Women's U23 Advances to World Semis

By Bill Kauffman | Oct. 09, 2013, 10:56 p.m. (ET)

The U.S. Women's U23 National Volleyball Team celebrates its victory over Brazil and advancement to the FIVB Women's U23 World Championship semifinals

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 9, 2013) - Ariel Turner (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Purdue University) scored five of her match-high 18 points to lead the U.S. Women’s U23 National Volleyball Team to a 25-20, 16-25, 10-25, 25-22, 15-9 victory over Brazil in the final Pool B match of the FIVB Volleyball Women’s U23 World Championship on Wednesday evening in Mexicali, Mexico.

The U.S. victory enabled the Americans to advance to Friday’s gold-medal semifinals as the second-place team in Pool B behind group winner China (5-0, 14 points). Team USA, which concluded pool play 4-1 with 11 points, will face Pool A first-place team Dominican Republic (4-1, 13 points) in the semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m. PT. Ironically, Japan finished Pool A with a 5-0 record, but only picked up 12 standings points to finish in second place. Brazil (3-2, 10 points), which needed to win the match to reach the gold-medal semifinals, falls into the 5-8 classification semifinals. The remainder of the tournament will take place in Tijuana, Mexico, which has served as host for Pool A.

In the deciding fifth set, the Americans used a 6-0 run with two blocks to push in front 8-3. Team USA’s lead reached 12-5 as Turner served two aces and Sha’Dare McNeal (San Diego/University of Texas) added two points in a 4-0 run. The Americans finished off the set with a convincing 15-9 victory. Just one night earlier, USA’s outcome was reversed as it led China 2-1 in sets, only to have China win the fourth set followed by a convincing 15-5 victory in the tiebreaker. Team USA has now played three consecutive five-set matches, including a win over Germany on Oct. 7.

Brazil played very good volleyball in a big part of that match," U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. "I’m also really proud of USA Team. We have played against great teams like China and Brazil."

Turner, who was a sub in the first four sets and started just the tiebreaker, scored her 18 points via 13 kills on 32 attacks, three blocks and two aces. McNeal, who had four points in the fifth set, totaled 13 points on 11 kills via 24 swings and two blocks. Hayley Hodson (Newport Beach, Calif./T Street Volleyball Club), who won the silver medal at the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U18 World Championship this summer, added 13 points with 10 kills on 26 attacks and three blocks. Erica Wilson (Oceanside, Calif./Arizona State University) contributed seven kills on 20 attacks in the victory, while Tia Scambray (Monarch Beach, Calif./T Street Volleyball Club) posted a block and ace for two points. Lauren Cook (Lincoln, Neb./University of Nebraska) rounded out the scoring with a kill.

Cook was credited with 21 running sets in the victory, which led to a 34.8 kill percent and .193 team hitting efficiency (56-25-161). Mancuso provided team-highs in digs with 10 and excellent receptions with 13. Bojana Todorovic (Irvine, Calif./UCLA) tallied 10 excellent receptions on 27 attempts to go with six digs.

"It was a fun and exciting battle," said. Mancuso, who is serving as the captain for the U.S. squad. "Team USA has had three very tough nights, but have come here to improve. Brazil was a very good team with a strong block. I’m really proud of our team.

On the team stat sheet, Brazil out-scored the U.S. 101-91 in total points for the match with edges in blocks (14-9) and aces (9-4). The Americans edged the Brazilians 56-55 in kills, but committed one additional error than the losers (23-22). Brazil managed a 34.2 kill percent with a .224 hitting efficiency (55-19-161).

As with the U.S., Brazil had a balanced offensive attack with five players scoring 12 or more points. Both Gabriella Souza and captain Ellen Braga totaled 17 points, while Mara Leao charted 15 points.

Kiraly started Wilson and McNeal at middle blocker, Mancuso and Scambray at outside hitter, Hodson at opposite and Cook at setter. Todorovic is the team’s libero for tournament. Lexi Sun (Solana Beach, Calif./Coast Volleyball Club) was a sub in the first four sets, while both Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colo./Front Range Volleyball Club) and Monique Mead (Newnan, Ga.) were subs in the third set.

The U.S. pulled away from a tight opening set to earn a 25-20 victory as Hodson scored five points while Turner came off the bench to provide four points. Brazil responded in the second set by establishing a 16-9 lead at the second technical timeout and went on to win 25-16. Brazil continued the momentum in the third set with a 6-0 advantage to start and went on to win 25-10. Brazil tallied four blocks and four aces in the set to go with 11 American errors. Team USA broke a 19-all tie in a closely contested fourth set with a 4-1 run to take a 23-20 advantage in route to winning 25-22.

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: Italy def. Mexico 25-19, 25-15, 25-20
Oct. 8: Japan def. Argentina 25-19, 25-16, 25-19
Oct. 8: Dominican Republic def. Italy 23-25, 25-23, 25-16, 25-12
Oct. 8: Turkey def. Mexico 25-7, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19
Oct. 9: Italy def. Argentina 25-18, 25-19, 25-17
Oct. 9: Japan def. Turkey 23-25, 25-22, 26-24, 16-25, 15-13
Oct. 9: Dominican Republic def. Mexico 25-15, 25-21, 25-21

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: China def. Cuba 25-14, 25-21, 25-23
Oct. 8: Cuba def. Kenya 25-19, 25-23, 25-21
Oct. 8: China def. United States 25-15, 18-25, 14-25, 25-19, 15-5
Oct. 8: Brazil def. Germany 25-11, 25-11, 25-21
Oct. 9: China def. Kenya 25-16, 25-6, 25-14
Oct. 9: Germany def. Cuba 25-22, 25-22, 25-20
Oct. 9: United States def. Brazil 25-20, 16-25, 10-25, 25-22, 15-9

Oct. 11: Turkey (3A) vs. Germany (4B), noon PT
Oct. 11: Brazil (3B) vs. Italy (4A), 2 p.m. PT.
Oct. 11: United States (2B) vs. Dominican Republic (1A), 5 p.m. PT
Oct. 11: Japan (2A) vs. China (1B), 7 p.m. PT

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.