Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo returned to the United States national women's volleyball team after missing the 2013 international season and the 2013-14 club season. She made an immediate difference.
Akinradewo scored 14 points, including a team-high three blocks, as the world No.2 Americans beat top-ranked Brazil, 25-22, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19, on Saturday at UC Irvine as part of the USA Volleyball Cup series.
Foluke Akinradewo/USA Volleyball
"In general, any time we play Brazil it is a dog fight," Akinradewo told USA Volleyball. "You are going to see speed, high athleticism, elite volleyball. If you want to see something exciting and something new and different, then you should come to the game."
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Akinradewo, an All-American middle blocker while at Stanford, was one of five U.S. players to reach double figures in scoring. She was joined by Jordan Larson Burbach with 16 points via 12 kills, two aces and two blocks; Kelly Murphy and Kim Hill each with 15 points and Lauren Gibbemeyer with 10 points.
"It feels really good," said Hill. "That's the first time since I've been on the national team that we've beat them."
The U.S. converted 36 percent of its attacks into points as Alisha Glass set the squad. The South Americans were limited to a 32 kill percent as the U.S. compiled 53 digs, led by Kayla Banwarth's 15 digs. Hill added 14 digs in the victory.
"We played really well together," Hill said. "We've been working on a few things as a team, especially with positive communication."
Brazil out-blocked the Americans 11-6, but the U.S. served created problems all night for the two-time Olympic Games champions. The U.S. had a 10-1 ace advantage, while its reception was 73 percent positive the Brazilians' 57 percent.
Other Stanford grads included team captain Kristin (Richards) Hildebrand, Cassidy Lichtman and Alix Klineman.
Hildebrand also spoke about playing Brazil.