Italy Beats the U.S. in Three at Worlds

Oct. 08, 2014, 4:32 p.m. (ET)

MILAN, Italy (Oct. 8, 2014) – An inspired team from Italy, in front of a raucous, hometown crowd of 11,500, beat Team USA 25-23, 25-22, 25-20 to open the Final Round at the FIVB Women’s World Championship at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan.

The Americans will now face Russia on Thursday in a must-win match. The Russians, two-time defending champions, had a 17-match World winning streak broken by the U.S. in the first round. Russia then lost to Brazil and Turkey, needing a win against Serbia in the second-round finale to advance.

Italy will have a rest day on Thursday, and then play Russia on Friday.

Watch Team USA at Worlds
From Oct. 8-12, Universal Sports Network will air 15 hours of volleyball coverage showing all 10 final matches of the FIVB Women’s World Championships beginning at 4p Eastern. In addition, all final-round matches will be streamed live on

  • USA vs. RUS on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 4p ET on TV 

USAV World Site | FIVB World Site | FIVB Match Page | Official FIVB Stats | DataVolley Stats

Tonight’s Starting Line-up
Setter: Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.)
Opposite: Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.)
Middle Blocker: Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.), Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.)
Outside Hitter: Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.), Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.)
Libero: Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa)

Tonight’s Stat Leaders
Points: Kelly Murphy, 10; Jordan Larson-Burbach, 9; Kim Hill, 7
Kills: Kelly Murphy, 10 kills, 4 faults, 27 att.; Jordan Larson-Burbach, 9 kills, 0 faults, 25 att.
Blocks: Tori Dixon, 1; Kim Hill, 1
Aces: Nicole Fawcett, Jordan Larson-Burbach, Alisha Glass, Kim Hill, 1
Digs: Alisha Glass, 21; Kayla Banwarth, 11; Jordan Larson-Burbach, 9
Sets: Alisha Glass, 23 ‘running’ sets on 50 attempts
Excellent Receptions: Kayla Banwarth, 13 of 15 att.; Jordan Larson-Burbach, 13 of 23 att.

The first two sets were there for the taking for Team USA.

During this entire tournament, the U.S. has done an excellent job of closing out sets. In fact, a pattern developed. The set would be tied at 15 or 18 or 20, and then the U.S. would go on a run.

On Wednesday, the first set was tied at 17, thanks to a monster kill by Nicole Fawcett, who followed it up with an ace. Jordan Larson-Burbach took over with two kills and an ace and the U.S. went up 22-18 and had the momentum.

But Italy didn’t do something that other teams did. Italy didn’t break.

The hometown favorites followed the American 5-1 run with a 7-1 run of their own and they closed it out 25-23. 

“It was a really disappointing loss, in the sense that we had a 22-18 lead in the first set and a 22-20 in the second,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “We were in good position to win the first and second set … (but) we were unable to close it out. Normally under those conditions we are able to receive the other team’s serve well and run our offense and put the ball to the floor and finish out sets like that. We did not. They defended us well.”

Italy defended the Americans with digs, receiving, but mostly at the net, holding a 9-2 advantage in stuff blocks. “They did a fantastic job of just seeing our block and we had a difficult time defending it,” U.S. Captain Christa Dietzen said.

At one point, the U.S. Women had 18 blocking errors, where they had gotten tooled – the ball hitting the U.S. block and going out of bounds – with only one stuff. “We did not have a good blocking match,” Kiraly said. “Our block wasn’t great tonight. The Italians did a good job of using it to their advantage.”

After those two disappointing endings in the first and second set, the U.S. didn’t mount a strong enough comeback in the third. “Italy was awfully strong,” Kiraly said. “They had a great crowd behind them and I think they rode that. They were able to use that energy more than we were able to use it. I’m impressed with how well they played together as a team.”

And now Team USA faces Russia in a do-or-die match; 0-2 teams generally don’t advance to the semifinals. “We’ve got a big match tomorrow, so no dwelling on this,” Larson-Burbach said. “Focusing on our side a little bit more in this next match and doing what we do and that’s digging the ball at the net and running our system.”

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 Russia, Netherlands, Kazakhstan and Mexico in Verona. In the second round the U.S. competed in Pool F with Brazil, Serbia, Turkey and Bulgaria with two matches in Modena and Verona. For the third and Final Round, the U.S. are in Pool G with Italy and Russia with two teams advancing to the semifinals on Oct. 11.

Final-Round Matches (All times local)

Full Event Schedule

Oct. 8
Brazil vs. China … Brazil wins 25-19, 25-16, 25-15 | FIVB Match Page
USA vs. Italy … Italy wins 25-23, 25-22, 25-20 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page

Oct. 9
China vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30p | FIVB Match Page
USA vs. Russia, 8p | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page

Oct. 10
Brazil vs. Dominican Republic, 5:30p | FIVB Match Page
Italy vs. Russia, 8p | FIVB Match Page

Second-Round Results
Oct. 1 … Turkey … USA wins 27-29, 25-19, 25-23, 25-15 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Oct. 2 … Bulgaria … USA wins 25-17, 25-19, 25-16 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Oct. 4 … Serbia … USA wins 25-22, 25-20, 25-22 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Oct. 5 … Brazil … Brazil wins 25-23, 25-22, 25-21 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page

First-Round Results
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

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                                                                             

Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison, Marv Dunphy
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey                                                         

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