TOKYO, Japan (Nov. 16, 2013) – Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.) notched 23 points to lead the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team to a 13-25, 27-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-13 victory over Thailand Saturday afternoon on the fourth day of the six-team, round-robin FIVB Women’s World Grand Champions Cup in Tokyo.
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The U.S. improves to 3-1 in the tournament with seven points, while Thailand falls to 0-4 with one point. Team USA concludes the tournament on Sunday versus Dominican Republic at 12:10 p.m. local time (7:10 p.m. PT on Saturday). A U.S. victory likely assures the Americans a medal in the Grand Champions Cup, its first-ever podium spot in the event held every four years since 1993.
Thailand used a 16-4 run in the opening set to take a 23-12 advantage en route to a 25-13 victory. Thailand held a 5-1 block advantage in the first set. The U.S. overcame its slow start again in the second set and used a 3-0 run to take a 20-18 advantage and held on for a 27-25 victory after Thailand had tied the score at 22-all. The U.S. controlled the later stages of the third set by scoring the final seven of 10 points for a 25-22 victory. The fourth set was close throughout until the closing points as Thailand scored four of the last five points for a 25-21 victory. Team USA used a 3-0 run in the fifth set to build a 12-9 advantage and ended the match with a 15-13 victory.
Larson-Burbach totaled 21 kills and two blocks for her 23 points. Lauren Paolini (Ann Arbor, Mich.) added 16 points with 14 kills and two blocks. Cursty Jackson (Los Angeles) totaled 12 kills and three blocks off the bench. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) chipped in 11 points with nine kills and two blocks in a reserve role.
Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) charted nine points, including eight kills and an ace, in starting the final four sets. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) tallied two blocks and a kill for three points, while Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minn.) turned in three blocks. Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) scored a kill and ace for two points, while Jenna Hagglund (West Chester, Ohio) rounded out the scoring with an ace.
Glass was credited with 54 running sets leading to a 37.9 USA kill percent and .286 hitting efficiency (69-17-182). Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) tallied a team-high nine digs and 14 excellent receptions, while Fawcett added six digs. Lichtman totaled 27 excellent receptions on 43 chances with just on error.
“First, congratulations to Thailand,” U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “They play a special style of volleyball. They play with great heart and a lot of fun, and that’s beautiful for volleyball – and hard when you’re across the net. It was another tough battle for us, but again USA had a wonderful team effort. Every one of our 12 athletes made an important contribution for our win today. The Thai style is one of great energy and smiles and also great fighting spirit. They also run into different areas on the court and that’s designed to confuse opposing blockers, and that worked plenty of times today.”
Kiraly started Larson-Burbach and Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) at outside hitter, Gibbemeyer and Paolini at middle blocker, Murphy at opposite and Glass at setter. Banwarth was the libero for the match. Jackson, Lichtman and Fawcett all started the final four sets, while Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) was a sub in all five sets. Hagglund was a serving sub in the final four sets.
Team USA held an 11-9 advantage in blocks and both teams served three aces. Thailand managed a 72-69 edge in kills and limited its errors to 18 for the match compared to USA’s 26. Thailand held a .321 hitting efficiency (72-18-168) and a 42.9 kill percent.
“First, congratulations to Thailand,” U.S. captain Hildebrand. “I think they did a remarkable job defensively in extending rallies and that made it difficult for us. For USA, it was a great team effort and a great win for us.”
Onuma Sittirak led Thailand with a match-high 28 points, while Pleumjit Thinkaow and Wilavan Apinyapong added 14 points each.
“Today was a wonderful game for us,” Thailand Head Coach Kiattipong Radchatagriengkai said. “I really liked both teams as they showed good spirit and performances. I’m satisfied with my players and agree that we played better than the last game. Also, USA had good strategy, a good setter, good staff and a good coach. It was hard for us to block and to attack to get points, but we’ll learn from today and improve for the next game.”
Later today Brazil (3-0, 9 points) challenges Russia (1-2, 4 points) and Japan (2-1, 6 points) hosts Dominican Republic (1-2, 3 points).
The first set had four lead changes when Murphy scored a kill and ace to give the Americans an 8-7 advantage at the first technical timeout. Thailand turned in a 6-1 scoring run to assume a 14-10 advantage. Thailand extended its advantage to 23-12 with a 9-1 run and went on to win 25-13.
Thailand reached the first technical timeout of the second set leading 8-6, the first two-point cushion of the set. The U.S. answered with kills from Paolini and Larson-Burbach to tie the set at 8-all. Jackson downed a kill and Thailand followed with an error to yield an 11-10 American advantage. Team USA stretched its advantage to 14-12 with a Jackson kill and Lichtman kill coming off a terrific Jackson dig. The U.S. reached the second technical timeout leading 16-13after a Fawcett kill and Paolini block. Thailand came out of the break with an ace around two U.S. errors to knot the score at 16-all. Out of a USA timeout, Thailand scored a fourth straight point to take the lead at 17-16. Team USA battled back to take the lead at 19-18 with kills from Glass and Larson-Burbach, then Thailand hit long prompting it to call timeout down 20-18. Thailand tied the set with a block at 22-all.
Team USA built an early 5-1 lead in the third set with a 4-0 run that included a Glass block and Larson-Burbach kill around two Thailand errors. After the teams traded 2-0 runs, the U.S. went into the first technical timeout leading 8-5 on a Jackson block. Thailand scored three unanswered points to level the score at 13-all. The U.S. answered with kills from Larson-Burbach and Fawcett for a 15-13 margin, only to have Thailand score three unanswered to take a 16-15 lead into the second technical timeout. Thailand increased its lead to 18-16. Team USA answered with a Paolini block and Hagglund ace to tie the set at 18-all. Team USA swung the lead to its side at 20-19 with kills from Paolini and Larson-Burbach. Out of a Thailand timeout, Glass put up a block to extend the USA lead to 21-19. The U.S. increased its advantage to 23-20 with a Larson-Burbach kill and block. Larson-Burbach ended the set with a cross-court winner at 25-22.
The U.S. broke a 7-all tie in the fourth set with a Thailand error followed by a kill and block from Paolini prompting Thailand to call timeout down 10-7. Thailand came out of the break with three unanswered points to square the set at 10-all. Thailand reversed the lead to its side at 13-12. Thailand extended its margin to 17-15 with points on each side of the second technical timeout. However, Paolini hit a kill off the block after a Thailand error to tie the set at 17-all. Thailand served an ace to force Team USA into a timeout trailing 20-18. Thailand built a three-point cushion at 23-20 and went on to win 25-21.
Thailand scored the first two points of the fifth set, but Paolini and Larson-Burbach answered with kills to tie the score and Lichtman followed with an ace to give the Americans a 3-2 advantage. Thailand responded with three straight points to reverse the lead to its side at 5-3. Out of a USA timeout, Thailand committed an error and Larson-Burbach found open space for a kill to tie the set at 5-all. Thailand reached the side switch leading 8-6 with consecutive points. The U.S. bounced back to tie the set at 8-all with kills from Larson-Burbach and Fawcett, then Jackson spiked a kill off the block to yield a 9-8 American advantage. The U.S. expanded its lead to 12-9 with kills from Fawcett and Lichtman after a Thailand attack error. Thailand trimmed its deficit to 12-11 with consecutive points heading into a USA timeout. Gibbemeyer skipped an attack off the block to give the U.S. a 13-11 advantage. Lichtman gave the U.S. match-point opportunities with a kill at 14-12. Larson-Burbach ended the set with a kill at 15-13.
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 def. Russia 25-20, 26-28, 25-16, 26-24
Nov. 13 - Nagoya, Japan
Brazil def. Thailand 25-18, 25-17, 25-17
Russia def. Dominican Republic 25-14, 22-25, 25-23, 25-15
United States def. Japan 25-19, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21
Nov. 15 - Tokyo, Japan
Brazil def. Dominican Republic 25-20, 25-15, 22-25, 25-19
United States def. Russia 16-25, 25-22, 25-19, 24-26, 15-13
Japan def. Thailand 25-20, 29-27, 25-22
Nov. 16 - Tokyo, Japan
United States def. Thailand 13-25, 27-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-13
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)