MODENA, Italy (Oct. 1, 2014) – Following an emotionally charged win over the defending champions from Russia, the U.S. Women took on a tough Turkey team who needed a win on Wednesday to have a hope of moving on at the FIVB World Championship.
In front of a subdued crowd, the Americans generated just enough energy to down the Turks in four and remain undefeated at 6-0, but it was not a win easily taken.
Turkey won the first set 29-27, after the U.S. got up 21-16 and could have taken the third set, but the U.S. tallied the victory (27-29, 25-19, 25-23, 25-15), earning Team USA three points.
Teams get three points for wins of 3-0 or 3-1 and two points for a win of 3-2. Losing 2-3 earns a team one point. Points against first round opponents that don’t advance are dropped; the U.S. was the only country of 16 to carry the maximum nine points.
Turkey came into the second round with wins over Cameroon and Canada. It took Brazil to five sets, before losing. So per tournament rules, the Turks carried over one point.
Win-loss records and accumulated points determine who qualifies for the final round of six teams.
Other Results: Dominican Republic-Belgium 3-2, Croatia-Japan, 3-2, Serbia-Netherlands, 3-0, Brazil-Kazakhstan 3-0. Other Matches: Italy vs. Azerbaijan, Germany vs. China, and Bulgaria vs. Russia.
The U.S. will now take on Bulgaria on Tuesday at 8 p.m. local time.
Tonight’s Starting Line-up
Setter: Alicia Glass (Leland, Mich.)
Opposite: Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.)
Middle Blocker: Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.), Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.)
Outside Hitter: Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.), Olympian Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.)
Libero: Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa)
Tonight’s Stat Leaders
Points: Kelly Murphy, Kim Hill, 19
Kills: Kelly Murphy, 16 on 30 attempts; Kim Hill, 12 on 34; Foluke Akinradewo, 10 on 19
Blocks: Christa Dietzen, 4; Kelly Murphy, Kim Hill, 3
Aces: Kim Hill, 4; Nicole Fawcett, 1
Digs: Kayla Banwarth, 15; Kim Hill, 13; Alisha Glass, 9
Sets: Alisha Glass, 41 ‘running’ sets on 96 attempts
Excellent Receptions: Banwarth, 18 on 22 attempts; Hill, 13 on 28 attempts
The U.S. lost to Turkey at the 2014 FIVB Grand Prix Finals in five in a match that saw a lot of U.S. errors. Head Coach Karch Kiraly made improving the service game a priority.
“We’ve worked hard at the service line and I think that helped us tonight to be more effective at setting up our block and defense,” said Kiraly.
| Christa Dietzen attacks against Turkey on Wednesday.
The U.S. put 96 percent of its serves in the court, only missing on four in four sets.
“We saw Alicia Glass go on a really nice service run,” Kiraly said. “We saw Kelsey Robinson go on a really nice service run, breaking that fourth set open. Lots of good things happening at the service line and it was also very effective and a pivotal part of our victory against Russia.”
The good things include putting pressure on the Turks to score on high balls to the outside against two blockers, taking their middle attack out of the game. And the Americans out blocked Turkey 14-7.
In addition to the service game, “we’ve got some young people who can come in and deliver as we expect,” Kiraly said. “Tonight’s turn was for Kelsey Robinson and she did a tremendous job stepping in for Jordan (with 6 kills, 7 digs, 2 blocks, 9 excellent receptions). Tori Dixon can play lots of roles too; she came in at the service line and did some good serves.
“Both of them are only in their first few months with USA; they only joined in May. They’ve been with the program five months. They are not the only ones, but they are two examples of the bright future that lies ahead with this team.”
Kim Hill has been on the team a lot longer than five months. She’s in her second season with the program after trying out for the team in February 2013.
“She was the rock star of that tryout,” Kiraly said. “We thought wow, we've got to get her in the gym and here she is starting at World Championships just a year-and-a-half later.
“There are so many facets to her game, including a really tough serve at the service line. She uses her height very well, so the ball’s almost coming down at passers, but … hitter, blocker, passer, defender … she can set. She is the prototype of what we need in that position. As an outside hitter, you have to be well-rounded. She’s one of our well-rounded outside hitters.
On Wednesday, Hill was at or near the top of virtually all stat categories for the U.S. tonight: 19 points, 12 kills, 3 blocks, 4 aces, 13 digs and excellent receptions. For the first six games, she leads the team in scoring and kills.
“There are so many good players in our USA gym who are well-rounded in everything, so it’s a matter of them pushing me to get better in different areas,” Hill said. “All of us know we’ve got to do our job; it’s not about being great at one thing, it’s about being well-rounded.”
Captain Christa Dietzen thinks the young, well-rounded American depth will help the team in this long tournament. “I think it’s huge to have depth – Kelsey came in for Jordan today – I think that’s huge going into this homestretch. We are really excited to be undefeated, but you’ve just got to continue to focus on the future.”
“We didn't play our best volleyball today, but that was an important win for us. Turkey is a strong team, so it’s a good win, but now we are focused on Bulgaria.”
The World Championship, held every four years, is the largest FIVB major championship with 24 teams competing in four groups. In the first round, the Americans played in Pool C with two-time defending champions Russia, along with Thailand, Netherlands, Kazakhstan and Mexico. In the second round the U.S. will compete in Pool F against Brazil, Serbia, Turkey and Bulgaria. The U.S. will play two matches in Modena (Oct. 1-2) and Verona (Oct. 4-5).
Second-Round Matches (All times local)
Oct. 1 … Turkey at 5 p.m. … USA wins 27-29, 25-19, 25-23, 25-15 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Oct. 2 … Bulgaria at 8 p.m. …
Oct. 4 … Serbia at 5 p.m. …
Oct. 5 … Brazil at 8 p.m. …
Sept. 23 … Mexico … USA wins 19-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-14 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Sept. 24 … Kazakhstan … USA wins 25-15, 25-20, 25-22 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Sept. 25 … Netherlands … USA wins 29-27, 25-21, 25-18 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Sept. 27 … Thailand … USA wins 25-15, 25-23, 25-20 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Sept. 28 … Russia … USA wins 34-32, 25-19, 29-31, 26-24 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Live Streaming on UniversalSports.com
Second-round matches will be streamed live on UniversalSports.com. Television broadcasts begin on Oct. 8 through the title match on Oct. 12. Universal Sports will show 10 matches with special taped 90-minute editions on the same day of the match. Two matches will be shown back-to-back for three hours of volleyball coverage beginning at 4 p.m. ET on Oct. 8-12.
Oct. 1 … USA vs. Turkey … 5 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET | Brazil vs. Kazakhstan … 8 p.m. local / 2 p.m. ET
Oct. 2 … Brazil vs. Netherlands … 5 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET | USA vs. Bulgaria … 8 p.m. local / 2 p.m. ET
Oct. 4 … USA vs. Serbia … 5 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET | Brazil vs. Russia … 8 p.m. local / 2 p.m. ET
Oct. 5 … Russia vs. Serbia … 5 p.m. local / 11 a.m. ET | USA vs. Brazil … 8 p.m. local / 2 p.m. ET
TEAM USA | 2014 FIVB World Championships
# - Name … Position … Height … Hometown … College
1 – Alisha Glass … Setter … 6-0 … Leland, Mich. … Penn State
2 – Kayla Banwarth … Libero … 5-10 … Dubuque, Iowa … Nebraska
3 – Courtney Thompson … Setter … 5-8 … Kent, Wash. … Washington
6 – Nicole Davis … Libero … 5-4 … Stockton, Calif. … USC
9 – Kristin Hildebrand … Outside Hitter … 6-1 … Orem, Utah … Stanford
10 – Jordan Larson-Burbach … Outside Hitter … 6-2 … Hooper, Neb. … Nebraska
12 – Kelly Murphy … Opposite … 6-2 … Wilmington, Ill. … Florida
13 – Christa Dietzen … Middle Blocker … 6-2 … Hopewell Township, Pa. … Penn State
14 – Nicole Fawcett … Opposite … 6-4 … Zanesfield, Ohio … Penn State
15 – Kim Hill … Outside Hitter … 6-4 … Portland, Ore. … Pepperdine
16 – Foluke Akinradewo … Middle Blocker … 6-3 … Plantation, Fla. … Stanford
19 – Kelsey Robinson … Outside Hitter … 6-2 … Bartlett, Ill. … Nebraska
21 – Tori Dixon … Middle Blocker … 6-3 … Burnsville, Minn. … Minnesota
22 – Rachael Adams … Middle Blocker … 6-2 … Cincinnati, Ohio … Texas
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Doctors: Dr. Andrew Gregory and Dr. William Stetson
Medical Support: Dustin Glass
Consultant Coaches: David Hunt, Jamison Van Niel
Team Manager: Denise Sheldon