U.S. Women Sweep China in USAV Cup Finale

By Bill Kauffman | June 12, 2015, 10:26 p.m. (ET)

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (June 12, 2015) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 1 in the world, capped its four-match USA Volleyball Cup series with No. 3 China with a 25-22, 27-25, 25-22 victory Friday evening in San Bernardino, Calif.

The USA Volleyball Cup represented a rematch of the 2014 FIVB World Championship gold-medal match in which the Americans won 3-1 in Milan, Italy. Both teams ended up with two victories in the series, and both Team USA wins were 3-0.

“We learned that we have a good group of volleyball players,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “We started a different lineup each of the four matches. We learned that we have a lot of room for improvement and we made some tonight in terms of our ability to be completely engaged play-after-play. That was a big reason why we were able to pull back from a couple deficits, 20-17 in the second set and 16-12 in the third set. That consistent level of engagement, knowing what our job is and doing it play-after-play is the hallmark of a great team and that is habit that we have to continue to build.”

Related: DataVolley Stats | Watch Replay | USA Volleyball Cup Page | FIVB World Grand Prix Finals Page

In the finale, USA’s Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.) led all scorers with 18 points via 14 kills on 27 attacks, two aces and two blocks. Megan Easy (Durham, N.C.), Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) and Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.) all notched 11 points in the victory. Akinradewo totaled nine kills on 18 attacks, while Murphy produced 10 kills on 22 swings. Easy led Team USA in blocks with four to go with seven kills on 18 attacks with just one error.

“I think we started to be more engaged,” Robinson said. “We played like 200 points in the last match, and maybe only three-fourths of that we were engaged and doing what we were supposed to be doing. We made those changes, and I think everybody was locked in tonight on what their job was individually and as a team.”

Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.) added three kills, two aces and a block for six points. Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.) recorded four kills and a block in a reserve role after starting the first three matches of the USA Volleyball Cup. Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), who was part of a double-switch with Murphy, serve three critical aces late in sets. Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.), who started all four matches of the USA Volleyball Cup, added two aces and block for three points.

“Courtney brings us some energy when she comes on,” Kiraly said. “She has a really good serve. She plays good defense. Karsta was able to play a different role as she had started at opposite the three previous matches.”

The U.S. converted 45 percent of its attacks with a .336 hitting efficiency with Kreklow handling most of the sets. China was limited to a 39 kill percent and .273 hitting efficiency.

Robinson led the Americans in digs with eight of the team’s 25 total digs. Easy handled 35 of the team’s 66 receptions, while libero Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) was 50 percent positive on 14 chances to go with seven digs.

China was led by Zhang Changning’s 18 points and teammate Yang Junjing added 12 points.

Team USA’s service game resulted in an 11-5 ace advantage, despite China having a 54 positive reception percent to the Americans’ 39 percent. China held a slim 10-9 block advantage.

“Having China here is awesome,” Robinson said. “They are so young and talented. This was an awesome preview of what we will be seeing in World Grand Prix.”

The two teams, representing a rematch of the 2014 FIVB World Championship gold-medal match in which the U.S. won 3-1 last October, split the opening two matches in Honolulu with Team USA winning 3-0 on June 5 followed by China winning 3-0 on June 6 as both teams made significant lineup changes. In the third match, the Americans held two match points in the fifth set before China came back to win 27-29, 25-21, 19-25, 25-19, 17-15.

“I think USA Volleyball Cup is huge for us to get exposure in America because most of our travel is overseas, along with getting ready for FIVB World Grand Prix in Nebraska,” Robinson said of the event that Team USA hosts July 22-26 in Omaha. “That will be huge to get a fan base going, people interested in USA Volleyball.”

In its third year of the USA Volleyball Cup, the U.S. Women have hosted then-No. 3 Japan (now ranked No. 4) in 2013 and then-No. 1 Brazil (now ranked No. 2) in 2014. The Americans were 3-0 against Japan with all three matches in Southern California. Team USA won all four matches against Brazil two matches each in Southern California and Honolulu.

More to Come

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster of USA Volleyball Cup Matches
# - Name (Position, Ht, Hometown, College)
2 – Kayla Banwarth (L, 5-10, Dubuque, Iowa, University of Nebraska) *^#
3 – Courtney Thompson (S, 5-8, Kent, Wash., University of Washington) *#
5 – Tama Miyashiro (L, 5-7, Kaneohe, Hawaii, University of Washington) *^#
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 Hodge Easy (OH, 6-3, Durham, N.C., Penn State University) *^#
12 – Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, Wilmington, Ill., University of Florida) *^#
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) *^#
19 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Bartlett, Ill., University of Nebraska) *^#
20 – Cursty Jackson (MB, 6-2, Los Angeles, Calif., University of Arizona) *
21 - Tori Dixon (MB, 6-3, Burnsville, Minn., University of Minnesota) *^#
23 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, Bonsall, Calif., University of California-Berkeley) ^
25 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., UCLA) *^#
31 – Molly Kreklow (S, 6-0, Delano, Minn., University of Missouri) *^#

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Jamie Morrison and Tom Black
Technical Coordinator: Joe Trinsey
Athletic Trainer: Jill Wosmek

Legend
* = selected for June 5-6 roster
^ = selected for June 9 roster
# = selected for June 12 roster

China Women's National Team Roster for USA Volleyball Cup
# - Last Name First Name (Position, Ht, World Championship Matches, Olympic Games Matches)
1 – Yuan Xinyue (MB, 199cm, 13, 0)
2 – Zhu Ting (OH, 195cm, 13, 0)
3 – Yang Fangxu (OPP, 190cm, 13, 0)
5 – Shen Jingsi (S, 186cm, 20, 0)
6 - Yang Junjing (MB, 190cm, 13, 5)
8 – Zeng Chunlei (OPP, 187cm, 13, 5)
9 – Zhang Changning (OH, 193cm, 0, 0)
10 – Shan Danna (OH, 168cm, 13, 5)
11 – Zhang Xiaoya (MB, 189cm, 0, 0)
12 - Ruoqi Hui (OH, 192cm, 13, 0)
15 – Lin Li (L, 171cm, 0, 0)
16 – Ding Xia (S, 180cm, 0, 0)
17 – Yan Ni (MB, 192cm, 0, 0)
19 – Liu Yanhan (OH, 188cm, 0, 0)

Head Coach: Lang Ping
Assistant Coaches: An Jiajie, Lai Yawen, Bao Zhuang, Wu Xiaolei
Physiotherapist: Brittni Hsu
Doctor: Wang Kai
Team Manager: Lai Yawen