MATSUMOTO, Japan (Aug. 24, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, gave notice it will not go away without a fight in the FIVB World Cup, defeating No. 3 China 25-23, 25-17, 25-23 Monday evening in Matsumoto, Japan, a day after being upset by Serbia in the 12-team round robin tournament that awards two berths to the 2016 Olympic Games.
Team USA (2-1), now back in the thick of the World Cup race, faces Peru on Aug. 26 at 12:10 p.m. local time (11:10 p.m. ET on Aug. 25) and Algeria on Aug. 27 at 12:10 p.m. local time (11:10 p.m. ET on Aug. 26). 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.
"The schedule of this tournament can be very difficult," U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. "We have 11 challenging matches in 16 days. In other competitions there is a rest day between each match, so it’s a great challenge here and it’s very difficult to get through this tournament without a loss for any team."
The U.S. enjoyed balanced scoring among its starters. Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) led the Americans with 16 points coming on 15 kills via 26 attacks and a block. Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) contributed 14 points, including 13 kills on 24 swings and an ace. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) pocketed 11 points with nine kills on 15 attacks, one block and one ace.
"Obviously USA didn’t have the best performance we wanted last night," Hill said. "So it was important to come out remembering who we are as USA Volleyball and focusing on our game and our side of the net, and being engaged in every little play – playing one point at a time because China’s a really tough team, a really great team and fun to play against. But we always have to bring 110 percent and I think we did a good job today."
Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.) totaled nine points, all on kills from 25 attacks. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio), a sub in all three sets, turned in seven kills on 10 attacks. Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.) charted a team-best three blocks to go with two kills on six attacks for five points. Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.), a sub in all three sets, rounded out the scoring with an ace.
"Yesterday was a frustrating match for us; Serbia played very well," Kiraly said. "We were happy to play against a great team with a great coach and great program (today versus China). It was the seventh time we played China this year and every battle was difficult for us.
Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) provided 31 running sets on 75 set attempts as the Americans converted 51.9 percent of their attacks into points with a .425 hitting efficiency (55-10-106) against the third-ranked team in the world. Kreklow added five running sets on 19 chances as part of the double sub.
"I think we wanted to stay really connected no matter what," Glass said. "I thought our passers passed really well and our hitters made really good choices. It made it freeing for me to be able to get them the ball and know that they were going to do the best they could possibly could. We definitely helped each other out when we could, and I think that is how we have to play every day."
The U.S. was excellent on 54.0 percent of its receptions, led by Hill’s 13 excellent receptions on 20 errorless chances. Libero Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) tallied 12 excellent receptions on 20 chances to go with a team-best 23 digs.
After yesterday, we weren’t trying to change the world," Hill said. "Sometimes we need to fight through and we didn’t really do the best job of it yesterday, but we did today."
Team USA held a commanding 55-38 advantage in kills as the blocks and aces were close. China held a 4-3 margin in aces and both teams had five blocks. The U.S. defense held China to a 41.8 kill percent and .297 hitting efficiency (38-11-91).
"We had fluctuations in our play, especially in the first set," China head coach Jenny Lang Ping said. "Our block and reception were poor and USA were quick and very fast, and the players couldn’t show their best. In the third set, we had opportunities, but didn’t capitalize on them. Our players don’t have enough experience, but this is a good opportunity for them to get experience and the players can learn more. We lost today and need to face up to that and make use of what we learn. It’s the first time for a lot of the players to take part in a big tournament, but they can learn and they have the potential to improve."
China was led by Zhu Ting’s 17 points and Zhang Changning added 14 points.
After China scored an ace to start the match, Team USA rolled the next three points for a 3-1 advantage. Larson-Burbach, Akinradewo and Lowe connected for consecutive kills to increase the American lead to 6-2. China cut the gap to one at 10-9 with a 4-1 scoring run. However, Hill and Larson-Burbach downed consecutive kill and China hit long to push the Americans up 13-9 on three straight points. China moved to within two again at 13-11 after an American error. Yan served an ace to pull China to within one again at 16-15. Zhu tied the set at 17-all with a back-row kill. Zhang and Zhen put up blocks to lift China in front at 19-17. Team USA leveled the score at 19-all after a Fawcett kill and China attack error, then the Americans went in front on a Lowe block at 20-19. Out of a timeout, Dietzen blocked China to give the U.S. a two-point cushion at 21-19 on a 4-0 run. Lowe gave Team USA set points at 24-22 with a power kill, then Akinradewo pounded a slide for the winner at 25-23.
Hill started the second set with an ace. Hill hit an out-of-system kill to yield a 4-2 American lead, but China quickly squared the set again at 5-all. Lowe and Hill gave the Americans a 7-5 lead with a kill each. Hill and Larson-Burbach turned in consecutive kills and Dietzen put up a block to extend the Team USA lead to 11-7. Out of a China timeout, the Chinese hit long and Larson-Burbach downed an overpass for a 13-7 advantage on a 5-0 run. Out of China’s second timeout, it hit wide for a 14-7 American lead. Akinradewo scored consecutive winners, then Kreklow served an ace to lift the U.S. in front 18-9. Akinradewo served an ace to put the U.S. in front double-digits at 21-11. Dietzen hit an overpass to place the U.S. lead at 23-12. China scored five of the next six points before Lowe ended the set with a crush down the line at 25-17.
Dietzen put up a block and Lowe followed with a kill to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead to start the third set. The U.S. reached a 5-2 lead with a Larson-Burbach kill and China attack error. After China tied the score at 5-all, Larson-Burbach and Hill scored kills and Akinradewo put up a block to push the Americans into the first technical timeout at 8-5. China came to within one at 12-11 by winning a long rally. China squared the set at 14-all on an American attack error. After Dietzen went down with an injury, the Americans still played strong with Lowe scoring back-to-back kills to provide Team USA a two-point cushion at 19-17. Zhang served an ace to put China back into a tie at 20-all. Hill and Lowe put down consecutive kills to give Team USA match points at 24-22. Hill tipped the winner over the China block for the 25-23 victory and sweep.
All Team USA contests at the World Cup, can be watched live online at universalsports.com/Olympics as well as on a tape-delay basis on its Universal Sports television.
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: Serbia def. USA 25-20, 22-25, 18-25, 25-19, 15-6
Aug. 24: USA def. China 25-23, 25-17, 25-23
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)