Stanford grad helps USA women win in FIVB Grand Prix


With former Stanford All-American Foluke Akinradewo scoring 10 points the U.S. women defeated Japan, 25-12, 25-15, 25-18, to kick off the first of five matches in five days at the 2015 FIVB World Grand Prix Final at CenturyLink Center Omaha.

The American women, ranked No. 1 in the world, will take on Italy on Thursday night.

Akinradewo was a starting middle blocker and finished with four blocks to lead the USA.

The Americans were led in scoring by first-year National Team member, Karsta Lowe, who joined the program in May following a stellar career at UCLA. She led all NCAA Division I players in kills (5.96) and points (6.60) per set in 2014.

Against Japan, she scored 17 points, going 14-21, with three blocks.

Lowe obviously has already has made an impact on the program, going from a college setting to starting in matches around the world in Turkey, Russia and Hong Kong for the FIVB Grand Prix.

"It's been fun," Lowe said. "I'm just trying to stay level headed and stay grounded through the whole experience."

The team maintained its early momentum and was attacking very efficiently; at the second technical time out the team was 11 for 12 on attacks. At 23-12, Akinradewo and Kim Hill combined on a block, then Akinradewo killed a short set down the middle from Courtney Thompson and then the first set ended with a solo block by the 2012 Olympian.

The second set saw the Japanese team bounce back. They took an 8-7 lead at the break, but that was the last lead they saw for the rest of the night.

In the third set, the U.S. jumped out to another 7-1 as it had in the first. Japan got within three of the lead twice, but that was it.

"I thought we did a nice job," said U.S. head coach Karch Kiraly. "We were good in lots of phases of the game. We had chosen some things that were quite important to us in terms of how to defend Japan. We knew what our job was and we executed well. We had a high level of engagement in the game plan and we executed it at a high level. And that's what we need to do. That's what a good team needs to do consistently."

— USA Volleyball/Palo Alto Online Sports

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