By Karen Price | May 24, 2018, 10:57 a.m. (ET)
The U.S. women's indoor volleyball team poses for a photo at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League on May 22, 2018 in Toyota, Japan.

 

The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team dominated in Week 2 of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League, going 3-0 against Japan, the Netherlands and Belgium to move atop the standings with 16 points.

With the three victories, Team USA is now 5-1 and sits atop the 16-team round robin standings after winning its last four matches in straight sets.

The U.S. started off Week 2 with a 25-20, 25-16, 25-23 win over host Japan on Tuesday. Michelle Bartsch-Hackley led the team with 21 points, notching 18 kills on 33 swings and three aces as Team USA improved to 3-1. After dominating the first set, the last two were much closer. Japan came within one point at 9-8 but the U.S. used an 8-1 run to pull ahead and didn’t look back. Team USA trailed in the third set, 19-16, but tied the score and came away with the victory.

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On Wednesday, Jordan Larson scored 18 points as Team USA ran past undefeated Netherlands, 25-19, 25-21, 25-23, to move into first place in the standings. The U.S. broke an early tie to go ahead 7-3, and the Netherlands never came closer than three points for the rest of the first set. Team USA trailed 15-14 in the second but responded with a 5-1 run to take the lead and win that set, then fought to regain control of the third set after a 19-19 tie.

On Thursday, Bartsch-Hackley again led the U.S. in scoring against Belgium with 14 points, followed by Andrea Drews with 12 points in the 25-11, 25-18, 25-17 victory. The opening set was tied, 7-7, but the U.S. went on a 7-0 run to build a lead that Belgium could not overcome. It was a similar story in the second set, as the Americans broke a 13-13 tie with a four-point run to grab win No. 2. Then in the third set they opened 5-0 and pushed forward for the sweep.

Team USA, second in the world rankings, continues round-robin play May 29 for Week 3 against Germany, Dominican Republic and host Thailand in Bangkok.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.