NAGOYA, Japan (Nov. 12, 2013) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team lost to Brazil 26-24, 26-24, 25-20 in a battle of the top two teams in the world on Tuesday afternoon in Nagoya, Japan, to open the six-team FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup that continues through Nov. 17.
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Team USA, ranked No. 2, resumes action on Wednesday evening (2:10 a.m. PT) versus host Japan, which is ranked No. 3 in the world. The Americans have won all five previous meetings with Japan this year, including twice in Japan. After a travel day to Tokyo, the U.S. challenges Russia on Friday, Thailand on Saturday and Dominican Republic on Sunday.
Brazil scored three straight to take a 23-20 lead in the opening set, but the Americans saved two set points before the South Americans won the final two points for a 26-24 victory. Brazil saved one set point in the second set and won 26-24 after trailing 15-12. Brazil used a 9-1 scoring run to take a 21-14 advantage in the third set en route to 25-20.
"I don't think either team played the way they want to," U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. "We are not in mid-season form. Hopefully we can get better before the next match in 24 hours."
Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) scored 14 points for the Americans, with all her points on kills via 35 attacks. Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) added nine points with eight kills on 13 attacks and a block. Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.) chipped in seven kills on 32 attacks and two blocks for nine points. Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) turned in seven points with six kills and a blocks, while Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) charted four kills. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) totaled two kills on three attacks and a block for three points. Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) rounded out the scoring with two kills.
Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) totaled 14 digs for the U.S., while Larson-Burbach charted 11 digs. Glass set the Americans with 30 running sets leading to a 35.3 kill percent.
Kiraly started Larson-Burbach and Hildebrand at outside hitter, Gibbemeyer and Paolini at middle blocker, Murphy at opposite and Glass at setter. Banwarth was the libero for the match. Hill was a sub for Hildebrand in the second set and started the third set. Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) and Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) were subs in all three sets.
Brazil out-blocked the U.S. 10-5 and held a 2-0 service ace margin. The Americans held a slim 43-41 margin in kills. However, Brazil converted 36.0 percent of its attacks.
"This was a disappointing start for our team," Hildebrand said. "Brazil is a great team and they showed it. We had chances to win both the first and second sets and didn't do it."
Brazil was led by Fernanda Rodrigues and Natalia Pereira with 13 points each.
In the first match on opening day, Dominican Republic defeated Thailand 25-23, 25-21, 25-23. The opening day’s action ends with Japan hosting Russia.
Earlier this year Brazil defeated the U.S. in four sets on Aug. 4 during the opening preliminary round weekend of the FIVB World Grand Prix in Campinas, Brazil. Later, Brazil swept the Americans on the opening day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round on Aug. 28 in Sapporo, Japan, and went on to win the event’s gold medal ending Team USA’s three consecutive titles.
The teams traded the first 14 points of the opening set until Gibbemeyer downed a kill to go up 8-7 at the first technical timeout, then Brazil hit wide to create the first two-point cushion for either team at 9-7. However, Brazil scored three unanswered points to take an 11-10 advantage into a USA timeout. The Americans regained the lead at 13-12 with a Glass setter dump and Gibbemeyer block. Brazil scored the first three points out of the second technical timeout to regain the lead at 18-16 prompting a second USA timeout. The Americans knotted the score at 19-al with a Paolini kill and Brazil attack into the net. Brazil scored three straight points to go up 23-20 late in the set. Team USA narrowed the gap to 23-22 with a Gibbemeyer kill and Brazil attack error. Larson-Burbach and Hildebrand scored back-to-back points to knot the score at 24-all.
Brazil earned the first two-point edge of the second set at 6-4 and went into the first technical timeout leading 8-5. Larson-Burbach scored two kills off the block following the break to cut the gap to 8-7, but Brazil answered with a kill and ace to push its lead back to three at 10-7. Larson-Burbach and Murphy collected back-to-back kills to close to 10-9. Team USA knotted the score at 12-all with kills from Murphy and Hildebrand, then went in front 14-12 as Brazil’s next two attacks went out for a 4-0 American scoring run. Out of its timeout, Brazil hit wide again at 15-12 for a fifth straight U.S. point on Jenna Hagglund’s serve. Brazil scored the next two points to reduce the gap to 15-14. Two USA miscues allowed Brazil to level the score at 19-all. Brazil saved a set point and regained the lead at 25-24 as the U.S. hit long. Out of a timeout, the U.S. hit long for a third straight Brazil point at 26-24.
The U.S. took an 8-4 lead in the third set with a Murphy kill, Glass block, Brazil attack error and Larson-Burbach block going into the first technical timeout on a 4-0 run. Out of the break Larson-Burbach pounded a kill of the block for a 9-4 advantage. Brazil secured six straight points, including three straight USA errors, to take the lead at 11-10 at the Americans’ second timeout in the run. Out of the break Brazil scored its seventh straight point for a two-point cushion at 12-10. Team USA stopped the run with a Gibbemeyer kill and Brazil error to tie the score at 12-all, then Hill hit down the line to give the Americans a 13-12. Brazil answered with six straight for a 18-13 advantage.
U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team for FIVB Volleyball Grand Champions Cup
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Spike, Block, Hometown, College)
1 - Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, 10-0, 9-10, Leland, Mich., Penn State University)
4 - Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, 10-6, 10-2, Los Angeles, Calif., University of Arizona)
5 - Tamari Miyashiro (L, 5-7, 9-4, 8-9, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington)
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 - Kristin Hildebrand – Captain (OH, 6-1, 9-10, 9-4, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
10 - Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, 9-11, 9-8, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska)
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)
20 - Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, 9-7, 9-6, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)
FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Grand Champions Cup Schedule
Nov. 12 - Nagoya, Japan
' Dominican Republic def. Thailand 25-23, 25-21, 25-23
Brazil def. USA 26-24, 26-24, 25-20
Japan vs. Russia, 7:10 p.m. (2:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 12)
Nov. 13 - Nagoya, Japan
Brazil vs. Thailand, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 12)
Russia vs. Dominican Republic, 4:10 p.m. (10:40 p.m. PT on Nov. 12)
United States vs. Japan, 7:10 p.m. (2:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 13)
Nov. 15 - Tokyo, Japan
Dominican Republic vs. Brazil, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 14)
United States vs. Russia, 4:10 p.m. (10:40 p.m. PT on Nov. 14)
Japan vs. Thailand, 7:10 p.m. (2:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 15)
Nov. 16 - Tokyo, Japan
United States vs. Thailand, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 15)
Russia vs. Brazil, 4:10 p.m. (10:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 15)
Japan vs. Dominican Republic, 7:10 p.m. (2:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 16)
Nov. 17 - Tokyo, Japan
United States vs. Dominican Republic, 12:10 p.m. (7:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 16)
Thailand vs. Russia, 3:10 p.m. (9:10 p.m. PT on Nov. 16)
Japan vs. Brazil, 6:10 p.m. (1:10 a.m. PT on Nov. 17)