American women beat Algeria at World Cup; men top Brazil


The U.S. women's national volleyball team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, completed the first phase of the FIVB World Cup by dominating winless Algeria, 25-7, 25-2, 25-5, Thursday in Matsumoto, Japan.

After two off days, the Americans (4-1) resume play in Okayama against Kenya on Sunday, Argentina on Monday and Cuba on Tuesday.

As a team, the U.S. converted 59.6 percent of its attacks with a .544 hitting efficiency (34-3-57). The Americans held a 17-0 block advantage and a 8-0 ace margin over the Algerians.

"We had some things we focused on getting better at today and I also like the way our team played hard," U.S. coach Karch Kiraly said. "It doesn't matter who's across the net. We honor our opponents, we honor our sport and we honor our program and team. I like what we did today."

Tori Dixon paced Team USA with 16 points via eight kills on 10 errorless attacks, six blocks and two aces. Megan Easy added 12 points on six kills via 11 attacks, four blocks and two aces. She added team-bests of 11 digs and 20 serves.

Kelsey Robinson chalked up 10 points with six kills on 11 errorless swings, three blocks and an ace. She added nine digs in the victory. Nicole Fawcett pocketed seven kills on 17 attacks and three blocks for 10 points. Lauren Gibbemeyer collected seven points with six kills on seven attacks and a block.

Men's volleyball

The U.S. men's national team found some consistency when it counted and recorded a USA Volleyball Cup win over Brazil, 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 15-11, Wednesday at USC.

The teams conclude the series Saturday at UC Irvine at 7 p.m. The U.S. is using the USAV Cup to prepare for the FIVB World Cup (Sept. 8-23 in Japan), which is their first chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The U.S. Men led in kills (69-68) and had a .500 hitting efficiency as compared to Brazil's .430. Opposite Murphy Troy, who played for USC, led all scorers with 23 points on a match-high 22 kills and one block.

"The last two games against these guys, we had a lot of opportunities, a lot of chances, and we just couldn't stay consistent through the end of the set," Troy said. "I thought tonight we competed really hard. (Brazil) made a lot of great plays. I think we picked it up a little bit in the fifth. Our transition game was really good in the fifth."

The U.S. dominated the blocking (10-4), led by middle blocker Russell Holmes who finished with a match-high of four. Setter Micah Christenson, who finished his career at USC in May, served three of the United States' six aces. Brazil led in aces with seven.

Outside hitter Taylor Sander added 21 points on 18 kills, one block and two aces. Outside hitter Aaron Russell added 19 points on 18 kills and one block.

Russell credited some of his team's success to some soul searching.

"We've been having a lot of long talks in the locker room after the past few matches," he said, "I think we stayed positive and fought together as a team and didn't get caught up in the lulls that are a natural part of volleyball."

— USA volleyball

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