico – High Performance Center Gymnasium)
Oct. 5: Turkey def. Italy 29-31, 16-25, 26-24, 25-22, 17-15
Oct. 5: Dominican Republic def. Argentina 25-14, 25-18, 25-16
Oct. 5: Japan def. Mexico 25-19, 25-13, 20-25, 25-15
Oct. 6: Japan def. Italy 21-25, 18-25, 25-22, 25-16, 15-12
Oct. 6: Dominican Republic def. Turkey 25-18, 25-16, 25-21
Oct. 6: Argentina def. Mexico 26-24, 25-21, 25-21
Oct. 7: Turkey def. Argentina 25-20, 25-20, 25-19
Oct. 7: Japan def. Dominican Republic 15-25, 25-22, 17-25, 25-17, 15-9
Oct. 7: Mexico vs. Italy, 7 p.m. PT
Oct. 8: Argentina vs. Japan, 3 p.m. PT
Oct. 8: Dominican Republic vs. Italy, 5 p.m. PT
Oct. 8: Mexico vs. Turkey, 7 p.m. PT
Oct. 9: Italy vs. Argentina, 3 p.m. PT
Oct. 9: Turkey vs. Japan, 5 p.m. PT
Oct. 9: Mexico vs. Dominican Republic, 7 p.m. PT

Pool B (at Mexicali, Mexico – State Auditorium)
Oct. 5: United States def. Kenya 25-11, 25-11, 25-6
Oct. 5: China def. Germany 25-21, 25-22, 18-25, 25-19
Oct. 5: Brazil def. Cuba 28-26, 25-27, 25-15, 25-21
Oct. 6: Germany def. Kenya 25-9, 25-15, 25-10
Oct. 6: United States def. Cuba 25-20, 25-19, 25-21
Oct. 6: China def. Brazil 25-16, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23
Oct. 7: Brazil def. Kenya 25-8, 25-7, 25-10
Oct. 7: United States def. Germany 25-15, 23-25, 25-27, 25-12, 15-11
Oct. 7: Cuba vs. China, 7 p.m. PT
Oct. 8: Cuba vs. Kenya, 3 p.m. PT
Oct. 8: United States vs. China, 5 p.m. PT
Oct. 8: Germany vs. Brazil, 7 p.m. PT
Oct. 9: China vs. Kenya, 3 p.m. PT
Oct. 9: Germany vs. Cuba, 5 p.m. PT
Oct. 9: United States vs. Brazil, 7 p.m. PT

In the gold-medal bracket (Classification 1-4), first-place teams in the two pools will play the second-place teams in the opposite pool. In the 5-8 classification, third-place pool teams will play the fourth-place pool team from the opposite pool.

Semifinal winners of Classification 1-4 will play for the gold medal, while the losers will play for the bronze medal. Semifinal winners in the Classification 5-8 bracket will play for fifth place, while the losers will play for seventh place.