Girls Youth Wins Historic World Championship Title

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | Sept. 14, 2019, 4:03 p.m. (ET)

U.S. Girls Youth National Team celebrates its FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship
U.S. Girls Youth National Team celebrates its FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 14, 2019) – The U.S. Girls Youth National Team wasn’t going to be denied making USA Volleyball history on Saturday.

Team USA captured gold at the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship by defeating reigning champion Italy 25-17, 19-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-10 in the gold-medal match on Saturday in Ismailia, Egypt – a match that the Americans needed to rally from down 5-1 in the tiebreaking set.

In the process, Team USA won USA Volleyball’s first-ever gold medal in an age-group World Championship for either gender. The U.S. finished the tournament with a 7-1 record and avenged its only loss of the tournament – a five-set loss to Italy on the second day of pool play. The Americans have now won three medals in the last four editions of the biennial event including silvers in 2013 and 2015.

Related: Unofficial Team Stats

All six U.S. starters scored in double figures led by opposite Emily Londot (Utica, Ohio) and outside hitter Jess Mruzik (Livonia, Michigan) with a Team USA-high 20 points each in the victory. Londot totaled 16 kills on 41 swings, three blocks and an ace. Mruzik, the most valuable player of the tournament, racked up 16 kills, three blocks and an ace.

Middle Devyn Robinson (Ankeny, Iowa), named the tournament's Best Blocker, charted a seven kills on 15 swings and four blocks for 11 points. Middle Caroline Crawford (Lansing, Kansas) contributed five kills, three blocks and three aces for 11 points. Setter Kennedi Orr (Eagan, Minnesota), selected the tournament's Best Setter, added five blocks, four aces and a kill for 10 points. Outside hitter Elena Oglivie (Kapolei, Hawaii) pocketed nine kills and a block for 10 points.

Golden Touch! The U.S. Girls' Youth National Team captured the FIVB Girls' U18 World Championship title with a thrilling...

Posted by USA Volleyball on Saturday, September 14, 2019

U.S. libero Lexi Rodriguez (Sterling, Illinois) was unofficially credited with a 60 positive reception percent on 25 chances. Oglivie handled 43 of USA’s 90 receptions with a 49 positive percent. Mruzik was 48 percent positive on 21 chances.

Orr set Team USA to a 36 kill percent with a .196 hitting efficiency (55-25-153). The Americans held the Italians to a 33 kill percent and .095 hitting efficiency (49-35-147).

The Americans held a 19-13 advantage in blocks and 55-49 edge in kills. The U.S. served nine aces to Italy’s seven.

The U.S. started Orr at setter, Crawford and Robinson at middle, Oglivie and Mruzik at outside hitter, Londot at opposite, and Rodriguez at libero. Sydney Taylor (Grove City, Utah) was a sub in the first, third and fourth sets. Kami Miner (Redondo Beach, California) was a sub in the first set and Lindsay Krause (Papillion, Nebraska) was a sub in the second set.

After trailing 3-1 to start the first set, the U.S. scored four consecutive points to take a 5-3 advantage and went into the technical timeout leading 8-5. Italy notched three straight points to tie the set at 9-all. The Americans responded with a 6-2 spurt to go up 15-11. Team USA extended its lead to 18-13 prompting Italy to call timeout, then Robinson promptly blocked an Italian attack followed by an Italian error to increase the American advantage to 20-13. Robinson pounded an overpass for a kill and set points at 24-16, then scored the winner on a slide at 25-17.

Italy scored five unanswered points to take an 8-5 lead in the second set. The U.S. answered with six straight points to take an 11-8 edge on a Londot kill, Robinson block, Crawford ace, Mruzik kill, Londot block and Oglivie kill. Out of an Italy timeout, Londot tapped over for a kill at 12-8 to cap a 7-0 run. Italy climbed back into the lead at 16-14 on an 8-2 run, then pushed the advantage to 21-15 with five unanswered points. Italy closed the set at 25-19.

The U.S. bolted to a 5-0 advantage in the third set on two Italian errors and three aces by Orr. Italy sliced the deficit to three at 7-4. Italy moved to within one at 10-9. Team USA’s lead returned to three points at 13-10. Mruzik slammed a kill and followed with an ace to shift the American lead to 16-12. The U.S. used a 4-0 run capped by a Robinson kill to go up 20-14. Italy served two aces part of a 3-0 run to cut the American lead to 21-18. Robinson answered with a power slam and Orr and Mruzik put up consecutive blocks to extend the American lead to 24-18. Mruzik ended the set with a kill at 25-18.

The U.S. picked up a three-point cushion at 6-3 as Crawford hammered a kill and followed with an ace, then Londot scored a block on a 3-0 run. Londot and Oglivie downed consecutive kills to push Team USA in front 8-4. After Italy cut the gap to 8-6, Oglivie downed a kill and Robinson followed with a block at 10-6. Londot served an ace out of the second technical timeout to extend the American lead to 17-12. Italy narrowed the American advantage to 20-19 on a 7-3 run. Italy then tied the set at 21-all scored the final four points of the set for a 25-22 victory.

Italy grabbed an early 5-1 lead in the tiebreaker. Team USA battled to 5-3 with a Londot block, then moved to within one at 6-5 with a Mruzik block and Oglivie kill. Team USA tied the set with a Londot kill and Robinson block. The Americans went in front 9-8 on an Italian attack error. Robinson put up a block to give the U.S. a two-point cushion at 11-9. Out of an Italy timeout, Mruzik put up a block and Italy hit into the antenna for a 13-9 American lead. The U.S. reached match point with another block by Orr at 14-9. Team USA ended the set with a block at 15-10.

U.S. Girls Youth National Team at 2019 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship
# - Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, HS Grad Year, Club/Region, College Verbal Commitment)
1 - Lexi Rodriguez (L, 5-6, Sterling, Illinois, 2021, Sports Performance/Great Lakes, University of Nebraska)
3 - Elena Oglivie (OH, 5-10, Kapolei, Hawaii, 2020, Ku'ikahi VBC/Aloha, Stanford University)
4 - Sydney Taylor (L, 5-10, Grove City, Ohio, 2021, Mintonette Sports/Ohio Valley, N/A)
5 - Allison Jacobs (OH, 5-11, Stevenson Ranch, California, 2020, Legacy Volleyball Club/Southern California, UCLA)
6 - Kami Miner (S, 6-0, Redondo Beach, California, 2021, Mizuno Long Beach/Southern California, Uncommitted)
7 - Kennedi Orr (S, 6-0, Eagan, Minnesota, 2021, Mizuno Northern Lights/North Country, University of Nebraska)
11 - Jess Mruzik (OH, 6-1, Livonia, Michigan, 2020, Legacy Volleyball Club/Lakeshore, University of Michigan)
12 - Caroline Crawford (M, 6-2, Lansing, Kansas, 2020, Mid-America VBC/Heart of America, University of Kansas)
13 - Devyn Robinson (M, 6-2, Ankeny, Iowa, 2020, Iowa Powerplex/Iowa, University of Wisconsin)
14 - Emily Londot (OH, 6-2, Utica, Ohio, 2020, Mintonette Sports/Ohio Valley, Ohio State University)
17 - Lindsay Krause (OH, 6-3, Papillion, Nebraska, 2021, Premier Nebraska/Great Plains, University of Nebraska)
20 - Carter Booth (M, 6-7, Englewood, Colorado, 2022, Colorado Juniors/Rocky Mountain, University of Minnesota)

Head Coach: Jim Stone
Assistant Coaches: Nicki Holmes, Jen Flynn Oldenburg
Technical Coordinator: Mike Gee
Head of Delegation: Meredith Lee

FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship – Pool B in Ismailia, Egypt
Sept. 5: USA def. Mexico 25-21, 25-21, 25-16
Sept. 6: USA lost to Italy 20-25, 21-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-13
Sept. 8: USA def. Korea 25-11, 25-17, 25-13
Sept. 9: USA def. Canada 25-10, 25-13, 25-16

FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship – USA in Playoffs (in Ismailia, Egypt)
Sept. 10: USA def. Egypt 25-13, 27-25, 25-17 (Round of 16)
Sept. 12: USA def Japan 17-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-20 (Quarterfinals)
Sept. 13: USA def Brazil 25-18, 25-18, 25-14 (Semifinals)
Sept. 14: USA def Italy 25-17, 19-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-10 (Gold-Medal Match)