U.S. Women Fall to China for 1st Loss at Worlds

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Oct. 10, 2018, 8:50 a.m. (ET)

Foluke Akinradewo attacking against China in FIVB World Championship
Foluke Akinradewo attacking against China in FIVB World Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 10, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team suffered its first loss at the FIVB World Championship as China, ranked No. 1 in the world, swept the Americans 25-17, 26-24, 25-18 in a second round Pool F match on Wednesday in Osaka, Japan.

Quick Sets

  • Key Stat: China out-blocked the U.S. 9-3 and limited its errors to eight for the match.
  • Key Note: The U.S. can still advance to the third round (Final Six) with a victory over undefeated Italy (8-0, 24 points) on the final day of the second round on Thursday. The U.S. can also advance with a loss to Italy as long as the Russians also lose to China.
  • Records: USA (7-1, 19 points), China (7-1, 21 points)
  • World Rankings: No. 2 USA, No. 1 China
  • 2018 Season Record: 33-5
  • Up Next: USA vs. Italy (8-0, 24 points) on Oct. 11 at 3:10 a.m. ET
  • Watch: FloVolleyball.tv has exclusive rights in USA. Order subscription by clicking here

The U.S. concludes the World Championship second round versus Italy on Wednesday at 3:10 a.m. ET and will need a victory to automatically qualify for the third round (Final Six). Otherwise, the Americans will need assistance from the Chinese to defeat Russia in their final second round match to conclude the day’s action.

Related: U.S. Women’s National Team Home Page | Team USA World Championship Press Kit | Team USA World Championship Event Page

Earlier today Italy secured its spot into the third round by defeating Russia 3-1. China moved into second place with its sweep of the USA, which falls to third place. Russia is in fourth place, but must get help from the Italians in defeating the U.S. in order to take the third and final spot into the third round from Pool F.

The U.S. overcame an early 8-4 deficit to tie the set at 10-all, but a 6-0 run propelled China to a 23-15 advantage en route to a 25-17 win. The U.S. rallied from a 21-18 deficit in the second set to take a 23-22 advantage, but China scored four of the five final points to win 26-24. China raced to a 12-6 advantage in the third set and cruised to a 25-18 victory.

"I want to congratulate China for playing a very strong volleyball match today," U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. "They were stronger than we were in lots of phases. Our team is looking forward to a chance to get back on the court tomorrow against a very good Italy team in the next match in this group."

Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) led the Americans with 14 points via 12 kills on 30 attacks, one block and one ace. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois), who started the final two sets, tallied eight kills on 24 swings and an ace for nine points. Opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California), who started the final set after being the double-sub opposite in the first two sets, provided nine kills on 15 swings in the match.

“We knew it was going to be a difficult match,” Larson said. “Obviously we respect China very much. They played very well today. I think we also competed very hard today. I am really proud our team for fighting through some tough moments.”

Details: Unofficial Match Stats | Official FIVB Stats | FIVB World Championship Web Site

Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) charted six kills on 14 swings and a block for seven points in starting the first two sets. Middle Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) pocketed seven kills on 13 swings. Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) tallied three kills in starting the first set. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) scored a block and middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) rounded out the scoring with a kill as a sub in the third set.

Libero Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) handled 18 receptions with a 56 positive reception percent to go with 13 digs. Bartsch-Hackley had 32 errorless receptions with a 41 positive percent and eight digs. Larson added six digs.

The U.S. converted 39 percent of its attacks into points with a .254 hitting efficiency (46-16-118). China converted 50 percent of its attacks into points with a .439 hitting efficiency (49-6-98).

China out-blocked Team USA 9-3 for the match and held a slim 3-2 margin in aces. The Chinese also had a 49-46 edge in kills, along with a 47-43 advantage in digs.

Zhu Ting led the Chinese with 19 points on 17 kills via 32 attacks, one block and one ace. Gong Xiangyu added 14 points in the victory.

In its last meeting with China in the World Championship, Team USA defeated China in four sets in the 2014 gold-medal match. Overall, the U.S. had won six of its previous eight meetings with China in world-level matches (FIVB or Olympic Games).

The U.S. started Hill and Larson at outside hitter, Akinradewo and Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) at middle, Murphy at opposite, Lloyd at setter, Robinson at libero. Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) was the setter in the double-sub in all three sets. Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) was a serving sub in the final two sets.

FloVolleyball.tv, a subscription streaming service, will stream all FIVB World Championship matches in the United States per an exclusive rights deal signed with the FIVB. To purchase a FloVolleyball.tv subscription, click here. To see the full World Championship schedule that FloVolleyball.tv will stream, click here.

China scored the first three points of the opening set. The U.S. sliced the deficit to 4-3 with kills from Murphy and Hill. China went into the first technical timeout leading 8-4 on a 3-0 run. The U.S. came out of the timeout with a Larson kill and Lloyd block to reduce the deficit to 8-6. Hill and Larson connected for consecutive kills to edge to within 9-8. Team USA tied the set at 10-all with a Larson kill and China error. China gained a 15-12 advantage on a 4-1 scoring run, then upped its lead to 23-15 on a 6-0 run. The U.S. closed to 23-17 with a Murphy block after a China service error. However, China scored the final two points for the 25-17 victory.

China picked up the first two-point cushion of the second set at 4-2, then went into the first technical timeout leading 8-5. The U.S. came out of the break with kills from Larson and Bartsch-Hackley to close to 9-7. The Americans leveled the set at 9-all with kills from Larson and Bartsch-Hackley. China won a video challenge reversal and followed with an ace to go up 11-9. The U.S. tied the set at 13-all with kills from Akinradewo and Larson prompting a China timeout. China built a three-point edge at 20-17 with three consecutive points. The U.S. trimmed the lead to 21-20 with a Lowe kill and China error, then Bartsch-Hackley tied the set at 21-all with an ace off the net. The Americans went in front 23-22 with kills from Larson and Lowe prompting a China timeout. China answered with consecutive points to gain set points at 24-23, then won 26-24 on its second set-point chance.

China scored four consecutive points to take a 5-1 margin in the third set. Team USA cut the gap to 7-5 with kills from Bartsch-Hackley and Larson, but China scored points on each side of the first technical timeout to return to a four-point edge at 9-5. China extended its lead to 12-6 with three consecutive points. The Americans cut the gap to 12-8 with a Larson block and China attack error. China increased its advantage to 18-11 with three straight points, then went up 21-13. Bartsch-Hackley slammed a kill after a China error to close the gap to 23-17. China finished off the set at 25-18.

U.S. Women's National Team Roster for FIVB World Championship

# - Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 –
Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
3 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, California, Bonsall, 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)
12 – Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, Florida, Wilmington, Illinois)
13 – Sarah Wilhite Parsons (OH, 6-2, 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, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (L, 6-2, Nebraska, Manhattan Beach, California)
24 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, UCLA, Rancho Santa Fe, California)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Luka Slabe, Tama Miyashiro
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Physiotherapist: Kara Kessans
Team Manager: Jimmy Stitz
Doctors: Dr. Christopher Lee and Lori Boyajian-O’Neill
Consultant Coaches: Marv Dunphy
Scout Coach: Giuseppe Vinci
Mental Performance Coach: Traci Statler

2018 FIVB World Championship Schedule for Team USA

First-Round Pool C at Kobe, Japan (All Time Eastern)
Sept. 29: USA def. Azerbaijan 29-27, 25-21, 25-21
Sept. 30: USA def. Trinidad & Tobago 25-11, 25-12, 25-11
Oct. 2: USA def. Korea 19-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-18
Oct. 3: USA def. Thailand 25-17, 25-16, 23-25, 21-25, 15-11
Oct. 4: USA def. Russia 19-25, 25-20, 26-24, 12-25, 15-11

Second Round at Osaka, Japan (Must finish top 4 in Pool C to advance)
Oct. 7: USA def. Bulgaria 25-16, 25-17, 25-11
Oct. 8: USA def. Turkey 25-21, 25-17, 25-18
Oct. 10: USA lost to China 25-17, 26-24, 25-18
Oct. 11: USA vs. Italy, 3:10 a.m. ET

Third Round at Nagoya, Japan (Must finish top 3 in Second Round to advance)
Oct. 14-16 (two pools of three teams)

Semifinals and Medal Rounds in Yokohama, Japan (top two finishes in both Third Round Pools)
Oct. 19-20