The United States women's senior national volleyball team remained in contention, by the slimmest of margins, at the FIVB World Grand Prix Group 1 preliminary round in Bangkok, Thailand, beating Dominican Republic, 25-21, 15-25, 25-19, 29-27, on Sunday.
Team USA, which started the day in eighth place in the 12-team Group 1 field, finished the nine-match preliminary round in fifth place with a 5-4 record and 15 points, and does not advance to the finals.
The U.S. needed to leap-frog four teams to earn a qualifying spot into the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round. To do so, the Americans needed four matches on the final day to go their way.
Moments before the USA-Dominican Republic match started, Korea upset Serbia (4-5, 13 points) in Macau, China, as the first match to go the Americans way.
After the U.S. victory securing the full three standings points, the Americans are still in the Final Round chase but need to await the results of Pool H matches being held in Kalingrad, Russia.
Turkey (6-3, 16 points) clinched its spot with a 3-1 win over Italy (5-4, 12 points) and Russia (5-4, 16 points) swept Germany (4-5, 12 points) to eliminate the U.S.
Team USA overcame an 18-14 deficit to Dominican Republic in the opening set by scoring eight straight points on Stanford grad Cassidy Lichtman's serve to take a 22-18 advantage.
Kelly Murphy led the U.S. with 17 kills on 44 attacks, one block and one ace for 19 points. Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo recorded 18 points with 13 kills on 24 errorless attacks and a team-high five blocks.
Team USA held a 54-48 advantage in kills that led to a 36.7 kill percent and .238 hitting efficiency (54-19-147). The American defense held Dominican Republic to a 34.8 kill percent and .260 hitting efficiency (48-12-138). The U.S. held a 7-5 ace advantage, while Dominican Republic managed a 12-10 margin in blocks.
The U.S. won the FIVB World Grand Prix title three consecutive years from 2010 to 2012, but are looking to bounce back from a disappointing sixth-place finish last year in Japan. The Americans have won the tournament five times, including 1995 and 2001.