U.S. Women Sweep Korea in Grand Prix

By Bill Kauffman | Aug. 09, 2014, 2:24 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 9, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team out-blocked Korea 12-2 in a 25-15, 25-17, 25-16 victory in the FIVB World Grand Prix Pool D Saturday afternoon in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Team USA, now 3-2 with nine points, concludes Pool D in Sao Paulo against top-ranked Brazil (5-0, 15 points) on Sunday at 6 a.m. PT. The U.S. defeated Brazil, the two-time defending Olympic Games champion, four straight matches during the USA Volleyball Cup last month. Sunday’s match will be streamed live on Universal Sports. For details, click here.

The U.S. never trailed in the opening set as Korea scored on its served just three times in a 25-15 American victory. After Korea scored the opening point of the first set, Team USA scored four straight and built an 11-5 advantage in en route to a 25-17 victory that included six blocks and three aces in the set. The U.S. rallied from a 4-0 deficit in the third set to tie the frame at 6-all, then broke an 11-all tie with a 7-1 run to cruise to a 25-16 victory.

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The U.S. has climbed to fifth place in the standings after starting the tournament 0-2. Brazil is the only undefeated team in this year’s World Grand Prix preliminary round, while Italy and Turkey are tied for second place with 4-1 records and 10 points. China is in fourth place with 10 points and a 3-2 record. The top four teams from the 12-team Group 1 advance to the World Grand Prix Final Round Aug. 20-24 in Tokyo.

Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) led the U.S. with 15 points via 12 kills on 22 attacks and three blocks. Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) contributed eight kills on 20 errorless swings, three aces and two blocks for 13 points. Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) tacked on 10 points with five kills on 10 attacks, a match-high four blocks and an ace on match point for 10 points.

Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) pocketed seven points on six kills on nine errorless attacks and a block. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) turned in two kills and two blocks for four points, which was matched by Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.) with three kills and an ace. Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) rounded out the scoring with an ace.

“I am very happy with this win,” Glass said. “Korea is a very good team and they play in a different style. I am really proud of my team.”

According to the team’s unofficial DataVolley stats, Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) and Larson-Burbach were 69 percent positive on 13 service receptions each. Hill turned in a 56 percent positive reception percent on a team-best 18 chances to go with a team-leading four digs. Banwarth totaled a team-high 10 digs, while Hill added seven.

The U.S. converted 48.7 percent of its attacks into points with a .405 hitting efficiency (38-6-74). Meanwhile, Korea converted just 32.2 percent of its attacks with a .057 hitting efficiency (28-23-87). Team USA’s serve netted a 6-1 advantage in aces. The Americans held a 36-28 margin in kills and limited their errors to 17 for the match while taking advantage of 21 Korean errors. Korea managed a 33-30 margin in digs.

“The USA team served in the right places of the court and that was a key point for our win,” U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “We also showed good discipline. We knew that Kim (Yeon-Koung) is the most important player of Korea and we prepared ourselves to limit her efficiency in scoring.”

The U.S. started Hill and Larson-Burbach at outside hitter, Adams and Dixon at middle blocker, Murphy at opposite and Glass at setter. Banwarth was the starting libero. Thompson and Cassidy Lichtman (Poway, Calif.) were subs in all three sets.

Korean captain Kim Yeon-Koung scored a team-high 13 points.

Hill and Murphy scored consecutive kills to give the U.S. an early 3-1 lead in the opening set. The U.S. lead expanded to 6-3 with kills from Murphy and Dixon, but Korea answered with back-to-back points to close to 6-5. Dixon collected a kill and block to yield an 8-5 American lead at the first technical timeout. Out of the break Hill put up a block for a third straight U.S. point at 9-5. Dixon and Hill connected for consecutive kills sending Korea into a timeout trailing 11-6. Out of the break, Korea hit wide to extend the U.S. lead to 12-6. Murphy scored a kill and block followed by a Korea error to push the Americans to a 16-8 advantage at the second technical timeout. Korea cut the gap to 18-12 following a block. Dixon followed with a block and Korea hit wide to give the U.S. a 20-12 advantage. Dixon hammered a kill off the block, Korea followed with consecutive error and Glass gave the U.S. set points at 24-13 with a block. After Korea saved two set points, Glass put down the winner at 25-15. Murphy scored seven points in the set, while Dixon added five. Team USA held a 5-1 block advantage.

The U.S. scored four straight points with an Adams kill, two Larson-Burbach attacks and a Hill ace to give the Americans a 4-1 advantage. Team USA increased its lead to 6-2 with a Murphy kill and Dixon block. Consecutive U.S. errors cut the lead in half at 7-5. After a Korea service error, Hill pounded a kill and Larson-Burbach followed with an ace and Murphy hammered a winner to build the U.S. lead to 11-5. Korea called timeout trailing 13-6 after a Dixon kill and its own attack error. Out of the break Hill blocked a Korea attack to lift the advantage to 14-6. Korea answered with back-to-back points at 14-8. Team USA reached the second technical timeout leading 16-8 with a Glass setter dump and Murphy block. Hill served and ace as part of a 4-0 run with a Murphy block and two Korea errors at 20-9. Korea scored three unanswered points to cut the deficit to 22-14 at a Team USA timeout. Korea saved two set points before the U.S. finished off the frame with a 25-17 victory on a Korea error.

Korea scored the first four points of the third set. Hill stopped the run with a kill and Adams followed with a block to cut the gap in half at 4-2. The U.S. leveled the score at 6-all on a Korea attack error, but Korea scored back-to-back points to regain a two-point cushion at the first technical timeout. The U.S. squared the set at 9-all with consecutive Korea errors, then took the lead on a Hill kill at 10-9. Murphy hammered consecutive kills to send Korea into a timeout trailing 13-11. Out of the break, Thompson served an ace and Adams killed an overpass to increase the advantage to 15-11. Hill notched a kill and ace followed by a Larson-Burbach kill to extend the Team USA lead to 18-12. The U.S. advantage reached 24-16 with a Hill kill and two Korea errors. Dixon finished the set with an ace at 25-16.

The U.S. won the FIVB World Grand Prix title three consecutive years from 2010 to 2012, but are looking to bounce back from a disappointing sixth-place finish last year in Japan. The Americans have won the tournament five times, including 1995 and 2001. Ironically, all five Team USA titles have been earned in China.

For additional information on the FIVB World Grand Prix, click here.

U.S. Women’s National Team Preliminary Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix
(see legend for corresponding World Grand Prix Preliminary Round Roster)

# - Name (Position, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Alisha Glass ^# (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State)
2 – Kayla Banwarth ^# (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
3 – Courtney Thompson ^# (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington)
4 – Lauren Paolini (MB, 6-4, Ann Arbor, Mich., University of Texas)
5 – Tama Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington)
6 – Nicole Davis ^# (L, 5-4, Stockton, Calif., University of Southern California)
7 – Cassidy Lichtman ^# (OH, 6-1, Poway, Calif., Stanford University)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer ^# (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
9 – Kristin Hildebrand ^ (OH, 6-1, Orem, Utah, Stanford University)
10 – Jordan Larson-Burbach # (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska)
11 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, Bonsall, Calif., University of California-Berkeley)
12 – Kelly Murphy ^# (OPP, 6-2, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida)
13 – Christa Harmotto (MB, 6-2, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State)
14 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State)
15 – Kim Hill ^#  (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo ^# (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford University)
17 – Alix Klineman ^# (OPP, 6-5, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Stanford University)
18 – Bailey Webster (OPP, 6-3, Baltimore, Md., University of Texas)
19 – Kelsey Robinson ^# (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska)
20 – Jenna Hagglund (S, 5-10, West Chester, Ohio, University of Washington)
21 – Tori Dixon ^# (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota)
22 – Rachael Adams ^# (MB, 6-2, Cincinnati, Ohio, University of Texas)
^ = Weekend 1 (at Turkey); # = Weekend 2 (at Brazil); * = Weekend 3 (at Thailand); @ = Final Round (at Japan)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison, Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Team Manager: John Xie/Jamison Van Niel

2014 FIVB World Grand Prix Standings
Brazil (5-0, 15 points)
Italy (4-1, 10 points)
Turkey (4-1, 10 points)
China (3-2, 10 points)
USA (3-2, 9 points)
Germany (3-2, 8 points)
Serbia (2-3, 8 points)
Russia (2-3, 7 points)
Korea (2-3, 6 points)
Dominican Republic (1-4, 3 points)
Thailand (1-4, 2 points)
Japan (0-5, 2 point)

2014 FIVB World Grand Prix Schedule (1st Group)

Pool A (at Ankara, Turkey)
Aug. 1: Russia def. USA 22-25, 25-18, 25-20, 25-20
Aug. 1: Turkey def. Japan 29-27, 25-19, 25-21
Aug. 2: Russia def. Japan 25-23, 25-13, 24-26, 25-18
Aug. 2: Turkey def. USA 25-21, 27-29, 25-21, 20-25, 15-12
Aug. 3: USA def. Japan 25-27, 25-17, 25-22, 24-26, 15-11
Aug. 3: Turkey def. Russia 25-23, 29-27, 14-25, 18-25, 15-10

Pool B (at Ansan, Korea)
Aug. 1: Serbia def. Germany 26-24, 25-20, 25-15
Aug. 1: Korea def. Thailand 23-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-20
Aug. 2: Korea def. Germany 21-25, 25-20, 25-22, 25-21
Aug. 2: Thailand def. Serbia 25-19, 18-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13
Aug. 3: Serbia def. Korea 25-22, 26-24, 21-25, 25-9
Aug. 3: Germany def. Thailand 25-21, 25-22, 25-21

Pool C (at Sassari, Italy)
Aug. 1: Brazil def. China 25-21, 23-25, 25-17, 25-16
Aug. 1: Italy def. Dominican Republic 25-18, 25-23, 25-15
Aug. 2: China def. Dominican Republic 25-18, 25-21, 25-23
Aug. 2: Brazil def. Italy 25-21, 25-16, 25-15
Aug. 3: Brazil def. Dominican Republic 26-24, 25-19, 25-18
Aug. 3: Italy def. China 25-18, 18-25, 25-22, 18-25, 15-10

Pool D (at Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Aug. 8: USA def. Russia 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17
Aug. 8: Brazil def. Korea 25-16, 25-12, 25-15
Aug. 9: Brazil def. Russia 25-15, 25-21, 25-17
Aug. 9: USA def. Korea 25-15, 25-17, 25-16
Aug. 10: USA vs. Brazil, 6 a.m. PT
Aug. 10: Russia vs. Korea, 8:30 a.m. PT

Pool E (at Ankara, Turkey)
Aug. 8: Germany def. Serbia 25-21, 30-28, 25-18
Aug. 8: Dominican Republic def. Turkey 23-25, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22, 15-9
Aug. 9: Germany def. Dominican Republic 25-19, 19-25, 22-25, 25-16, 16-14
Aug. 9: Turkey def. Serbia 18-25, 25-19, 22-25, 25-20, 17-15
Aug. 10: Dominican Republic vs. Serbia, 6 a.m. PT
Aug. 10: Turkey vs. Germany, 9 a.m. PT

Pool F (at Hong Kong)
Aug. 8: Italy def. Japan 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, 20-25, 15-11
Aug. 8: China def. Thailand 29-27, 25-18, 20-25, 25-15
Aug. 9: Italy def. Thailand 25-19, 25-21, 25-23
Aug. 9: China def. Japan 25-16, 25-14, 25-22
Aug. 10: Japan vs. Thailand, 10:15 p.m. PT on Aug. 9
Aug. 10: China vs. Italy, 12:45 a.m. PT

Pool G (at Bangkok, Thailand)
Aug. 15: Thailand vs. Dominican Republic, 2 a.m. PT
Aug. 15: USA vs. Brazil, 4:30 a.m. PT
Aug. 16: Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, midnight PT
Aug. 16: USA vs. Thailand, 2:30 a.m. PT
Aug. 17: USA vs. Dominican Republic, midnight PT
Aug. 17: Thailand vs. Brazil, 2:30 a.m. PT

Pool H (at Kaliningrad, Russia)
Aug. 15: Turkey vs. Germany, 6:40 a.m. PT
Aug. 15: Russia vs. Italy, 10:10 a.m. PT
Aug. 16: Italy vs. Germany, 6:40 a.m. PT
Aug. 16: Russia vs. Turkey, 10:10 a.m. PT
Aug. 17: Italy vs. Turkey, 6:40 a.m. PT
Aug. 17: Germany vs. Russia, 10:10 a.m. PT

Pool I (at Macau, China)
Aug. 15: Japan vs. Serbia, 2 a.m. PT
Aug. 15: China vs. Korea, 5:30 a.m. PT
Aug. 16: Japan vs. Korea, 11:30 p.m. PT on Aug. 15
Aug. 16: China vs. Serbia, 2 a.m. PT
Aug. 17: Korea vs. Serbia, 10 p.m. PT on Aug. 16
Aug. 17: China vs. Japan, 12:30 a.m. PT