U.S. Women Lose to Serbia Ending 10-Match Win Streak

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | June 12, 2018, 7:09 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Women's National Team during playing of National Anthems against Serbia
U.S. Women had its 10-match win streak in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League snapped, but continue in first place with two prelim matches remaining

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 12, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team lost to Serbia 30-28, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18, snapping its 10-match win streak in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Tuesday afternoon in Santa Fe, Argentina.

The Americans, ranked second in the world, fall to 11-2 overall in the 15-match round-robin preliminary round. Team USA can clinch the top spot in the Volleyball Nations League preliminary round with wins in its final two matches, or a combination of one win and a loss by second-place Brazil (11-2, 31 points). Serbia, now 10-3 overall with 31 points, remains in third place and solidified its spot into the VNL Finals Round. The top five teams in the preliminary round will join host China in the Finals Round set for June 27 to July 1 in Nanjing, China.

The U.S. Women, which used its 10th different starting lineup in 13 VNL matches, face Korea on June 13 (4:40 p.m. ET) before concluding the preliminary round against Argentina on June 14 (7:40 p.m. ET). Korea (5-7, 12 points) enter its match with Argentina (0-12, 0 points) ranked 12th in the standings, while the hosts are ranked 16th.

The U.S. rallied from a 23-20 deficit in the opening set and had two set points, but Serbia took the win at 30-28 on its fifth set point attempt. Team USA overcame deficits of 9-2 and 18-12 in the second set to win 25-23. Serbia built an 8-2 lead in the third set, and this time did not allow the Americans back into the set with a 25-20 victory. Serbia cruised in the final set after building an 18-10 advantage en route to winning 25-20.

U.S. outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) scored a match-high 26 points with 22 kills on 43 swings, three blocks and an ace. Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) added 11 points with seven kills on 21 swings and four blocks. Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) tallied 10 points, all on kills from 29 swings.

Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) totaled nine points with eight kills and an ace. Middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) charted six blocks, one ace and one kill for eight points. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) provided two blocks and a kill for three points. Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) rounded out the scoring with one kill and one block for two points as a sub in sets two and four.

Libero Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) held a 67 positive reception percent with 18 chances without an error. Bartsch-Hackley handled a team-best 50 receptions with a 44 positive percent, while Hill added 26 receptions with a 54 positive reception percent.

Serbia converted 39.5 percent of its attacks into points and held the high-powered American offense to a 32.7 kill percent.

Team USA held a 16-10 advantage in blocks and both teams served three aces. However, Serbia’s consistent attacks off the fingers of the Americans resulted in a 60-50 advantage in kills. Serbia also took advantage of 27 American errors to their own 23.

The U.S. started Lloyd at setter, Drews at opposite, Bartsch-Hackley and Hill at outside, and Akinradewo and Adams at middle. Robinson served as the libero.

Serbia’s Bojana Milenkovic scored a team-best 17 kills on 37 swings and six blocks for 23 points. Ana Bjelica added 20 kills on 49 swings and Jelena Blagojevic contributed 14 kills and an ace for 15 points.

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.

Bartsch-Hackley scored the first point of the match and Adams followed with a block to give the U.S. a 2-0 lead in the opening set. Hill pounded a kill and Akinradewo put up a block around a Serbia error to push the American lead to 7-3. Serbia went on a 7-1 run to take a 12-10 advantage. Serbia advanced its lead to 14-11 with back-to-back points. The U.S. used a 4-0 run with a Hill kill and three straight Serbia errors to take a 15-14 advantage. Serbia answered with back-to-back points to grab a 16-15 lead at the second technical timeout. Serbia gained a two-point cushion at 21-19 to break a string of sideouts, then pushed the advantage to 23-20. Team USA trimmed the gap to 23-22 with a Hill kill and Lloyd block. The U.S. saved two set points with a Serbia service error and Bartsch-Hackley kill to level the score at 24-all. The U.S. scored a third straight point with a Serbia error to put the Americans up 25-24. Serbia reversed the lead to 26-25 with consecutive points. Team USA picked up its second set point with a Serbia service error and Bartsch-Hackley kill. Serbia saved a set point to earn its fifth try at the set at 29-28, then won the set at 30-28.

Serbia picked up an early 5-1 edge in the second set, then pushed the margin to 9-2 with a 4-0 run. Akinradewo scored a kill and followed with consecutive blocks to cut the gap to 10-6. Bartsch-Hackley added a kill to the 4-0 run at 10-7 prompting a Serbia timeout. Serbia upped its lead to 14-9 on consecutive USA errors. Serbia reached the second technical timeout leading 16-10. Bartsch-Hackley notched a kill Akinradewo formed a block after a Serbia service error to cut the gap to 18-15. Akinradewo won a joust and pounded a slide to slice the deficit to 18-17 as the USA ran off five straight points prompting a Serbia timeout. Serbia hit wide to level the score at 18-all. Team USA went in front 20-19 as Adams blocked a Serbia attack to end a mega rally. Team USA gained a two-point cushion at 22-20 with a Lloyd joust winner and Serbia attack error. Serbia scored back-to-back points to square the set at 22-all. Team USA won the set at 25-23 with a Drews kill and Adams ace.

Serbia served consecutive aces to start the third set with a 2-0 lead, then went up 5-1 on three straight points. Serbia reached the first technical timeout up 8-2 on three unanswered points. Bartsch-Hackley downed consecutive kills to slice the American deficit to 9-5. Serbia answered with consecutive points at 11-5, then inched the lead to 14-7. Bartsch-Hackley served an ace and Adams put up a block after a Serbia service error to cut the gap to 14-10. However, Serbia answered with three straight points to build a 17-10 advantage. Adams and Murphy scored consecutive blocks to chip the American deficit to 17-12. Serbia responded with back-to-back points to stake a 19-12 lead. Akinradewo slammed a kill and Serbia hit wide to cut the gap to 19-14, but Serbia answered two points of its own at 21-14. Bartsch-Hackley downed a back-row kill and Hill followed with an ace to put the score at 21-16. Trailing 23-16, the U.S. scored on a Serbia error and Bartsch-Hackley block to cut the deficit to 23-18. Team USA saved two set points but lost 25-20.

Serbia earned a three-point cushion early in the fourth set at 5-2 with three straight points. Serbia went into the first technical timeout with an 8-4 margin. The U.S. cut the deficit in half at 9-7 on consecutive Serbia errors. Serbia upped its lead back to four points at 12-8, then used a 5-0 run to push the lead to 18-10. Drews hammered consecutive kills and Serbia committed an error to close the gap to 18-13. Serbia stopped the run with three consecutive points at 21-13. Bartsch-Hackley saved two match points with kills and Serbia committed consecutive errors at 24-18. Serbia finished the set at 25-18.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB Volleyball Nations League June 12-14
# - 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 lost to Serbia 30-28, 23-25, 25-20, 25-18 (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