The U.S. Women's National Team had its six-match win streak at the FIVB World Cup snapped after Russia earned a 25-17, 31-29, 25-23 victory on Friday afternoon in Nagoya, Japan, in a battle of 7-1 teams in the top two positions of the standings.
Team USA, 7-2 overall, will now need to refocus for its Saturday match against host Japan before concluding the tournament on Sunday against NORCECA rival Dominican Republic.
Russia now takes the top spot in the World Cup with an 8-1 record. The U.S. can still earn a spot in the top two and a berth into the 2016 Olympic Games, but two wins are a must along with some help from other teams this weekend.
"Russia played a very strong match," U.S. head coach Karch Kiraly said. "This was a disappointing loss. Every tournament brings pain and adversity and this is ours. We have a chance to come back against a good Japan team tomorrow. No. 1 (Yana Shcherban) played good. We did not execute our game plan well against her. No. 15 (Tatiana Kosheleva) is always good and she was again today."
Kim Hill scored a U.S. high 13 points with 11 kills on 32 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo added 10 points with 10 kills on 20 attacks. Karsta Lowe charted 10 points with seven kills on 23 swings, two blocks and an ace.
"This was a disappointing match," said Christa Dietzen. "We did not execute well. They have a number of weapons. Now we have to focus on Japan tomorrow."
Russia held a 16-9 block advantage in the match and took advantage of 13 U.S. errors. The Europeans held a slim 51-48 margin in kills as they converted 44.7 percent of their attacks with a .307 hitting efficiency (51-16-114). The Americans had a 2-1 edge in aces.
The U.S. has never won the FIVB World Cup. The Americans finished second in the last edition in 2011 after bronze-medal finishes in 2003 and 2007.
Earlier this year Team USA defeated Russia twice during the FIVB World Grand Prix. The U.S. won the first meeting a 3-0 in Kaliningrad, Russia, during the second preliminary round weekend, then followed that with a 3-1 victory in the Final Round in Omaha, Neb., to go on to win the title. Russia finished second in the World Grand Prix.