A good start to a final round for USA women's volleyball


The United States women's national volleyball team got off to a good start in the Final Round of the FIVB World Grand Prix in Macau on Wednesday, downing Japan, 25-22, 25-17, 25-23.

The U.S., ranked second in the FIVB world ranking and defending FIVB World Grand Prix champions, faces Italy on Thursday and concludes Final Round pool play against top-ranked Brazil on Friday.

"I like the way the USA team played," U.S. coach Hugh McCutcheon said. "We played with good energy and we were strong from the service line. Japan is always a challenging opponent with the speed at which they play, and we knew Japan would fight to the very end, and certainly it was the case today. They are a good team and we are happy to start with a win against strong opponent."

Destinee Hooker scored a match-high 19 points on 16 kills, two blocks and an ace. Jordan Larson added five kills on 19 attacks, four blocks and four aces for 13 points.

Stanford grad Logan Tom recordedeight kills and a block for nine points, Heather Bown contributed five kills and two aces for seven points, and Cardinal grad Foluke Akinradewo had five points with three kills, an ace and a block.

Berg provided 22 assists on 76 total set attempts leading to a 40.0 kill percent and .295 hitting efficiency as the team committed just 10 attack errors. Meanwhile, Japan converted 37.7 percent of its attack attempts for points with a .274 hitting efficiency.

Larson contributed a team-high 13 excellent service receptions on 34 attempts, while Nicole Davis added a team-high four digs. Tom chipped in eight excellent receptions on 15 attempts.

"I think it was a well-played match by both teams," U.S. captain Jennifer Tamas said. "We knew to play against a team with such a fast offense like Japan it is important to serve aggressively, and I think we did a good job at that. We are happy with the start and with this win."

The U.S. controlled the service game with an 8-0 ace advantage. The American edged Japan 8-5 in blocks and limited their errors to 17. Team USA held a 41.8 service receptions efficiency, while Japan had difficulty on serve-receive with only 18 excellent receptions on 68 attempts.

— Palo Alto Online Sports

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