U.S. Women Defeat Russia to Open World Grand Prix

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 02, 2013, 7 p.m. (ET)

Bill Kauffman, USA Volleyball Senior Manager of Communications, Phone: 719-228-6800, Email: bill.kauffman@usav.org
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CAMPINAS, Brazil (Aug. 2, 2013) – The top-ranked U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team opened the 2013 FIVB World Grand Prix by defeating Russia 25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 25-12 on Friday afternoon in Campinas, Brazil.

The U.S., the three-time defending champion of the FIVB World Grand Prix, returns to action on Saturday versus No. 15 Poland at 8:30 a.m. PT in Campinas. Poland plays host Brazil later today. Russia, which had its streak of opening FIVB World Grand Prix tournaments with a win snapped at 10 in a row, is ranked No. 6 in the world.

The FIVB World Grand Prix is the premier annual international women’s volleyball tournament. Team USA is seeking to become the first team to win four consecutive FIVB World Grand Prix titles. By defeating Russia, the U.S. set a new World Grand Prix record with its 17th consecutive win dating back to the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round. The Americans previously won 16 straight World Grand Prix matches spanning the 2010 and 2011 editions. Since 2010, the Americans are 39-4 in FIVB World Grand Prix matches with losses only to Brazil (2012 Final Round pool play), Serbia (2011 pool play), Poland (2010 pool play) and Germany (2010 pool play).

The U.S. recovered from an early 2-0 deficit in the opening set and took charge with a 10-4 scoring run to reach a 19-14 advantage, then held off a late Russia rally to win 25-20. Russia scored four unanswered points to break free from a slim 12-11 advantage in the second set and went on to win 25-17 with six blocks in the frame. The U.S. broke a 3-all tie in the fourth set with a 12-3 scoring run and never looked back for a 25-12 victory.

“Our players did a good job,” said. U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly, who is now 9-0 in his first year leading the program. “We have a young team that is learning a lot this season. I am also learning a lot. It is my first season as head coach and Russia has a very good team. Tomorrow I expect a really tough game against Poland, but we have to keep improving.”

Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) and Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.), both in their first year with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, combined for 31 points as newcomers to the FIVB World Grand Prix played huge roles. Murphy came off the bench to score a team-high 16 points with 12 kills on 18 attacks, two blocks and two aces. Hill totaled 15 points with 12 kills on 32 swings, two aces and a block.

“I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Murphy said of playing in her first World Grand Prix match. “Tonight the team had good energy. We made a lot of good adjustments and became more aggressive in serving and blocking alignments. We also made good plays and won the long rallies.”

Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah), who was a key contributor on the 2012 World Grand Prix gold-medal team, added 15 kills on 38 attacks in the win. Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) charted 12 points with nine kills on 17 attacks and three blocks.

“Russia is a strong team and played well." Hildebrand said. "We had to battle back in that third set after they took the second, and we did - I am very proud of my team. It was a good way to start. We will have another tough match against Poland tomorrow.”

Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) pocketed eight points with five kills, two blocks and an ace. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) tacked on five points with two kills, two blocks and an ace. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) rounded out the scoring with three blocks and two aces.

The U.S. converted 44.2 percent of its attacks with a .326 hitting efficiency as Glass handed out 14 running sets on 85 set attempts. Hildebrand turned in 14 excellent receptions on 43 attempts, while Tamari Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) added six excellent receptions on 17 attempts and 14 digs. Glass added 14 digs from her setter position.

Kiraly started Hildebrand and Hill at outside hitter, Gibbemeyer and Paolini at middle blocker, Fawcett at opposite and Glass at setter. Miyashiro was the designated libero for the match. Murphy subbed in the first and second sets, then started the final two sets in place of Fawcett. Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) was a sub in all four sets, while Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) came off the bench in the first two sets.

Team USA dominated in each of the scoring skills including 57-44 in kills, 13-9 in blocks and 6-2 in aces. Russia benefited from 23 American errors while limited its miscues to 16 for the match. The U.S. also produced a 62-54 edge in digs. Team USA limited Russia to a 34.7 kill percent and .165 hitting efficiency (44-21-127).

Team USA ended a three-match losing streak to the Russians, including setbacks in the 2010 FIVB World Championship semifinals and 2010 Montreux VolleyMasters. Russia still holds an 11-9 record advantage in the head-to-head World Grand Prix matches with the United States, but eight of the matches went into the deciding fifth set and both teams winning four each.

The U.S. and Poland have met seven previous times in the FIVB World Grand Prix with the Americans holding a 5-2 record. In 2010, Poland won the preliminary round meeting in four sets and the U.S. went on to win its final six preliminary round matches and all five FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round matches to claim the gold medal. In the 2010 Final Round, Poland had won the first two sets before the U.S. won a 28-26 third set and went on to win in five sets. Since 1983, Team USA has won 12 of 16 matches against Poland.

Russia scored the first two points of the opening set, but the U.S. regained the lead at 6-5 on consecutive kills by Hildebrand and Paolini. Team USA went into the first technical timeout leading 8-4 following a Hildebrand kill and Russia wide attack. Glass put up a block out of the break to lift the U.S. in front 9-6. Russia scored an ace to close to within 10-9. Gibbemeyer downed a kill and Hildebrand ended a long rally of big U.S. saves to go up 12-9. The Americans forced the Russians into a timeout trailing 14-10 after Hill collected a kill and block. Russia sliced two points off the deficit at 14-12, only to have Fawcett pocket a kill and ace yielding an American 16-12 advantage at the second technical timeout. The U.S. extended the gap to 19-13 with a Murphy kill, Hill ace and Paolini quick attack kill. Team USA continued to build the advantage at 22-14 with two Murphy kills around a Gibbemeyer slam. Russia sliced the deficit to 23-20 with a 6-1 scoring run before Hildebrand pounded a kill to reach set points at 24-20. Russia followed with an attack error to end the set at 25-20. Gibbemeyer, Hildebrand and Hill all scored four points as five Americans scored at least three points in the set.

The teams sided out in the opening set until Russia scored three straight points on American miscues to reach the first technical timeout leading 8-5, then extended the lead to 9-5 with another American error out of the break. Fawcett ended the slide with a block and Hill followed with a kill off the block and Gibbemeyer found open court on an attack to narrow the gap to 9-8 at a Russia timeout. Russia regained a three-point cushion at 14-11 on an ace leading Kiraly to call a timeout. Russia added a third and fourth straight points on blocks to take a 16-11 advantage into the second technical timeout. Russia extended its margin to 23-16 with three unanswered points. Russia capped the set with a block at 25-17.

Russia scored three straight points to grab a 4-3 lead in the third set, only to have the U.S. charge back with a 4-0 run with a kill and ace from Murphy, Glass block and Russia error to yield a 7-4 U.S. advantage. Russia knocked two points off the deficit to climb to within 8-7. Murphy connected for kill and ace on back-to-back points to extend the American advantage to 15-12. Russia closed to within one point at 16-15 with consecutive points out of the second technical timeout. Team USA rebuilt a three-point cushion at 19-16 with a Hildebrand kill and Murphy block. Paolini put up a block after a Hill kill to stretch the American lead to 23-19 at Russia’s first timeout. Team USA reached set point with a Russia attack error at 24-19. Russia saved two set points before a Hildebrand slam down the line ended the set at 25-21.

The U.S. took advantage of two Russia errors and Hill followed with an ace to give the Americans a 5-3 lead in the fourth set. Hildebrand canned consecutive kills and Paolini served an ace to widen the U.S. lead to 8-4 at the first technical timeout. Out of the break, Russia hit long to extend the American lead to 9-4. Gibbemeyer and Murphy scored consecutive kills and Murphy followed with a block to push the lead to 12-5. Team USA scored a fourth straight point on a Russia error at 13-5 leading to a timeout. Out of the break Hildebrand downed a kill and Gibbemeyer stuffed a Russia block to extend the American lead to 15-6 on a 6-0 run. From there, it was all United States as it capped the match with a 25-12 victory.

U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team FIVB World Grand Prix Roster
# - Name (Position, Height, Spike Touch, Block Touch, Hometown, College)
1 - # Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, 10-0, 9-10, Leland, Mich., Penn State University)
2 - Danielle Scott (MB, 6-2, 10-8, 9-11, Baton Rouge, La., Long Beach State University)
3 - Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, 9-0, 8-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 - Sonja Newcombe (OH, 6-1, 10-0, 9-10, Lake Arrowhead, Calif., University of Oregon)
5 - # Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, 9-4, 8-9, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington)
6 - Nicole Davis (L, 5-4, 9-4, 8-9, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 - # Cassidy Lichtman (OH, 6-1, 9-10, 9-2, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
8 - # Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, 10-1, 9-7, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
9 - Alix Klineman (OH, 6-5, 10-7, 9-8, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
10 - # Kristin Hildebrand (OH, 6-1, 9-10, 9-4, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
11 - Alaina Bergsma (OPP, 6-3, 10-4, 9-10, Chandler, Ariz., University of Oregon)
12 - # Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, 9-8, 9-3, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
13 - # Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, 10-7, 9-10, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State University)
14 - # Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, 10-2, 9-7, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State University)
15 - # Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, 10-4, 10-1, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida)
16 - # Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, 10-6, 10-2, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
17 - # Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, 10-5, 9-10, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
18 - # Regan Hood (OH, 6-2, 10-3, 10-0, Dallas, Texas, LSU)
19 - Juliann Faucette (OPP, 6-2, 10-6. 10-1, San Diego, Calif., University of Texas)
20 - # Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, 9-7, 9-6, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)
21 - Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, 10-6, 10-2, Los Angeles, Calif., University of Arizona)
22 - # Rachael Adams (MB, 6-2, 10-5, 10-1, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)
# - Selected for Week 1 Roster

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Reed Sunahara, Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek

2013 FIVB World Grand Prix Schedule (all match times local)

Pool A – Campinas, Brazil
Aug. 2: United States def. Russia 25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 25-12
Aug. 2: Brazil def. Poland 21-25, 25-17, 25-15, 25-20
Aug. 3: Brazil vs. Russia, 10 a.m.
Aug. 3: United States vs. Poland, 12:30 p.m.
Aug. 4: Brazil vs. United States, 10 a.m.
Aug. 4: Russia vs. Poland, 12:30 p.m.

Pool B – San Domingo, Dominican Republic
Aug. 2: Czech Republic vs. Puerto Rico 25-14, 25-20, 25-18
Aug. 2: Serbia def. Dominican Republic 25-13, 25-20, 25-16
Aug. 3: Serbia vs. Czech Republic, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 3: Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, 5 p.m.
Aug. 4: Serbia vs. Puerto Rico, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 4: Dominican Republic vs. Czech Republic, 5 p.m.

Pool C – Ankara, Turkey
Aug. 2: Turkey def. Algeria 25-13, 25-18, 25-15
Aug. 2: Japan def. Thailand 25-19, 25-17, 25-21
Aug. 3: Algeria vs. Japan, 2 p.m.
Aug. 3: Turkey vs. Thailand, 5 p.m.
Aug. 4: Thailand vs. Algeria, 2 p.m.
Aug. 4: Turkey vs. Japan, 5 p.m.

Pool D – Macau, China
Aug. 2: Netherlands def. Cuba 25-20, 25-14, 25-11
Aug. 2: China def. Bulgaria 25-13, 26-24, 25-23
Aug. 3: Bulgaria vs. Netherlands, 2:30 p.m.
Aug. 3: China vs. Cuba, 5 p.m.
Aug. 4: Bulgaria vs. Cuba, 1 p.m.
Aug. 4: China vs. Netherlands, 3:30 p.m.

Pool E – Montichiari, Italy
Aug. 2: Germany def. Kazakhstan 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-17
Aug. 2: Italy def. Argentina 25-21, 25-20, 25-17
Aug. 3: Germany vs. Argentina, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 3: Italy vs. Kazakhstan, 8:30 p.m.
Aug. 4: Argentina vs. Kazakhstan, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 4: Italy vs. Germany, 8:45 p.m.

Pool F – Belgrade, Serbia
Aug. 9: Serbia vs. Netherlands, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 9: United States vs. Algeria, 8:15 p.m.
Aug. 10: Algeria vs. Serbia, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: United States vs. Netherlands, 8:15 p.m.
Aug. 11: Netherlands vs. Algeria, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: United States vs. Serbia, 8:15 p.m.

Pool G – Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Aug. 9: Dominican Republic vs. Brazil, 5 p.m.
Aug. 9: Puerto Rico vs. Bulgaria, 8 p.m.
Aug. 10: Brazil vs. Bulgaria, 5 p.m.
Aug. 10: Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, 8 p.m.
Aug. 11: Bulgaria vs. Dominican Republic, 2 p.m.
Aug. 11: Puerto Rico vs. Brazil, 5 p.m.

Pool H – Plock, Poland
Aug. 9: Germany vs. Japan, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 9: Poland vs. Kazakhstan, 8 p.m.
Aug. 10: Japan vs. Kazakhstan, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: Poland vs. Germany, 8 p.m.
Aug. 11: Kazakhstan vs. Germany, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: Poland vs. Japan, 8 p.m.

Pool I – Hong Kong, China
Aug. 9: Turkey vs. Argentina, 6 p.m.
Aug. 9: China vs. Czech Republic, 8:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: Turkey vs. Czech Republic, 1:15 p.m.
Aug. 10: China vs. Argentina, 3:45 p.m.
Aug. 11: Argentina vs. Czech Republic, 1:15 p.m.
Aug. 11: China vs. Turkey, 3:45 p.m.

Pool J – Ekaterinburg, Russia
Aug. 9: Italy vs. Russia, 5 p.m.
Aug. 9: Cuba vs. Thailand, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 10: Thailand vs. Russia, 5 p.m.
Aug. 10: Cuba vs. Italy, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 11: Russia vs. Cuba, 5 p.m.
Aug. 11: Italy vs. Thailand, 7:30 p.m.

Pool K – Almaty, Kazakhstan
Aug. 16: Cuba vs. Brazil, 3 p.m.
Aug. 16: Kazakhstan vs. Netherlands, 6 p.m.
Aug. 17: Brazil vs. Netherlands, 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: Kazakhstan vs. Cuba, 6 p.m.
Aug. 18: Cuba vs. Netherlands, 3 p.m.
Aug. 18: Kazakhstan vs. Brazil, 6 p.m.

Pool L – Bangkok, Thailand
Aug. 16: Thailand vs. Puerto Rico, 4 p.m.
Aug. 16: Germany vs. Russia, 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 17: Russia vs. Puerto Rico, 2 p.m.
Aug. 17: Thailand vs. Germany, 4:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Puerto Rico vs. Germany, 2 p.m.
Aug. 18: Russia vs. Thailand, 4:30 p.m.

Pool M – Sendai, Japan
Aug. 16: United States vs. Czech Republic, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 16: Japan vs. Bulgaria, 6:15 p.m.
Aug. 17: Japan vs. United States, 12:30 p.m.
Aug. 17: Czech Republic vs. Bulgaria, 3:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Japan vs. Czech Republic, 12:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: United States vs. Bulgaria, 3:30 p.m.

Pool N – Wuhan, China
Aug. 16: Serbia vs. Poland, 4 p.m.
Aug. 16: China vs. Argentina, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17: Argentina vs. Serbia, 4 p.m.
Aug. 17: China vs. Poland, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Poland vs. Argentina, 4 p.m.
Aug. 18: China vs. Serbia, 7:30 p.m.

Pool O – Kaohsiung City, Chinese Taipei
Aug. 16: Italy vs. Algeria, 3 p.m.
Aug. 16: Turkey vs. Dominican Republic, 6 p.m.
Aug. 17: Algeria vs. Turkey, 3 p.m.
Aug. 17: Italy vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 18: Dominican Republic vs. Algeria, 3 p.m.
Aug. 18: Italy vs. Turkey, 5:30 p.m.