U.S. Women Sweep Netherlands to Take VNL Lead

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | May 23, 2018, 4:41 a.m. (ET)

Jordan Larson attacks against Netherlands
Jordan Larson scored a match-high 18 points as U.S. Women defeat Netherlands to take top spot in Volleyball Nations League standings

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 23, 2018) – Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) notched 18 points to lead the second-ranked U.S. Women’s National Team past Netherlands 25-19, 25-21, 25-23 in FIVB Volleyball Nations League action Wednesday in Toyota, Japan.

With the victory over previously undefeated Netherlands, Team USA will conclude the fifth day of competition atop the 16-team standings with a 4-1 record and 13 points. Netherlands, ranked eighth in the world, falls to 4-1 in the tournament with 11 points. The Americans face Belgium on May 24 at 2:30 a.m. ET in Toyota, Japan, before traveling to play three matches each in Thailand, China and Argentina. The U.S. has won three consecutive matches in straight sets.

The U.S. broke a 3-all tie in the opening set to stake a 7-3 advantage, then never allowed Netherlands closer than three points the rest of the set in winning 25-19. Trailing 15-14 in the second set, the Americans used a 5-1 spurt to grab a 19-15 advantage and went on to win 25-21. Netherlands scored seven unanswered points to tie the third set at 19-all, but could never take the lead as Team USA won 25-23.

Larson tallied 14 kills on 37 attacks, two blocks and two aces on 14 serves to reach her team-leading 18 points. Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) charted 12 kills on 32 swings. The two starting outside hitters combined for 26 of 69 attacking for a 37.7 kill percent.

Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) contributed seven kills on 16 swings, two blocks and an ace for 10 points. Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida) pocketed six kills on 10 swings and two blocks. Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) recorded six kills on 15 swings. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) added a block and an ace for two points, while Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) came off the bench in all three sets to provide a block and ace.

Lloyd set the U.S. to a 38.8 kill percent for the match. The Americans serving kept the Dutch in trouble for much of the match as the U.S. held a 5-1 ace margin. The U.S. offense provided a 45-39 kill advantage to offset Netherlands’ slim 9-8 edge in blocks. Team USA benefited from 17 Netherlands errors and held its own miscues to 14 for the match.

The U.S. started Lloyd at setter, Murphy at opposite, Larson and Hill at outside, and Akinradewo and Dixon at middle. Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) served as the libero.

Maret Balkestein-Grothues led Netherlands with 14 points and Lonneke Sloetjes added 12.

The U.S. has now won its last nine matches against Netherlands in world-level major tournaments.

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. used a 4-0 run to break a 3-all tie in the opening set to grab a 7-3 advantage. The Americans doubled-up Netherlands at 10-5 with back-to-back points, then extended their margin to 12-6. Netherlands scored three unanswered points to cut the deficit in half at 14-11. Team USA responded with three consecutive points to raise its margin to 17-11. Netherlands trimmed the gap to 18-14 with consecutive points, but the U.S. inched its lead back to six points at 21-15. The Americans reached set points at 24-17 on back-to-back scores and finished with a 25-19 victory after Japan saved two set points. Larson provided six points in the opening set with 5-of-7 hitting and a block.

Netherlands gained its first lead of the match at 5-4 in the second set with back-to-back points. The Americans used a 5-1 scoring run to establish a 10-7 advantage. Netherlands took the lead back at 15-14 on a 5-1 scoring run, but Team USA quickly responded with five unanswered points to take a 19-15 advantage. Netherlands trimmed the gap to 22-20 with back-to-back points, but the U.S. held off the Dutch for a 25-21 victory.

The U.S. built a two-point cushion at 4-2 in the third set, but the Dutch quickly squared the set at 4-all. Team USA notched back-to-back points to stake a 6-4 advantage. The U.S. scored five unanswered points to push its lead to 12-6. Netherlands stopped the run with two points of its own at 12-8. The Americans scored four of the next five points to reach the second technical timeout up 16-9. Netherlands came out of the break with consecutive points to chip away at 16-11. The U.S. pushed its margin to seven at 19-12. Netherlands charged back into a tie at 19-all with seven unanswered points. The Americans ended the spurt three straight points of their own to gain a three-point cushion at 22-19. Netherlands closed back to within one at 22-21. The U.S. sided out the rest of the way to win 25-23.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB Volleyball Nations League May 22-24
# - 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 vs. Belgium, 2:30 a.m. ET (at Toyota, Japan)
May 29: USA vs. Germany, 4 a.m. ET (at Bangkok, Thailand)
May 30: USA vs. Dominican Republic, 4 a.m. ET (at Bangkok, Thailand)
May 31: USA vs. Thailand, 7 a.m. ET (at Bangkok, Thailand)
June 5: USA vs. Russia, TBA (at Jiangmen, China)
June 6: USA vs. Brazil, TBA (at Jiangmen, China)
June 7: USA vs. China, TBA (at Jiangmen, China)
June 12: USA vs. Serbia, TBA (at Santa Fe, Argentina)
June 13: USA vs. Korea, TBA (at Santa Fe, Argentina)
June 14: USA vs. Argentina, TBA (at Santa Fe, Argentina)

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