U.S. Women Defeat Brazil, End Exhibition Tour 4-0

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Aug. 18, 2018, 9:17 p.m. (ET)

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley and Chiaka Ogbogu blocking against Brazil
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (left) and Chiaka Ogbogu blocking Brazil

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 18, 2018) – Outside hitter Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona) scored a match-high 26 points in leading the U.S. Women’s National Team to a 25-23, 18-25, 26-24, 25-13 victory over Brazil on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro to conclude its four-match exhibition tour with a 4-0 record.

The U.S. won all four of its matches against Brazil using four different starting lineups as all 14 Americans on the travel roster had at least one start. Team USA's focus now turns to defending its FIVB World Championship as it heads to Japan at the end September.

USA vs. Brazil Exhibition Tour Series

The U.S. used a 5-0 run to overcome a 21-19 deficit in the opening set to win 25-23, a set that had seven lead changes. Brazil scored six unanswered points in the second set to take a 22-17 advantage and scores nine of final 10 points for 25-18 victory. Team USA scored the final three points of the third set on Kingdon Rishel winners to win 26-24. Team USA had taken a 13-8 lead after the score was tied 6-all, but Brazil had rushed into the lead at 19-18 on an 11-15 run. The Americans ended the match on a 16-6 run to win the fourth set 25-13.

Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona) reached 26 points with 22 kills on 42 swings, two aces and two blocks. Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) contributed 23 points with 19 kills on 36 attacks, two aces and two blocks. Middle Chiaka Ogbobu (Coppell, Texas) pocketed 11 points with five kills on eight errorless attacks to go with a team-best six blocks.

“I thought it was a difficult game,” Drews said. “It was very point-to-point. The lead changed many times. Every time we play Brazil, I think we learn so much about ourselves and our weakness and ways we can get better. They really challenge us. We really commend them and thank them for this last week and getting both teams better. It has been a lot fun.”

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

Annie Drews blocking against BrazilOutside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois), who started the final two sets, added six kills on 22 swings and a block for seven points. Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) served three aces in the match to go with two kills on four attacks and a block for seven points. Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) tacked on three kills and and a block for four points. Outside hitter Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin) tallied two kills in the victory while playing just the first two sets. Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois), who was part of the double-sub with Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California) in the first two sets, rounded out the scoring with an ace.

Libero Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) was credited with an 69 positive reception percent on 13 receptions, in addition to five digs. Kingdon provided a 44 positive reception percent on 25 chances, along with 10 digs. Bartsch-Hackley added 18 receptions with a 44 positive percent. Lee was credited with six digs and handled a team-leading 25 receptions with a 44 positive percent. Hancock totaled 10 digs in the victory.

Hancock set the Americans to a 42 kill percent and .254 hitting efficiency (59-23-142) for the match. Meanwhile, the American defense limited Brazil to a 35 kill percent and .181 hitting efficiency (39-19-110).

“It is definitely a great feeling to win,” Drews said of getting four wins against Brazil on the road. “When you bring a young group, I think it is really rewarding to win.”

Drews feels the bigger takeaway from the week in Brazil was not the wins, but getting the younger players ready for the next stage as Team USA prepares to defend its FIVB World Championship.

“I think the bigger focus was getting people playing time who may not have played much during Volleyball Nations League, getting some of our younger players comfortable,” Drews said. “I think four matches gave us a good chance to do that. Get a lot of people playing time, and see what we need to get better at.”

Team USA out-blocked Brazil 13-7 and held a slim 8-7 margin in aces. The American offense secured a 59-39 advantage in kills during the match, thanks in part to a 45 positive reception as a team. In contrast, the Brazilians were positive on 41 percent of their receptions.

Gabi paced the Brazilians with 19 points and Tandara added 10 points in the loss.

The U.S. started Dixon and Ogbogu at middle, Kingdon Rishel and Lee at outside hitter, Drews 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.

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.

Ogbogu and Kingdon Rishel scored consecutive overpass kills to go in front 2-1 in the opening set. Kingdon Rishel served an ace after a Drews kill to expand the American lead to 4-2, but Brazil answered with three straight points to regain the lead at 5-4. Dixon put up a block after a Brazil miscue to yield a 6-5 American lead. Drews scored a kill and ace on back-to-back plays to build the U.S. lead to 8-6. Brazil responded with four unanswered points to gain the lead at 10-8. Dixon and Hancock hammered kills to square the set at 11-all. Kingdon Rishel launched a kill to put the Americans in front 13-12. Ogbogu and Drews slammed consecutive kills to increase the U.S. advantage to 15-13. Brazil tied the set at 16-all with back-to-back points, then went in front 18-17 as part of a 4-1 scoring run. Brazil picked up a two-point cushion at 21-19 with back-to-back points. Ogbogu put up a block after a Brazil attack error to tie the set at 21-all, then Hancock served an ace to put the Americans in front 22-21. Out of a Brazil timeout, Team USA extended its lead to 24-21 as Brazil hit wide and Ogbogu scored a block. Brazil saved two set points before Drews ended it with a kill at 25-23.

Hancock opened the second set with an ace for a 1-0 USA lead. Lee and Drews slammed kills to extend the Team USA lead to 4-2. Brazil scored five unanswered points to stake an 8-5 lead. Kills by Dixon, Drews and Kingdon Rishel after two Brazil errors put the Americans in front 10-8. Brazil squared the set at 10-all with back-to-back points. Kingdon Rishel scored a block and kill to again put the U.S. in a two-point cushion at 12-10. Brazil scored three straight points to take the lead back at 14-13. Carlini served an ace after a Drews kill to reverse the lead to the USA at 17-16. Brazil answered with six consecutive points to take the lead at 22-17. Brazil served an ace to get to set point, 24-18, then won immediately on at American attack error at 25-18.

Drews pounded a kill and Ogbogu followed with a block to give the Americans a 3-2 lead. Kingdon Rishel hammered a kill off the block to raise the American lead to 5-3. Brazil tied set at 6-all. Kingdon Rishel and Bartsch-Hackley downed consecutive kills to gain a two-point edge at 8-6, then the U.S. raised the margin to 10-7 after a Brazil error. Drews canned back-to-back kills to extend the American lead to 12-8 prompting a Brazil timeout. Out of the break, Drews scored a third straight kill to increase the Team USA lead to 13-8. Brazil broke the run with four unanswered points including two aces to close to 13-12. Kingdon Rishel and Drews stopped the run with back-to-back kills to extend Team USA’s lead to 15-12. Brazil narrowed its deficit to 17-16 with consecutive kills, then went in front 19-18 with three unanswered points. Hancock served an ace after Ogbogu placed a block to give the Americans a 21-20 advantage. Brazil answered with two straight points to take the lead at 22-21. Kingdon Rishel scored a kill and block to reverse the score to Team USA at 25-24. Kingdon Rishel then ended the set with another kill at 26-24.

Kingdon Rishel scored a kill and Ogbogu added a block to give the Americans a 3-2 lead in the fourth set. Ogbogu and Kingdon Rishel slammed back-to-back kills to raise he USA lead to 5-3. Kingdon Rishel tipped over a kill, Dixon followed with a block and Kingdon Rishel served an ace to extend the American lead to 9-5 prompting a Brazil timeout. Out of the break Brazil chopped two points off the deficit at 9-7. Consecutive Brazil attack errors, a Bartsch-Hackley joust winner and Ogbogu slide put the Americans back up by six, 13-7. Drews hit a winner and Ogbogu followed with a block to extend Team USA’s lead to 15-8. Bartsch-Hackley and Kingdon notched consecutive kills to raise the American lead to 18-10. Drews served an ace between two Kingdon Rishel kills to place the USA in front 21-11. Bartsch-Hackley tapped over for a kill and Brazil hit wide to give the U.S. match points at 24-13. Bartsch-Hackley ended the set quickly with a block at 25-13.

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