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Aug. 18, 2018: U.S. Women Defeat Brazil 3-1, Go Undefeated in 4-Match Exhibition Tour

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 18, 2018) – Outside hitter Madi Kingdon Rishel (Phoenix, Arizona) scored a match-high 26 points in leading the U.S. Women’s National Team to a 25-23, 18-25, 26-24, 25-13 victory over Brazil on Saturday in Rio de Janeiro to conclude its four-match exhibition tour with a 4-0 record.

The U.S. won all four of its matches against Brazil using four different starting lineups as all 14 Americans on the travel roster had at least one start. Team USA's focus now turns to defending its FIVB World Championship as it heads to Japan at the end September.

USA vs. Brazil Exhibition Tour Series

The U.S. used a 5-0 run to overcome a 21-19 deficit in the opening set to win 25-23, a set that had seven lead changes. Brazil scored six unanswered points in the second set to take a 22-17 advantage and scores nine of final 10 points for 25-18 victory. Team USA scored the final three points of the third set on Kingdon Rishel winners to win 26-24. Team USA had taken a 13-8 lead after the score was tied 6-all, but Brazil had rushed into the lead at 19-18 on an 11-15 run. The Americans ended the match on a 16-6 run to win the fourth set 25-13.

Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona) reached 26 points with 22 kills on 42 swings, two aces and two blocks. Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) contributed 23 points with 19 kills on 36 attacks, two aces and two blocks. Middle Chiaka Ogbobu (Coppell, Texas) pocketed 11 points with five kills on eight errorless attacks to go with a team-best six blocks.

“I thought it was a difficult game,” Drews said. “It was very point-to-point. The lead changed many times. Every time we play Brazil, I think we learn so much about ourselves and our weakness and ways we can get better. They really challenge us. We really commend them and thank them for this last week and getting both teams better. It has been a lot fun.”

Related: Match Stats (Updated) | Photo Gallery

Annie Drews blocking against BrazilOutside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois), who started the final two sets, added six kills on 22 swings and a block for seven points. Setter Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) served three aces in the match to go with two kills on four attacks and a block for seven points. Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) tacked on three kills and and a block for four points. Outside hitter Simone Lee (Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin) tallied two kills in the victory while playing just the first two sets. Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois), who was part of the double-sub with Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California) in the first two sets, rounded out the scoring with an ace.

Libero Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) was credited with an 69 positive reception percent on 13 receptions, in addition to five digs. Kingdon provided a 44 positive reception percent on 25 chances, along with 10 digs. Bartsch-Hackley added 18 receptions with a 44 positive percent. Lee was credited with six digs and handled a team-leading 25 receptions with a 44 positive percent. Hancock totaled 10 digs in the victory.

Hancock set the Americans to a 42 kill percent and .254 hitting efficiency (59-23-142) for the match. Meanwhile, the American defense limited Brazil to a 35 kill percent and .181 hitting efficiency (39-19-110).

“It is definitely a great feeling to win,” Drews said of getting four wins against Brazil on the road. “When you bring a young group, I think it is really rewarding to win.”

Drews feels the bigger takeaway from the week in Brazil was not the wins, but getting the younger players ready for the next stage as Team USA prepares to defend its FIVB World Championship.

“I think the bigger focus was getting people playing time who may not have played much during Volleyball Nations League, getting some of our younger players comfortable,” Drews said. “I think four matches gave us a good chance to do that. Get a lot of people playing time, and see what we need to get better at.”

Team USA out-blocked Brazil 13-7 and held a slim 8-7 margin in aces. The American offense secured a 59-39 advantage in kills during the match, thanks in part to a 45 positive reception as a team. In contrast, the Brazilians were positive on 41 percent of their receptions.

Gabi paced the Brazilians with 19 points and Tandara added 10 points in the loss.

For the complete story, click here.

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