After an impressive overall performance that included 17 wins and only two losses at the inaugural FIVB Volleyball Nations League, the U.S. women are bringing home the gold medal following a five-set win against Turkey in the championship game on Sunday in Nanjing, China.
Kim Hill provided 15 points off the bench for Team USA and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, who led the team in scoring in each of the first three playoff matches, totaled 18 points.
It was no surprise that it took five sets to determine a winner.
This was the third time the U.S. and Turkey met during the tournament, with Turkey being just one of two teams to defeat Team USA in the 16-team preliminary round, and the U.S. then knocking off Turkey in the first game of the final round playoffs on Wednesday.
The U.S. went 13-2 in the preliminary round and headed into the Final Six game against Turkey seeded No. 2. Turkey was sixth. In both the preliminary round and first playoff matchup, Turkey won the first two sets and forced the U.S. to rally in the third and fourth to force a tiebreaker.
Turkey again claimed victory in the first set on Sunday, this time winning 25-17.
This time the U.S. rallied to claim the second set 25-22 and even things up. The Americans rallied from a 22-16 deficit in the third set and held three set points, but Turkey fought back for a 28-26 victory and a 2-1 advantage.
Pushed to the brink of defeat again, the Americans responded with a 25-15 win in the fourth set, and for the third time the two teams went to a tiebreaker, this time with gold on the line. The Americans took the drama out, however, winning 15-7.
The tournament began on May 15 and took the team from the U.S. to Japan, Thailand, China and Argentina before finishing back in China.