U.S. Women Blank Belgium to Remain at Top

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | May 24, 2018, 4:42 a.m. (ET)


Lauren Gibbemeyer and Jordan Larson blocking

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 24, 2018) – The second-ranked U.S. Women’s National Team used a balanced scoring attack to sweep Belgium 25-11, 25-18, 25-17 in FIVB Volleyball Nations League action on Thursday in Toyota, Japan.

Team USA improves to 5-1 overall in the 16-team round-robin Volleyball Nations League. With the victory, the Americans will close out the second preliminary round week assured of sitting atop the league standings with 16 points. Belgium falls to 2-4 overall and with six points. The U.S. has won four consecutive matches in straight sets.

The U.S. resumes week three of five as round-robin format with the Americans challenging Germany at 4 a.m. ET, Dominican Republic on May 29 at 4 a.m. ET and Thailand at 7 a.m. ET.

The U.S. used a seven-point run to break a 7-all tie in the opening set to stake a 14-7 advantage, then never looked back in winning 25-11. Team USA broke a 13-all tie with four consecutive points to grab a 17-13 lead, then cruised to the 25-18 victory. The Americans started the third set with a 5-0 advantage and cruised to a 25-17 score in the final set.

Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) charted 14 points with 12 kills on 27 attacks and two blocks. Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) totaled 12 points starting with 10 kills on 21 swings and two blocks. Outside Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) hammered eight kills on 21 swings, two aces and a block or 11 points.

Middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) contributed 10 points with five kills on eight swings, four blocks and an ace. Middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) hit a stellar six-of-seven and added two blocks for eight points. Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California), Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) and Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) all rounded out the scoring with one point each.

Lloyd set the Americans to a 44.8 kill percent for the match. The U.S. dominated the stats with a 44-24 margin in kills and a 11-2 average in blocks. Both teams served three aces and committed 17 errors.

The U.S. started Lloyd at setter, Drews at opposite, Larson and Bartsch-Hackley at outside, and Adams and Gibbemeyer at middle. Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) served as the libero.

Celine Van Gestel recorded a team-best 10 points in the loss. No other player scored more than four points in the match.

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. jumped out to a 3-0 start in the opening set with Larson serving an ace and Drews hammering two kills. Belgium cut the gap to 3-2 with consecutive points and leveled the score at 6-all. Team USA broke a 7-all tie with seven consecutive points to go up 14-7. The Americans rattled off three straight points to extend their lead to 17-8, then pushed their advantage to double digits at 19-9. Team USA closed out the set at 25-11.

The Americans pushed out to an early 5-2 lead in the second set. The U.S. downed four unanswered points to extend the margin to 11-6. Belgium squared the set at 11-all on five consecutive points. Team USA broke a 13-all tie with four consecutive points to grab a 17-13 lead. The Americans reached a 21-15 margin with three consecutive points. The U.S. completed the second set with a 25-18 victory.

Team USA built an early 5-0 advantage in the third set, then inched its margin to 11-4. Belgium sliced two points off its deficit at 11-6, but the U.S. responded with three straight points to extend the margin to 14-6. The Americans reached a 10-point cushion at 22-12. The U.S. closed the set at 25-17.

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 def. Belgium 25-11, 25-17, 25-18 (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