Sports

USA volleyball rebounds with big win over China at World Cup

 

Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo and the world's top-ranked United States women's national volleyball team rebounded from a tough loss to beat No. 3 China, 25-23, 25-17, 25-23, Monday at the FIVB World Cup in Matsumoto, Japan.

The Americans, who dropped a five-setter to Serbia in the 12-team round robin tournament that awards two berths to the 2016 Olympic Games on Sunday, made sure there would be no repeat against the Chinese and former U.S. coach Jenny Lang Ping.

Team USA (2-1) gets a day off Tuesday before meeting Peru on Wednesday and Algeria on Thursday. The tournament continues through Sept. 6.

"The schedule of this tournament can be very difficult," U.S. coach Karch Kiraly said. "We have 11 challenging matches in 16 days. In other competitions there is a rest day between each match, so it's a great challenge here and it's very difficult to get through this tournament without a loss for any team."

The U.S. received balanced scoring among its starters. Karsta Lowe led the Americans with 16 points on 15 kills and a block. Kim Hill contributed 14 points, including 13 kills and an ace. Akinradewo added 11 points with nine kills, one block and one ace.

"Obviously USA didn't have the best performance we wanted last night," Hill said. "So it was important to come out remembering who we are as USA Volleyball and focusing on our game and our side of the net, and being engaged in every little play -- playing one point at a time because China's a really tough team, a really great team and fun to play against. But we always have to bring 110 percent and I think we did a good job."

Jordan Larson-Burbach totaled nine points, all on kills. Nicole Fawcet,, a sub in all three sets, turned in seven kills, Christa Dietzen charted a team-best three blocks to go with two kills and Molly Kreklow, a sub in all three sets, completed the scoring with an ace.

"Yesterday was a frustrating match for us; Serbia played very well," Kiraly said. "We were happy to play against a great team with a great coach and great program (today versus China). It was the seventh time we played China this year and every battle was difficult for us."

Alisha Glass provided 31 running sets on 75 set attempts as the Americans converted 51.9 percent of their attacks into points with a .425 hitting efficiency (55-10-106).

"I think we wanted to stay really connected no matter what," Glass said. "I thought our passers passed really well and our hitters made really good choices. It made it freeing for me to be able to get them the ball and know that they were going to do the best they could possibly could. We definitely helped each other out when we could, and I think that is how we have to play every day."

The U.S. was excellent on 54.0 percent of its receptions, led by Hill's 13 excellent receptions on 20 errorless chances. Libero Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) tallied 12 excellent receptions on 20 chances to go with a team-best 23 digs.

After yesterday, we weren't trying to change the world," Hill said. "Sometimes we need to fight through and we didn't really do the best job of it yesterday, but we did today."

Team USA held a commanding 55-38 advantage in kills as the blocks and aces were close. China held a 4-3 margin in aces and both teams had five blocks. The U.S. defense held China to a 41.8 kill percent and .297 hitting efficiency (38-11-91).

— USA volleyball/Palo Alto Sports

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