The U.S. was unable to defend its gold medal at the FIVB Women’s World Championship, but ended the tournament on a positive note with a victory, beating host Japan to finish in fifth place on Friday, 25-23, 25-16, 23-25, 25-23.
Kim Hill led the team in scoring with 24 points as the U.S. snapped a four-game losing streak. Karsta Lowe had 17 points and Jordan Larson added 12 for the 2014 world and 2018 Volleyball Nations League champions.
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The U.S. nearly closed the match out with a sweep, leading 16-15 in the third set then tying it 20-20, but Japan pushed through for the victory and forced the fourth set. A strong blocking game by the U.S. left them with a 10-1 match advantage.
Italy and Serbia will play for the world title on Saturday.
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.