The United States women's national volleyball team suffered a 16-25, 26-24, 25-19, 25-23 loss to host Poland in the first round of the FIVB Grand Prix on Sunday in Gdynia.
The Americans dropped to 1-2 in preliminary play and now head to Thailand for the second round of the prelims.
It doesn't get any easier next weekend. The U.S. opens with Italy on Friday, and then meets host Thailand before taking on Puerto Rico. The Italians are coming off a four-set victory over Brazil in Pool A, which was played in Sao Carlos. Thailand went 0-3 and Puerto Rico was 1-2 over the opening weekend.
The Americans had a better blocking night than the Polish, with Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo among four players with at least three blocks to help the U.S. take a 14-9 advantage in the category.
The U.S also could not take advantage of 23 Polish errors, while committing just nine. Poland proved superior in the service game, recording seven aces to the Americans' three, all by Jordan Larson.
Akinradewo added eight kills in the match, which lasted one hour, 50 minutes. Texas grad Destinee Hooker led the U.S. with 16 kills and three blocks, while Penn State grad Megan Hodge had 11 kills and three blocks.
Poland edged the Americans, 92-91, in total points. The U.S. recorded a total of 282 points in the three matches, which led the pool.
Women's water polo
Stanford grad Lolo Silver scored three goals, including the game-winner with 10 seconds remaining, to give the U.S. national team a 10-9 victory over Canada on the first day of the The Auspole-Longmont Six Nation International Women's Tournament at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre in Australia on Sunday.
Silver's shot was deflected into goal by the defense, dribbling to the far side and just crossing the line. She was a crowd favorite, having played for an Australian league team.
The Americans, preparing for the FINA World Cup that begins Aug. 17, play twice on Monday, against Russia and host Australia. The U.S. is scheduled to meet China on Tuesday, but the Chinese contingent has been delayed because of late paperwork.
Stanford grad and newly-hired Castilleja coach Brenda Villa added three goals, all in the third period, as the Americans overcame a 6-5 halftime deficit.
The U.S. was 7-of-11 on power plays while Canada was 2-of-6 in a tournament honoring the 10-year anniversary of Australia's gold-medal victory over the U.S. in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Villa is the only remaining American on the current roster who played in that contest.
"It's typical of matches between us," U.S. coach Adam Krikorian said. "I thought we were a bit sloppy and didn't shoot very well. However, offence was not too much of a problem, especially when Canada runs a zone, which means you are going to miss a lot. Our five-man defense was not good in the first half. We were better in the second."