MATSUMOTO, Japan (Aug. 22, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, opened its FIVB World Cup 11-match slate by defeating No. 10 Korea 25-15, 25-22, 25-15 Saturday afternoon in Matsumoto, Japan.
Team USA returns to action on Sunday evening against No. 8 Serbia at 6:40 p.m. local time (2:40 a.m. PT). The match, as with all Team USA contests at the World Cup, can be watch live online at universalsports.com/Olympics as well as on a tape-delay basis on its Universal Sports television.
“Korea is a very strong team and one of the best in the region, and they have one of the best outside hitters in the world in No. 10 (YK Kim), so we faced some great challenges today,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “But we also found that we can get better at many things and we must before tomorrow.”
Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) led the U.S. with 15 points on nine kills via 13 errorless attacks, four aces and two blocks. Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.), selected as the most outstanding player of the match, added 13 points with 11 kills on 20 swings and two aces. She contributed a team-best 16 excellent receptions on 26 chances. Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) collected 12 points, all on kills coming from 22 attacks.
"It is really exciting to get the win," Akinradewo said. "We have been working really hard this past training block. I am glad that we are able to get out there and show what we are working on."
Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) charted nine points with six kills on eight errorless swings and two blocks. Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.) tallied four kills on nine attacks, three aces and a block for eight points to go with a team-high seven digs. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), a sub in all four sets, turned in three blocks and two kills for five points.
“Korea is a good team and throws different things at us, so we had to focus on keeping the USA game the USA game,” Hill said. “And we concentrated on keeping adjusted and staying focused throughout the match.”
Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.), playing her first match for Team USA in 2015, turned in block and kill for two points while leading the Americans to a 55.6 kill percent and .432 hitting efficiency (45-10-81) with 28 running sets on 51 set attempts. Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) added nine running sets in the victory as part of the double sub in all three sets. Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) was credited with five digs and eight excellent receptions on nine chances.
Team USA’s service game was too much for Korea as the Americans had an 10-1 ace advantage that also led to a 45-30 kill margin. The Americans had nine blocks to the Koreans’ eight. Team USA held Korea to a 39.0 kill percent and .208 hitting efficiency (30-14-77).
"Korea is a very good team, especially when they are in system," Akinradewo said. "That was one of our goals and focus of ours to up our serving pressure throughout the season. We all did a great job today in having a flat, clean serve."
The U.S. held Korea’s YK Kim, one of the best outside hitters in the world, to 10 points in the match as Hee-Jin Kim led the squad with 11 points.
“We haven’t had the chance to play Korea much,” U.S. captain Christa Dietzen said. “They pose a number of challenges and have strengths such as a number of players being able to play in multiple positions. But we handled that challenge well. I think that’s one of the strengths of our team to be able to handle adversity.”
The U.S. took an early 5-1 lead in the opening set with Dixon scoring an ace followed by a Lowe kill. Korea closed the gap to 6-4, but Team USA answered with a Larson-Burbach kill and Korean error to reach the first technical timeout leading 8-4. The U.S. went up 10-4 with an Akinradewo block and ace by Larson-Burbach. The Americans scored a fifth straight point on an Akinradewo block. Team USA extended its advantage to 14-5 with an Akinradewo kill and two aces. Korea prompted USA to call timeout after closing the deficit to five points, 17-12. Despite the challenges by Korea, USA finished out the set strong with a 25-15 victory that included five aces and a 3-2 block advantage. Akinradewo scored six points in the set, including three aces.
Korea started the second set with a 3-0 lead before a Hill kill stopped the run. Team USA battled back to tie the score at 7-all as Dixon put a roll shot over the block. Korea answered with four unanswered points to grab an 11-7 advantage. After Korea went up 15-11, Fawcett launched a rocket kill, Larson-Burbach followed with an ace and Akinradewo downed a kill to cut the deficit to 15-14. Larson-Burbach served a second ace in the run to level the score at 15-all. Hill notched back-to-back kills to yield Team USA’s first lead of the set at 18-17. Consecutive Korea errors gave the Americans a two-point cushion at 20-18. The U.S. inched the lead to 23-20 and Akinradewo gave the Americans set points at 24-21. Hill ended the set with a kill at 25-22.
Dixon gave the Americans a 2-0 lead in the third set followed a monster block. Akinradewo hammered an overpass to push Team USA’s lead to 5-1. Akinradewo hit a slide extending the U.S. lead to 8-4 at the first technical timeout. Korea cut its deficit to one at 9-8 with an ace by Kim Sui-Ji. Dixon answered with a kill and block to jump the American lead to 11-8, only to have Korea score the next two points to come to within 11-10. Team USA took control with 11 of the next 13 points including two aces by Hill and two blocks from Akinradewo to take a 22-12 lead. Team USA finished the match a block at 25-15.
The Americans challenge China on Monday at 6:40 p.m. (2:40 a.m. PT). After an off day, Team USA faces Peru on Aug. 26 and Algeria on Aug. 27. After two off days, the Americans resume play in Okayama against Kenya on Aug. 30, Argentina on Aug. 31 and Cuba on Sept. 1. Team USA concludes the World Cup in Nagoya with matches against Russia on Sept. 4, Japan on Sept. 5 and Dominican Republic on Sept. 6.
U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team Roster for FIVB World Cup
# - Name (Position, Ht, Hometown, College)
1 – Alisha Glass (S, 6-0, Leland, Mich., Penn State University)
2 – Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (MB, 6-2, St. Paul, Minn., University of Minnesota)
10 – Jordan Larson-Burbach (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., University of Nebraska)
11 – Megan Easy (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State University)
13 – Christa Dietzen (MB, 6-2, Hopewell Township, Pa., Penn State University)
14 – Nicole Fawcett (OPP, 6-4, Zanesfield, Ohio, Penn State University)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine University)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (MB, 6-3, Plantation, Fla., Stanford University)
17 – Natalie Hagglund (L, 5-9, Encinitas, Calif., University of Southern California)
18 – Molly Kreklow (S, 5-9, Delano, Minn., University of Missouri)
21 – Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska)
25 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., UCLA)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison and Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Team Manager: Denise Sheldon
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek
Team Doctors: Dr. William Briner, Jr. and Dr. Andrew Gregory
Consultant Coaches: Marv Dunphy and David Hunt
2015 FIVB World Cup Schedule (Local Time/ET Time – Television Time on Universal)
Aug. 22: USA def. Korea 25-15, 25-22, 25-15
Aug. 23: USA vs. Serbia (6:40 p.m./5:40 a.m. – 3:30 a.m. on Aug. 24) (at Matsumoto)
Aug. 24: USA vs. China (6:40 p.m./5:40 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) (at Matsumoto)
Aug. 26: USA vs. Peru (12:10 p.m./11:10 p.m. on Aug. 25 – 2 p.m.) (at Matsumoto)
Aug. 27: USA vs. Algeria (12:10 p.m./11:10 p.m. on Aug. 26 – 2 p.m.) (at Matsumoto)
Aug. 30: USA vs. Kenya (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 6 a.m.) (at Okayama)
Aug. 31: USA vs. Argentina (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) (at Okayama)
Sept. 1: USA vs. Cuba (6:40 p.m./5:40 a.m. – 5 p.m.) (at Okayama)
Sept. 4: USA vs. Russia (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.) (at Nagoya)
Sept. 5: USA vs. Japan (7:20 p.m./6:20 a.m. – 6 p.m.) (at Nagoya)
Sept. 6: USA vs. Dominican Republic (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) (at Nagoya)