Back to Verona at Worlds

Oct. 03, 2014, 11:57 a.m. (ET)

VERONA, Italy (Oct. 3, 2014) - In a three-week tournament of 24 teams, you don’t want to get ahead of yourself. One day at a time, one game at a time. So while head coach Karch Kiraly and the team are prepping and resting for today’s practice, let’s take a look at the pools. The six of the remaining 16 teams move on and there are two matches left for each. The U.S. and China have claimed two of the six spots.

The Pools
The top three teams from each pool will advance to the final round in Milan. A reminder, a 3-0 or 3-1 win scores three points for the victors; a 3-2 win scores two points for the winner and one for the loser. Points scored in the first round against teams that did not advance to the second round are not carried forward.

Pool E
*China, 14 points
Italy, 13
Dominican Republic, 11
Japan, 8
Croatia, 5
Belgium, 4
Germany 3
Azerbaijan, 2

Pool F
*USA, 15 points
Brazil, 14
Serbia, 11
Russia, 10
Turkey, 4
Bulgaria, 3
Netherlands, 3
Kazakhstan, 0
*Qualified for Final Round

Team USA: Undefeated 
“I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said head coach Karch Kiraly of the Americans’ fast start and sunny 7-0 record. But the coach knows that in the effort to win a major championship a little rain must fall. 

"I know at some point adversity will strike,” Kiraly said. “It must. You cannot win a tournament like this without facing down very serious adversity. We haven’t had ours yet, but I’m sure it will come. It could be losing the first two sets and having to try and come back, it could be losing a match, I don’t know what it is, we’ll face something serious and it’s pretty easy seeing it coming on the horizon because we just keep facing better and better teams.

“We have one coming with Serbia (6-1) and one with Brazil (7-0). Those teams are playing really good volleyball.”

Serbia (6-1) … Oct. 4 (5p local) … ranked eighth in the world, finished the first round 4-1. They earned a bronze medal at the 2006 World Championship and were eighth in 2010. Winners of the European League in 2009-11, Serbia earned bronze medals at the 2011 and 2013 World Grand Prix Finals

First Round: Turkey, W, 3-1; Bulgaria, W, 3-2; Cameroon, W, 3-0; Canada, W, 3-1; Brazil, L, 1-3
Second Round: Netherlands, W, 3-0; Kazakhstan, W, 3-0;

Karch Comments: “Serbia is just a good volleyball team. They see the game well. They read better than most. They’re blockers do a pretty good job. Our offense will be hard-pressed to have the same kind of success it did tonight, but Serbia’s offense will be hard-pressed to have the same kind of success it’s had with other teams because we’ll stress them a little. It will be a battle maybe not unlike the battle we had with Russia, where it was two different styles coming at each other, making for an epic game of volleyball.”

Brazil (7-0) … Oct. 5 (8p local) … ranked first in the world, two-time defending Olympic champions, defeating the Americans in the final both times; silver medalists at the last two World Championships, losing to Russia in both finals. Brazil won the 10th World Grand Prix title in 2014.

First Round: Bulgaria, W, 3-0; Cameroon, W, 3-0; Canada, W, 3-0; Turkey, W, 3-2; Serbia, W, 3-1
Second Round: Kazakhstan, W, 3-0; Netherlands, W, 3-1

Karch Comments: “Brazil is one of the great franchises in the world. Where they came from was not very much in the 70s, a little like the USA and now both programs on the women’s side and on the men’s side have had lots of success. Something we’re hungry for on the women’s side is just a little bit more than we’ve had. We’ve had lots of silver, looking for some gold at one of these big events. This would be a chance to make history here, but that’s far, far down the road in the days to come.

“They’re always in it. They are hungry to win because they’ve never won one of these World titles either. They’re hungry, like we’re hungry, to do something that’s never been done before.”

The U.S. has won two silvers (2002, 1967) and two bronze medals (1990, 1982) at the World Championships. Brazil finished second to Russia in 2006 and 2010.

A little bit about Kelsey Robinson

How did you start playing volleyball?
“I started playing volleyball as cross-training for basketball. I wanted to play basketball in college, I played basketball up until my sophomore year in high school. I thought I could have a career in volleyball and actually go far in it. So, I decided to give up basketball.”

Is your family athletic?
“My family is the most athletic-sports family there is. They encouraged me at a young age to play sports. We would get together with relatives and play softball, basketball, baseball… any game that we could find. We were always competing. I have an older sister, and it was always about beating her and being better than her. She really helped me be competitive.”

Have any lucky charms?
“I wear the numbers 9 and 23 on my shoes, and I also have lucky spandex.”

What life lessons have you learned from volleyball?
“You are always going to have adversity in life. You have to decide if you are going to keep going and get over. That’s why I stuck with sports, because I love being faced with a challenge and getting down to the wire. It’s 24-23, you’re in their gym … you have to pull it out and find a way to win. “

Would you like to play on 2016 Olympic Team?
“That would be the ultimate dream to represent our country at the Olympics.”

U.S. Stat Leaders 

Scorers
88 | Kim Hill, 71 kills, 7 blocks, 9 aces
85 | Kelly Murphy, 75 kills, 6 blocks, 4 aces
53 | Jordan Larson-Burbach, 36 kills, 9 blocks, 8 aces
49 | Tori Dixon, 34 kills, 8 blocks, 7 aces
49 | Christa Dietzen, 30 kills, 17 blocks, 2 aces

Kills
75 | Kelly Murphy… leads in the tournament kill percent at 51.
72 | Kim Hill
36 | Jordan Larson-Burbach

Blocks
17 | Christa Dietzen
9 | Jordan Larson-Burbach
9 | Nicole Fawcett

Aces
9 | Kim Hill … tied for fifth-most in the tournament
8 | Jordan Larson-Burbach, Alisha Glass
7 | Tori Dixon

Sets
168 running, 268, still, 7.00 per set | Alisha Glass … ranks second overall in set percent/set
67, running, 118 still, 2.79 per set | Courtney Thompson

Digs
75, 3.13/set | Kayla Banwarth … ranks ninth overall in digs/set percentage.
57, 2.38/set | Kim Hill
44, 1.83/set | Alisha Glass

Receptions
86 excellents, 123 att., 65.84 efficiency | Kayla Banwarth … ranks fourth overall in efficiency
95 excellents, 152 att., 59.21 efficiency | Kim Hill … ranks 10th overall in efficiency