U.S. Women Sweep China in Stunning Fashion

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | June 07, 2018, 9:50 a.m. (ET)

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley blocks China
Michelle Bartsch-Hackley blocks China as Team USA improves to 11-1 in FIVB Volleyball Nations League.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 7, 2018) – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) led the U.S. Women’s National Team in scoring for the seventh time in 12 FIVB Volleyball Nations League matches as the Americans stunned the world’s No. 1 team China 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 on Thursday in Jiangmen, China.

The Americans, ranked second in the world, will take an 11-1 record and a 10-match win streak into the fifth and final Volleyball Nations League preliminary round week in Argentina. Team USA, which qualified yesterday for the Volleyball Nations League six-team Finals Round June 27-July 1 in Nanjing, China, continues to lead the 16-team pack with three preliminary round matches left on the schedule. China, the reigning Olympic Champions, fall to 6-6 overall in the VNL.

The U.S. Women close out the preliminary round next week in Santa Fe, Argentina, where they will face Serbia on June 12 (4:40 p.m. ET), Korea on June 13 (4:40 p.m. ET) and host Argentina on June 14 (7:40 p.m. ET).

The U.S. used a 6-2 run to gain an early 12-7 advantage in the opening set, then controlled the rest of the 25-20 set victory. Team USA won a closely contested second set by claiming the final two points for a 25-22 victory. The Americans trailed 20-15 in the third set, but came back to score the final 10 points on Bartsch-Hackley’s serve to win 25-20.

“I think we played really well. We are just really focusing on ourselves and taking one point, one ball at a time,” Bartsch-Hackley said.

Bartsch-Hackley scored her 18 points with 16 kills on 32 attacks and two aces. Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) charted nine kills on 15 swings and two blocks for 11 points. Outside Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) tallied 10 kills on 20 attacks and a block for 11 points.

Related: U.S. Women's National Team Home Page | U.S. Women's National Team Results/Schedules/Match Stats

Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) recorded eight kills on 17 swings and an ace for nine points. Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) contributed five points with a team-leading four blocks and a kill. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) pocketed two aces, one block and one kill for four points. Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana), who was the double-sub with Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) in all three sets, turned in four kills on six attacks in her limited action in the front court. Both Drews and Hancock were on the court for the final 10 points of the match as the double-sub worked to perfection.

Libero Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) had a 77 positive reception percent on 13 chances and provided many stellar digs. Bartsch-Hackley handled a team-leading 27 receptions with a 52 positive percent. Larson was credited with a 41 positive reception percent on 22 chances.

Lloyd and Hancock set the American offense to a 49 kill percent and .390 hitting efficiency. The Team USA defense held China to a 35.6 kill percent and .176 hitting efficiency. The American defense netted a 46-35 margin in digs.

The U.S. held a 49-36 advantage in kills and an 8-5 margin in blocks. China held a 6-5 edge in aces. Both teams committed 14 errors.

The U.S. started Lloyd at setter, Murphy at opposite, Bartsch-Hackley and Larson at outside, and Akinradewo and Dixon at middle. Robinson served as the libero.

The U.S. Women have now won eight of their last 11 matches versus China playing inside China in world-level tournaments.

China’s star outside hitter Zhu Ting netted 14 points in the loss, while Liu Xiaotong added 11 points.

With Korea, Serbia and Argentina on the horizon, Team USA has time to continue fine tuning their systems. But as Bartsch-Hackley said, it will take a lot before even getting there to have that opportunity to play again.

“We have a really long travel going to Argentina, then we go home for a week,” Bartsch-Hackley said. “We are excited about Argentina, but first we have to get there – 48 hours. But after that, we will be excited to compete again.”

Team USA will return to China in just over two weeks for the Finals Round, and the team is ready to play again in front of the Chinese fans.

“We are really excited to come back to China and get an opportunity and play again,” Bartsch-Hackley said. “We love competing, and we are learning a lot about this new group. I think it has been really fun.”

The Volleyball Nations League utilizes a five-week preliminary round robin schedule where all 16 teams play each other. The Volleyball Nations League Final Round will have host China joining the top five teams from the preliminary standings.

The U.S. took its first lead of the opening set at 5-4 with a Bartsch-Hackley kill and Akinradewo block, then Bartsch-Hackley served an ace to push the lead to 6-4. Larson and Murphy scored consecutive kills and Lloyd followed with an ace to build a 10-6 American advantage. Larson and Murphy again combined for back-to-back kills to lift Team USA to a 12-7 margin heading into a China timeout. China cut the gap to 16-13 with consecutive points out of the technical timeout. The rebuilt a five-point cushion at 19-14 with a Dixon kill and China attack wide. Akinradewo put up a block and Larson scored a back-row kill to extend the American lead to 22-16 at China’s second timeout. China scored back-to-back points out of the timeout to cut the gap to 22-18. The U.S. won the set 25-20 with a Lloyd block.

Lloyd opened the second set with an ace for the early advantage. China took the lead at 3-2 with an ace. Bartsch-Hackley answered with consecutive kills to reverse the lead to USA at 4-3. China responded with two straight points to collect a 5-4 lead, then gained a two-point cushion at 7-5. Akinradewo put up a block to end a long rally and Murphy put down a kill to give the Americans a 12-11 lead. China came back to take the lead at 15-14 on an ace. The U.S. reached the second technical timeout leading 16-15 with kills from Drews and Dixon. The U.S. took a two-point cushion with a Drews kill and Dixon block at 18-16. Team USA stretched the gap to three at 21-18 with a Murphy kill and China attack error. China cut the deficit to a single point at 22-21 prompting a Team USA timeout. Team USA ended the set with an Akinradewo kill and Lloyd block at 25-22.

The U.S. started quickly in the third set with a 2-0 lead, but China came back to tie the set at 3-all. The Americans answered with a Bartsch-Hackley kill and Murphy ace at 5-3. China quickly answered with back-to-back points to level the score at 5-all. The Americans went into the first technical timeout leading 8-6 with consecutive Larson kills. Out of the break, China went on a 7-1 scoring run to stake an 13-9 advantage. Bartsch-Hackley put up a block and Murphy hit off the block after a China error to cut the gap to 13-12. The Americans leveled the set at 14-all with a Dixon kill and China attack error. China stopped the run with back-to-back points to take a 16-14 edge at the second technical timeout. China went on a 4-0 run to stake a 20-15 advantage. Bartsch-Hackley and Larson scored consecutive kills and China had back-to-back attack errors the to close the deficit to 20-19. Out of a China timeout, Drews scored a kill down the line and Bartsch-Hackley scored from the back-row to cap a 6-0 run and give the Americans a 21-20 advantage. China attacked wide and Larson downed a kill to put the Americans up 23-20. Bartsch-Hackley scored an ace for a ninth straight point to put the Americans at match point 24-20. Team USA won the final point, the 10th in a row, at 25-20 on a video challenge overturned of a China attack.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB Volleyball Nations League June 5-7
# - Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 – Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
3 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, California, Bonsall, California)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska, Cypress, California)
5 – Rachael Adams (M, 6-2, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (M, 6-2, Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota)
10 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Hooper, Nebraska)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
12 – Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, Florida, Wilmington, Illinois)
13 – Sarah Wilhite (OH, 6-1, Minnesota, Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Champaign, Illinois)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Portland, Oregon)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (M, 6-3, Stanford, Plantation, Florida)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (L, 6-2, Nebraska, Manhattan Beach, California)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Luka Slabe, Tama Miyashiro, Erin Virtue
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Manager: Jimmy Stitz

Women’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League Schedule

U.S. Women’s Schedule for FIVB Volleyball Nations League Preliminary Round
May 15: USA def. Poland 28-26, 25-22, 22-25, 25-15 (at Lincoln, Nebraska)
May 16: USA lost to Turkey 28-26, 25-19, 20-25, 24-26, 16-14 (at Lincoln, Nebraska)
May 17: USA def. Italy 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 (at Lincoln, Nebraska)
May 22: USA def. Japan 25-20, 25-16, 25-23 (at Toyota, Japan)
May 23: USA def. Netherlands 25-19, 25-21, 25-23 (at Toyota, Japan)
May 24: USA def. Belgium 25-11, 25-17, 25-18 (at Toyota, Japan)
May 29: USA def. Germany 25-18, 25-17, 25-17 (at Bangkok, Thailand)
May 30: USA def. Dominican Republic 25-20, 25-23, 25-21 (at Bangkok, Thailand)
May 31: USA def. Thailand 25-10, 25-22, 25-16 (at Bangkok, Thailand)
June 5: USA def. Russia 25-14, 25-18, 25-18 (at Jiangmen, China)
June 6: USA def. Brazil 25-23, 26-28, 25-21, 25-18 (at Jiangmen, China)
June 7: USA def. China 25-20, 25-22, 25-20 (at Jiangmen, China)
June 12: USA vs. Serbia, 4:40 p.m. ET (at Santa Fe, Argentina)
June 13: USA vs. Korea, 4:40 p.m. ET (at Santa Fe, Argentina)
June 14: USA vs. Argentina, 7:40 p.m. ET (at Santa Fe, Argentina)

June 27-July 1: FIVB Volleyball Nations League Final Round (Host China + Top 5 Teams)
At Nanjing, China