By Gary R. Blockus | July 09, 2017, 2:29 p.m. (ET)
Members of the U.S. women's volleyball team celebrate after their win over China at the FIVB World Grand Prix on July 9, 2017 in Kunshan, China.

 

The U.S. women’s volleyball team started the FIVB World Grand Prix by going undefeated in its first three matches in Kunshan, China.

The U.S. women, the reigning world champions, went 3-0 after defeating 2016 Olympic champion China in three straight sets on Sunday behind 19 points from Kelly Murphy.

Murphy, a 6-foot-2 opposite hitter, led the U.S. to the wins of 25-22, 25-22 and 25-21 to hand China its first loss of the tournament. She scored 16 points off spikes and three off blocks while increasing her tournament total to 47 points.

Murphy, along with team captain Carli Lloyd, are the only current members of the team who helped the U.S. to a bronze medal finish at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

“I'm really happy to win this match,” said Lloyd, a 28-year-old setter from California. “We know that China is a strong team and we just stayed together and we made some really good adjustments from [Saturday] night to [Sunday]. This is what we are trying to do all the time.”

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“It's very difficult to play against a team like China, but we did well,” added U.S. coach and volleyball legend Karch Kiraly. “And we won the game because we trust each other.”

The U.S. opened play with a hard-fought 3-2 win over 2010 world champion Russia (22-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-16, 15-11) on Friday before dispatching Italy 3-0 in straight sets on Saturday (25-21, 25-22, 25-19).

China will get another crack at the U.S. next weekend. The teams are scheduled to meet again next Sunday to conclude the second round in the Macau region of China. Turkey and Italy are also in the pool.

Gary R. Blockus is a journalist from Allentown, Pennsylvania who has covered multiple Olympic Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.