U.S. Women Down Brazil to Start Exhibition Tour

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Aug. 12, 2018, 3:03 p.m. (ET)

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley attacks against Brazil in a four-match tour against the Brazilians
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley attacking for one of her team-leading 15 points against Brazil to start a four-match exhibition tour

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 12, 2018) – In a show of its depth, the U.S. Women’s National Team defeated Brazil 25-19, 25-18, 26-28, 25-16 on Sunday morning in front of 7,411 fans in Brasilia, Brazil, to open a four-match exhibition series going through Aug. 18.

  • Aug. 14: USA vs. Brazil in Uberaba, 6 p.m. ET (SporTV in Brazil)
  • Aug. 16: USA vs. Brazil in Uberaba, 7 p.m. ET (SporTV in Brazil)
  • Aug. 18: USA vs. Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, 6:30 p.m. ET (SporTV in Brazil)

Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois), who earned the most valuable player award during the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in which Team USA won along with the $1 million top prize, scored 16 points with 14 kills on 36 swings, one ace and one block. Opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Sante Fe, California), playing in just her second match for Team USA since winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, notched 15 points, all on kills via 31 swings.

Middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio), one of two Olympians on the 14-player USA roster on the Brazil tour, contributed 14 points with nine kills on 11 swings, three blocks and two aces. Middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) pocketed 11 points with six kills on 16 swings, three blocks and two aces. Outside hitter Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) tacked on 11 points with seven kills on 19 attacks, three blocks and an ace. Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana), who was a sub in all four sets, powered down 10 kills on 15 swings in her limited action.

Related: Match Stats (Updated) | U.S. Women's National Team Home Page

Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) rounded out the scoring with four points through one kill, two blocks and an ace. She, along with Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) as the double-sub setter in all four sets, led Team USA to a 47 kill percent and .364 hitting efficiency (62-14-132).

Libero Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio), who was tested at libero at the end of last year against Brazil in the USA Volleyball Cup against Brazil and during the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup, handled 17 receptions with a 53 positive reception percent as she is coming back from an ACL injury suffered early in her club season last September. She was also credited with 10 digs. Bartsch-Hackley handled 50 of the Americans’ 77 receptions with a 48 positive reception percent, and added a team-best 11 digs.

Team USA out-blocked Brazil 12-6 and edged out the host 7-5 in aces. The Americans held a 62-52 kill advantage over Brazil, which converted just 39 percent of its attacks for points with a .185 hitting efficiency (52-27-135).

Brazil was led in scoring by Tandara and Gabi with 15 points apiece.

The U.S. started Adams and Gibbemeyer at middle, Bartsch-Hackley and Wilhite at outside hitter, Lowe at opposite and Hancock at setter. Courtney was the libero for the match.

Team USA elected not to travel a handful of veteran Olympic athletes (Foluke Akinradewo, Kim Hill, Jordan Larson, Carli Lloyd, Kelly Murphy, Kelsey Robinson), allowing younger players and others returning from injury the opportunity to compete and be evaluated for the upcoming FIVB World Championship roster.

In the opening the set, the U.S. overcame a slow start with a 6-1 scoring run, including consecutive blocks from Bartsch-Hackley, Gibbemeyer and Hancock, to take a 10-9 advantage. Team USA inched its margin to 18-13 with consecutive kills from Bartsch-Hackley and Drews and went on to win 25-19. The U.S. established a 10-7 advantage with two consecutive aces by Gibbemeyer, and the Americans held on to the lead en route to a 25-18 victory with two final kills from Bartsch-Hackley. Brazil battled back from a 10-7 deficit in the third set to take a 15-14 advantage. However, the Americans responded with a 6-2 run to stake a 22-18 lead with Wilhite, Drews and Lowe each scoring twice. Brazil bounced back to tie the set at 22-all and eventually went on to win 28-26. In the fourth set, Team USA held a slim 6-5 margin before using an 11-4 run to take a commanding 17-9 advantage and going on to win 25-16.

The FIVB Women’s World Championship, played every four years in the second year of the Olympic quadrennial, is set for Sept. 29 to Oct. 20 in Japan. The Americans begin defense of their 2014 title in Kobe as they face Azerbaijan (Sept. 29), Trinidad & Tobago (Sept. 30), Korea (Oct. 2), Thailand (Oct. 3) and Russia (Oct. 4) in Pool C. The top four teams in Pool C advance to the second round (Oct. 7-11) in Osaka. The top six teams from the second round move on to the third round held Oct. 14-16 in Nagoya, followed by the semifinals and medal matches on Oct. 19-20 in Yokohama.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for Brazil Exhibition Tour
# - Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 – Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
5 – Rachael Adams (M, 6-2, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
7 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (M, 6-2, Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota)
9 – Madi Kingdon Rishel (OH, 6-1, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
10 – Simone Lee (OH, 6-1, Penn State, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
13 – Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, Minnesota, Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Champaign, Illinois)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
20 – Amanda Benson (L, 5-7, Oregon, Litchfield Park, Arizona)
24 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, UCLA, Rancho Santa Fe, California)
25 – Chiaka Ogbobu (M, 6-2, Texas, Coppell, Texas)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Tama Miyashiro, Jeff Liu
Physiotherapist: Kara Kessans
Technical Coordinator: Matthew Choi