VICTORY! U.S. Women Win First World Championship

By Charlie Snyder | Oct. 12, 2014, 5:18 p.m. (ET)

To read more quotes from players and staff, visit http://bit.ly/101214Quotes

MILAN, Italy (Oct. 12, 2014) – Team USA made history on Sunday,  beating China 3-1 (27-25, 25-20, 16-25, 26-24) and winning the first world championship gold medal for the U.S. Women’s program at the FIVB World Championship at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan.

U.S. Women's National Team
  The U.S. Women's National Team and staff celebrate their World Championship win.

The U.S. Women had never before won gold at any of the three major international volleyball events: World Championship, World Cup or Olympic Games.

Kim Hill, who was discovered at the Women’s National Team’s annual open tryout in February 2013, was named the tournament “Best Spiker” and “Most Valuable Player.” She led the U.S. in the decisive title match with 20 points, going 19 on 31 attempts with only one fault. She also had 13 digs and 25 excellent receptions on 39 attempts.

"I feel ecstatic and happy and just cannot believe it is real," Hill said. "The award was a surprise and I still cannot believe it either, it is just amazing. Tonight it is everything. Eating, drinking and we are just going to celebrate being together."

Alisha Glass was named the tourney’s “Best Setter.” She had 36 running sets, 53 still sets and four faults.

“I can’t find the words," Glass said. "I am incredibly proud of this team, of the USA Volleyball organization, everybody that played a part. It was such a team win. We did something that’s never been done. This is only the beginning. We’re going to get better and better."

U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly became the fourth person to win a World Championship gold medal as both a player and a coach. He won as a player at the 1986 World Championship in Paris.

"We came here to make history and we made it," Kiraly said. "It was a tough battle. I would like to congratulate Lang Ping and her team. They played a marvelous tournament. After we got a 2-0 lead we knew China would never give up. It was a battle to the end and they have some great young players, as do we. I hope that we will be playing against each other in the future. It is just good for the sport to have teams with such history performing at a high level."

Captain and middle blocker Christa (Harmotto) Dietzen, who had knee surgery in December, dominated the net with 15 points and seven crucial blocks. She was not 100 percent in this tournament. She hadn’t played with the National Team since May. But Sunday, she and fellow Olympian Foluke Akinradewo, gave the U.S. a 14-9 advantage in blocks. Akinradewo scored 14, with 9 kills on 15 attempts, with three blocks and two aces. (Sunday was Dietzen’s birthday.)

Opposite Kelly Murphy scored 13, 11 of 39 attempts, with two blocks.

The three majors are the Olympic Games, the World Cup, and the World Championships, which began for women in 1952. The U.S. has earned two silvers (1967 and 2002) at Worlds and three at the Olympic Games (1984, 2006, 2010).

The day was full of more history. Kiraly won his first of three Olympic gold medals 30 years ago in Los Angeles as an indoor player. China’s coach, “Jenny” Lang Ping also won a gold medal in the 1984 Games as her team beat the United States for the Olympic crown. Lang Ping coached Team USA to a silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

On the road to Sunday's title match, this young U.S. squad with five players in their first or second season with the National Team, defeated Russia, the two-time defending World champion, twice, and Brazil, the two-time defending Olympic champion in the semifinals.

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

Sunday’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)

Sunday’s Stat Leaders
Points: Kim Hill, 20; Christa Dietzen, 15; Foluke Akinradewo, 14
Kills: Kim Hill, 19 kills, 1 faults, 31 att.; Kelly Murphy, 11 kills, 8 faults, 39 att.
Blocks: Christa Dietzen, 7, Foluke Akinradewo, 3
Aces: Foluke Akinradewo, Jordan Larson-Burbach, 2
Digs: Kayla Banwarth, 17; Jordan Larson-Burbach, 14; Kim Hill, Alisha Glass, 13
Sets: Alisha Glass, 36 ‘running’ sets on 93 attempts
Excellent Receptions: Kim Hill, 25 of 39; Kayla Banwarth, 17 of 28 att.; Kim Hill, 10 of 23 att.

UniversalSports.com, Universal Sports Network
Oct. 12                
BRA vs. ITA | 4-5:30p ET, TV
USA vs. CHN | 5:30-7p ET, TV

China has won two Olympic (1984, 2004), three World Cup (1981, 1985, 2003) and two World titles (1982, 1986). Coach Ping played on four of those title-winning teams and she served as the U.S. women’s head coach at the 2008 Olympic Games. 

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 round, the U.S. played Italy, Russia, Brazil, and China.

Follow along with @USAVolleyball and #FIVBWomensWCH on Twitter and Instagram.

Gold-Medal Match
Oct. 12 … USA vs. China … USA wins 27-25, 25-20, 16-25, 26-24 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page

Third-Round Matches
Oct. 8 … USA vs. Italy … Italy wins 25-23, 25-22, 25-20 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Oct. 9 … USA vs. Russia … USA wins 25-19, 25-23, 15-25, 25-23 | USAV Story | FIVB Match Page
Oct. 11 … USA vs. Brazil … USA wins 28-18, 29-27, 25-20 | USAV Story | 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