Team USA Earns First Win at 2014 Worlds

Sept. 23, 2014, 3:03 p.m. (ET)

VERONA, Italy (Sept. 23, 2014) - The U.S. beat Mexico on Tuesday, 19-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-14 to kick off the first round of play at the FIVB Women’s World Championship at the Palaolimpia in Verona, Italy.

  Tori Dixon attacks against Mexico on Tuesday in Italy

The Americans will play five matches in six days, including a very quick turnaround for match No. 2. The U.S. faces Kazakhstan (0-1) tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. EDT).

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Mexico put a momentary scare into the young U.S. team, winning the first set 25-19, with a series of strong serves and hard attacks that found the U.S. team struggling. Mexican team captain Andrea Rangel scored nine points in the first set, including five kills, three blocks for points and one service ace. She ended up leading all scorers with 20 points.

“Mexico did a good job of coming at us,” middle blocker Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) said. “They definitely attacked us early. They brought us down a little bit, but I liked how this team responded in the last three sets. Mexico was just scrapping up all of our blocks and we just had to stay patient, keep going at them and hope that they’d crack eventually.”

Dixon was strong throughout the match, scoring 15 points with 11 kills on 16 attacks, plus a stuff block and three important aces, two in the fourth and final set. 

height: 15pt;">Head Coach Karch Kiraly started Olympian Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah), Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.), Rachael Adams (Cincinnati), Olympian Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) and Dixon; while resting 2013 USAV Player of the Year Alisha Glass, 2013-2014 leading scorer Kelly Murphy and others.

Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) was a key substitution, starting the final three sets.

“Kim came in and certainly did a nice job of calming us down in serve receive,” Kiraly said. “They had some nice serves coming in and we did a better job of controlling that.”

Hill was officially credited with 13 excellent receptions on 17 attempts while Robinson was credited with 13 on 19 attempts. Davis led the U.S. in digs with 21 and Robinson was credited with 16. 

Thompson was credited with 31 excellent sets on 99 attempts.

Dixon pointed out that “Kim and Kelsey did a really good job on the outside; they slowed down No. 5 (Rangel), which was huge for us. Everyone stepped up and did a really good job.”

Hill tied Dixon for the team lead in scoring, tallying her 15 points in the final two sets. Fawcett scored evenly throughout the match with 14 points on nine kills and five blocks. Adams was a dominant force in the middle, especially in the second set when she scored five points and had three blocks. Thompson closed the second serving for 10 straight points.

“Generally, we just executed our game plan a little better and got through those first set, I guess you could call them, jitters,” said Kiraly. “The good news is … we made some adjustments and we notched the W.

“But now we have a very quick turnaround; we are playing Kazakhstan in about 12 hours exactly.”

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 are in Pool C two-time defending World champions from Russia, along with Thailand, Netherlands, Kazakhstan and Mexico. The top four teams advance to the second round on Oct. 1-5.

First-Round Schedule (All times EDT)

Sept. 23: USA def Mexico, 19-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-14
Sept. 24 … Kazakhstan at 4:30 a.m.
Sept. 25 … Netherlands at 2 p.m.
Sept. 27 … Thailand at 2 p.m.
Sept. 28 … Russia at 2 p.m.

All first-round matches will be streamed live on Streaming plans for second round matches Oct. 1-5 will be announced.

Universal Sports will begin televising matches in the Final Round, Oct. 8-10, the semifinals (Oct. 11) and the medal matches (Oct. 12). These matches will be played in Milan at the Mediolanum Forum.

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