USA Volleyball Features U.S. Women Rally Pas...

U.S. Women Rally Past Japan, Alive at World Cup

By Bill Kauffman | Sept. 05, 2015, 8:01 a.m. (ET)

NAGOYA, Japan (Sept. 5, 2015) – After having its six-match FIVB World Cup win streak snapped and a chance to win the tournament title for the first time, the U.S. Women’s National Team bounced back to rally past host Japan 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-10 on Saturday evening in Nagoya to remain in the chase for one of two 2016 Olympic Games berths.

Team USA, 8-2 overall, moved up one spot to third place in the World Cup. With China’s four-set win over then-leader Russia earlier in the day, the Americans still have a chance to move into second place should the U.S. defeat NORCECA rival Dominican Republic (5-5) at 2:10 a.m. ET on the final day of the 11-match round robin and Japan (7-3) turns around and defeats China 3-0 or 3-1.

The U.S. needed to rally from a first set loss against Japan in which they fell behind 11-7 early. In the second set, the Americans came back from a 6-3 deficit and led most of the most of the frame before Japan level the score at 22-all. However, the U.S. won the final two points for a close 25-23 victory.

Stats: Unofficial DataVolley Stats | Official FIVB Stats

“Japan ran a fast offense, so we had to speed up our eye work and footwork,” Kiraly said. “It is difficult to go down two sets against anybody, especially Japan. We brought in (Nicole) Fawcett and (Kelsey) Robinson in the second set and they gave us extra energy and helped reduce the block outs we had in the first set.”

“It's very disappointing to lose today,” Japan Head Coach Masayoshi Manabe said. “The second set was decisive. It was especially disappointing to lose that. We have been getting off to a good start with good serves in the World Cup, but having trouble in the second and third sets. Today we had slower speed on our serves after the first set.”

Japan answered in the third set by taking a commanding 8-3 lead, only to have U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly challenge the team during a time out. After that, Team USA was a whole other team as it came back from five points down to win 25-20 and controlled the fourth set from start to finish in a 25-10 victory.

“It's always an honor and a privilege to play against Japan,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “They have a great fighting spirit, great coaching, a great history. Every seat is full and everybody is excited.”

Past 2015 World Cup Recaps: Aug. 22 vs. KOR | Aug. 23 vs. SRB | Aug. 24 vs CHN | Aug. 26 vs PER | Aug. 27 vs Algeria | Aug. 30 vs Kenya | Aug. 31 vs Argentina | Sept. 1 vs Cuba | Sept. 4 vs Russia

Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) came off the bench to score a Team USA high 20 points with 13 kills on 33 attacks, five blocks and two aces. Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.) pocketed 15 points with 12 kills on 24 swings, two aces and a block. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) collected 15 points via 10 kills on 15 attacks, four blocks and an ace.

“I just really wanted to do what I have been doing,” Fawcett said. “Christa (Dietzen) even said try not do anything different – just play the game that you have been playing. I just tried to bring my good to them and help them out a lot. I just filled in whatever was needed, providing them a lift. I was just hoping to bring that to everyone.”

While the team knew about Russia’s loss to China earlier in the day, Fawcett said the team was focused on just taking care of its own business.

“I knew this was a great opportunity for us,” Fawcett said. “I didn’t want to leave things to where the what-ifs or if we could have done something. What was done was done with Russia, but I knew we had a new opportunity today. I wanted to really capitalized on that today, I think we did.”

Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minn.) chipped in 13 points out of the middle with 11 kills on 16 errorless attacks, one block and one ace. Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.) came off the bench to score 11 points with eight kills on 18 attacks and three blocks in place of Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.), who had three points in the first set. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) totaled three points with two kills and a block. Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) and Molly Kreklow (Delano, Minn.) rounded out the scoring with a point each.

“We did a good job of adjusting our blocks,” Dixon said. “We knew Japan was a good team. We just kept coming back today.”

Related: U.S. Women's National Team Home Page | Latest FIVB World Cup Standings

Glass was effective setting as well as digging the Japanese attacks. She had a team-high 13 digs to go with 42 running sets on 81 set attempts as Team USA converted 50.4 percent of its kills with a .427 hitting efficiency (59-9-117). Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) turned in 15 excellent receptions on 24 attempts, along with seven digs. Robinson chipped in nine digs and 13 excellent receptions on 23 errorless chances. Larson-Burbach added nine digs and seven excellent receptions on 12 serves.

Team USA used a mighty block to rally back into the match with a 16-5 advantage. The Americans held a 7-2 edge in aces. The U.S. out-attacked Japan 59-49. The Americans committed 22 errors in the match, mostly in the first two sets, while Japan held its errors to 13. Team USA held Japan to a 36.0 kill percent and .228 hitting efficiency (49-18-136).

“We got off to a good start,” Japan captain Saori Kimura said. “Halfway through we started making mistakes and could not recover the momentum. The ticket to the Olympics was our target here, but we can't reach that now. We want to show how the staff and players have worked against China tomorrow.”

Japan was led by Miyu Nagaoka’s match-high 22 points, while Sarina Koga had 12 points as the only players in double-digit scoring.

Dixon and Lowe gave the U.S. a 2-0 lead in the opening set with kills, but Japan quickly tied it at 2-all. Japan used a 3-0 run to take a 6-4 advantage, then extended the gap to three at 9-6. Japan put up a block to prompt USA to take a timeout trailing 11-7. After Japan was leading 15-10, Akinradewo scored a kill and ace and Fawcett followed with a block to trim the gap to 15-13. Japan rebuilt a four-point cushion at 19-15 to prompt a second USA timeout. Japan scored a third unanswered point out of the break to push its lead to 20-15. Akinradewo put up a block to trim the deficit to 21-18, but Japan answered with consecutive points to extend the lead to 23-18.

Japan used a 3-0 scoring run to open up a 6-3 advantage to begin the second set. Robinson and Fawcett connected for consecutive kills to close the gap to 6-5. Akinradewo hammered back-to-back kills to give the Americans their first lead at 9-8. Japan regained the lead back at 15-14 after the teams traded several points. Team USA took the lead back with a Fawcett block to head into the second technical timeout up 16-15. Fawcett canned a back-row attack and Akinradewo blocked a Japan attack to extend the USA lead to 19-17. Japan squared the set at 22-all on an American attack error. Larson-Burbach ended the set at 25-23 with a kill and block.

Japan started the third set with a 4-1 advantage to prompt USA to call a quick timeout, then extended the lead to 6-1 out of the break. Akinradewo, Fawcett and Robinson cut the deficit to 9-7 with consecutive kills. Larson-Burbach pounded a kill and Dixon followed to put Team USA within one at 12-11. Fawcett a kill that was confirmed on video challenge and Akinradewo followed with a block to level the score at 13-all. Fawcett sliced an ace to the back line to give the Americans a 14-13 advantage after trailing 8-3 at the technical timeout. Fawcett gave the Americans a two-point cushion at 18-16 leading to a Japan timeout. Out of the break Robinson scored consecutive blocks to stretch the American lead to 20-16. Japan chipped off three quick points to close the margin to 20-19. Dixon picked up a block after a Japan service error to regain a three-point cushion at 22-19. Larson-Burbach gave USA set points at 24-20 with a cross-court winner off the block, then Fawcett claimed the winner on a block at 25-20.

Team USA began the fourth set up 3-0 after kills by Akinradewo and Larson-Burbach and Japan error. Akinradewo put up a block after Larson-Burbach won a long rally to push the American lead to 5-1. Akinradewo put up another block out of a Japan timeout to extend the U.S. lead to 6-1. Akinradewo and Larson-Burbach slammed consecutive kills to place the Americans in front 8-2 at the first technical timeout. Out of the break, Japan had an attack error to put the U.S. up 9-2 and Japan called yet another timeout. Robinson scored a kill and block on consecutive plays before Dixon hit a winner down the line and Glass put down a kill on the second contact to extend the lead to 13-3. Kreklow served an ace to give the Americans a 15-4 lead. Fawcett tallied a kill and ace on consecutive plays and Larson-Burbach followed with a kill to produce a 20-7 advantage for the U.S. Robinson slammed consecutive kills to give the U.S. a 23-9 lead. Fawcett ended the set with a block at 25-10.

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.

Team USA defeated Japan 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-10 Saturday to keep a slim chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games through the FIVB World Cup.Expanded Match Coverage | http://bit.ly/9515WNT

Posted by USA Volleyball on Saturday, September 5, 2015

FIVB World Cup Standings and Remaining Matches - Detailed Standings
1 - China (9-1, 27 points) – 9/6 vs. Japan
2 - Serbia (9-1, 24 points) – 9/6 vs. Argentina
3 - USA (8-2, 25 points) – 9/6 vs. Dominican Republic
4 - Russia (8-2, 24 points) – 9/6 vs. Algeria
5 - Japan (7-3, 22 points) – 9/6 vs. China
6 - Dominican Republic (5-5, 16 points) – 9/6 vs. USA
7 - Korea (5-5, 15 points) – 9/6 vs. Cuba
8 - Argentina (4-6, 11 points) – 9/6 vs. Serbia
9 - Cuba (3-7, 9 points) – 9/6 vs. Korea
10 - Peru (1-9, 4 points) – 9/6 vs. Kenya
11 - Kenya (1-9, 3 points) – 9/6 vs. Peru
12 - Algeria (0-10, 0 points) – 9/6 vs. Russia

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, Boston, Mass., 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 def. Peru 25-17, 25-15, 25-12
Aug. 27: USA def. Algeria 25-7, 25-2, 25-5
Aug. 30: USA def. Kenya 25-15, 25-16, 25-13
Aug. 31: USA def. Argentina 25-16, 25-19, 25-14
Sept. 1: USA def. Cuba 25-15, 25-11, 25-15
Sept. 4: Russia def. USA 25-17, 31-29, 25-23
Sept. 5: USA def. Japan 20-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-10
Sept. 6: USA vs. Dominican Republic (3:10 p.m./2:10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) (at Nagoya)