Kelly Murphy scored a match-high 21 points to help spark the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team past Japan 25-27, 25-17, 25-22, 24-26, 15-11 in a FIVB World Grand Prix Pool A match Sunday in Ankara, Turkey.
Team USA, now 1-2 with 3 points following the end of the first of three preliminary round weekends, travels to Sao Paulo, Brazil, next weekend for matches against Russia, Korea and host Brazil.
The U.S. opened the deciding set with a 3-0 lead, but Japan charged back to lead 7-5. Team USA answered with a 5-1 run to pull in front 10-8 and went on to win.
Team USA out-blocked Japan 19-12 and held an 8-5 margin in aces. The Americans overcame 35 errors for the match, 14 of which came on the serve, with a 60-51 advantage in kills. The U.S. held Japan to a 30.0 kill percent and .094 hitting efficiency. Japan out-dug the U.S. 85-69.
"It was not definitely easy but we fought hard. We really wanted to win," U.S. team captain Alisha Glass said in a press conference at Baskent Hall. "We played hard together and we won some and we lost some. It makes us better as a team."
Stanford grad Alix Klineman was a sub in the first four sets. She started the fifth set to provide back-row defense early.
The U.S. and Japan have played 218 times since 1983, easily the most of any opponent for the Americans. The U.S. defeated Japan for the seventh straight time.