CNT-Europe Back to Winning Ways

By Diane Nordstrom | July 11, 2018, 5:08 p.m. (ET)

Collegiate National Team Europe Avery Skinner

Pula, Croatia – The U.S. Collegiate National Team-Europe rebounded from its first three-set loss at the European Global Challenge by taking two of three sets over BFTM-Falconara from Italy Wednesday afternoon. The U.S. won the first two sets 25-21, 25-21 before losing the third set 20-25.

“We had a fast turnaround, but the players did a really good job of being fresh and ready to compete,” assistant coach Brandon Higa said following this morning’s loss. ”A lot of the adjustments we wanted them to make and things we talked about this morning, we saw this afternoon. Being more aggressive out of system was a big one, and our blockers being smarter in terms of understanding their hitters and what the setter could set. Making smarter moves helped us a lot."

The CNT put away 46 team kills behind a team-high eight from Utah’s Berkeley Oblad. Louisville’s Amanda Green and Wisconsin’s Danielle Hart both added seven kills.

“Since I’m not used to these setters, you have to have different tempos and just keep the ball in play, trying to find the right spots instead of going for the kill every time, and that’s been helping a lot,” Oblad said. “We were tired and kind of bummed out coming into this game, but we found the energy. We started out pretty strong, but Italy came out to fight, too.”

Related: CNT-Europe Home Page | Player Bios | Global Challenge Home Page

Both teams had five blocks in the match while Falconara scored on eight service aces, including six in the third set. The U.S. also changed its lineup for this match, using only one setter, Oregon’s August Raskie, for most of play.

“We wanted to let the setters get into a rhythm, so August played the entire match just to see what would happen if we used only one setter,” Higa said. “I think August did a very good job. She made smart choices, she kept it simple and executed really well. The set that we lost, Italy served well and they did a great job attacking our block, tooling and scoring off the block.”

The U.S. wraps up pool play on Thursday at 5 a.m. ET when it takes on Northumbria from England. Semifinals will be held on Thursday at 11 a.m. CT. All U.S. matches are streamed live on the Global Challenge website.

Set Breakdown
Set 1 – Trailing 6-9, Team USA's Green tallied a kill and a block to knot the score at nine. The U.S. broke a 16-16 tie off a kill by Oblad. A service ace by Stanford’s Audriana Fitzmorris gave the CNT a two-point lead, one it would not relinquish.

Set 2 – The CNT trailed by as many as five points (14-19), but behind the serve of Iowa State’s Jessica Schaben, the U.S. scored eight straight points. The team led 23-21 before two kills by Hart won the set.

Set 3 – Despite jumping out to a 3-0 lead, the U.S. struggled late. The Italians broke a 13-13 tie with a 3-0 run. The CNT could get no closer than one point the rest of the set.

The U.S. started Green and Kentucky’s Leah Edmond at outside hitter, Oblad and Hart at middle blocker, Fitzmorris at opposite, Raskie at setter and Alexis Dirige (Washington State) at libero.