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U.S. Women Ready for World Championship Final 6

By Bill Kauffman ( | Oct. 13, 2018, 1:58 p.m. (ET)

U.S. captain Jordan Larson shakes hands with Chinese captain Zhu Ting
U.S. captain Jordan Larson shakes hands with Chinese captain Zhu Ting during their World Championship Second Round match.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 13, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team has reached the FIVB World Championship Third Round, or the Final Six, where it now has a clean slate with an opportunity to repeat as gold medalists.

Quick Sets

  • Key Note: Although the U.S. ended the Second Round with consecutive losses, all six teams in the Third Round will have 0-0 records as they compete in two, three-team pools to determine which teams advance to the semifinals.
  • Pool H Records Through 2nd Round: Netherland (8-1, 24 points), China (8-1, 24 points), USA (7-2, 19 points)
  • World Rankings of Third Round Teams: Pool G – No. 3 Serbia No. 6 Japan, No. 7 Italy; Pool H - No. 1 China, No. 2 USA, No. 8 Netherlands
  • 2018 USA Season Record: 33-6
  • Up Next: Team USA vs. China on Sunday at 3:10 a.m. ET
  • Watch: has exclusive rights in USA. Order subscription by clicking here

Forget that Team USA opened the 2018 World Championship with seven straight wins. Forget about the Americans ending the second round with losses to No. 1 China and Italy, the only team to go undefeated team heading into the Third Round. All six teams are now back to square one – past results to do not carry into the third round other than for seeding and the drawing of lots.

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

All that matters now are the two Third Round opponents awaiting the Americans in Nagoya, Japan. The U.S. was drawn into Pool H with a repeat match against China on Sunday at 3:10 a.m. ET, followed by Netherlands on Monday at 3:10 a.m. ET. In the opposite three-team pool are Italy, Japan and Serbia. The top two teams in each Third Round pool will advance to the semifinals on Oct. 19 with the medal matches on Oct. 20.


“We are definitely excited to be moving on to the Final Six,” U.S. Women’s National Team captain Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) said. “While we know we have to continue to get better with each extra day we are here, this will be our focus leading into these next couple of matches.”


The U.S. knows China well, and the two teams have had a history of matches in the World Championship. The Americans defeated China in four sets in the 2014 World Championship gold-medal match. Up to that point, China had won the three previous World Championship meetings in 1986, 1990 and 2006. Both squads have won four matches in the eight previous World Championship meetings.

Overall, China leads the all-time world-level series (Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World Grand Prix, Volleyball Nations League, World Grand Champions Cup) 38-31. The U.S. defeated China twice during the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, including a four-set win in the semifinals. Outside of the world-level competitions, Team USA has hosted China in the 2015 USA Volleyball Cup where both teams won two matches. Since 1983, China leads the all-time series 92-47 including non-FIVB and Olympic Games matches.

The U.S. has already faced Netherlands once this year in Japan, a 25-19, 25-21, 25-23 American victory during the FIVB Volleyball Nations League preliminary round on May 23. Larson scored a match-high 18 points in the victory. Overall, the U.S. is 34-11 against Netherlands dating back to 1983, having won eight consecutive matches in the series. The last Netherlands victory was in the 2009 FIVB World Grand Prix.

Team USA’s opponents in Pool H have head coaches who have direct links to the Americans’ past three Olympic Games successes. Jenny Lang Ping was the head coach the U.S. that won silver at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in her native country. Jamie Morrison, now the head coach of Netherlands, was an assistant coach for the U.S. Women that won silver at the 2012 London Olympic Games and bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. In fact, the Americans needed to defeat Netherlands in the 2016 Olympic Games bronze-medal match to reach the podium.

Lang Ping’s Chinese team played a pivotal role in the Americans advancing to this year’s World Championship Third Round. On the final day of the Second Round, Team USA needed defeat Italy or for China to defeat Russia. The U.S. lost its battle with Italy in four sets in a pressure-packed match. However, China came through in the American quest to repeat as World Champions by defeating Russia in four sets.

U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly has penciled in eight different starting lineups through the first nine matches of the 2018 World Championship. A total of 11 of the 14 players on the roster have started at least three matches. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) and libero Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) have each had eight starts.

With a rotating lineup of starters, the U.S. does not have many players among the statistical leaders heading into the third round. Through the second round, outside hitter Larson leads all Americans in scoring with 94 points (85 kills, 5 blocks, 4 aces) to rank 32nd in the tournament. Robinson ranks third in Best Receiver with a 43.38 efficiency and eighth in Best Digger with 2.85 digs per set.

FIVB Statistical Leaders

1. Paola Egonu (Italy) 182 points (150 kills, 17 blocks, 15 aces)
32. Jordan Larson (USA) 94 points (85 kills, 5 blocks, 4 aces)
42. Kim Hill (USA) 83 points (76 kills, 5 blocks, 2 aces)
44. Kelly Murphy (USA) 65 points (65 kills, 10 blocks, 7 aces)

Best Spikers
1. Tijana Boskovic (SRB) 56.74 (80-22-141)
28. Jordan Larson (USA) 38.99 (85-20-218)
37. Kim Hill (USA) 34.54 (76-30-220)

Best Blockers
1. Anna Danesi (Italy) 0.90 per set (27 blocks)
17. Foluke Akinradewo (USA) 0.55 per set (18 blocks)
47. Kelly Murphy (USA) 0.30 per set (10 blocks)

Best Diggers
1. Shara Venegas (PUR) 4.30 per set
8. Kelsey Robinson (USA) 2.85 per set
17. Jordan Larson (USA) 2.09 per set

Best Receivers
1. Mako Kobata (JPN) 46.36 (77-7-151)
3. Kelsey Robinson (USA) 43.38 efficiency (64-5-136)
12. Kim Hill (USA) 27.43 (59-11-175)
13. Jordan Larson (USA) 26.51 (53-9-166), 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 subscription, click here. To see the full World Championship schedule that will stream, click here.

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 lost to Italy 25-16, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16

Third Round at Nagoya, Japan (Must finish top 3 in Second Round to advance)
Oct. 14: USA vs. China, 3:10 a.m. (Pool H)
Oct. 14: Japan vs. Serbia, 6:20 a.m. (Pool G)
Oct. 15: USA vs. Netherlands, 3:10 a.m. (Pool H)
Oct. 15: Italy vs. Japan, 6:20 a.m. (Pool G)
Oct. 16: Italy vs. Serbia, 3:10 a.m. (Pool G)
Oct. 16: Netherlands vs. China, 6:20 a.m. (Pool H)

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

Related Athletes

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Rachael Adams

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Foluke Akinradewo

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Michelle Bartsch-Hackley

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Megan Courtney

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Tori Dixon

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Lauren Gibbemeyer

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Micha Hancock

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Kim Hill

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Jordan Larson

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Carli Lloyd

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Karsta Lowe

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Kelly Murphy

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Kelsey Robinson

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Sarah Wilhite Parsons