Sports

Team USA women aces FIVB World Grand Prix volleyball match

 

The United States women's senior national volleyball team turned a 15-2 ace advantage into victory Friday night, beating Germany for the second time in as many weekends of the FIVB World Grand Prix, 25-17, 24-26, 25-10, 25-23, in Long Beach.

The USA improved to 3-1 in the FIVB World Grand Prix with nine points, while Germany falls to 0-4 through the fourth competition day. The Americans host Japan (1-3) on Saturday.

"It was a great atmosphere. It was a special treat. We do not play many tournament matches in the USA," U.S. coach Karch Kiraly said. "Obviously we had a World Grand Prix Finals week last year in Omaha, but beyond that we have not played a Grand Prix phase since 1996 – after a 20-year break. It is not something we are used to. This was even a bigger adjustment as we have not played a tournament in Southern California, staying at home, making commutes and just having a different experience. I don't think we handled it well in the first two sets and we got a little better as we went along."

Karsta Lowe scored 20 points with 18 kills on 34 swings. Kim Hill added 19 points with 15 kills on 41 attacks. Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Illinois) added 12 points with six kills on 26 attacks, four aces and two blocks. Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo did not play.

Christa Dietzen added eight points with three kills, three blocks and two aces. Rachael Adams chipped in eight points with five kills on eight swings, two aces and a block. Kelly Murphy charted six points, while Alisha Glass rounded out the scoring with five points.

After losing the second set, Team USA regrouped with a more aggressive attitude on the court.

"Alisha Glass all brought us all in and told us we need to turn up our aggression level, meaning block and defense assertiveness," Dietzen said. "I also believe our communication needed to be crisper. We had a few mis-communication plays in the first two sets. I thought that was another upgrade and allowed us to play better, and our serve got better."

Team USA converted 37.7 percent of its attacks as Glass had 25 running sets on 75 chances and Cal grad Carli Lloyd added 10 running sets on 28 chances in the double-sub role. The Americans held Germany to a .328 hitting efficiency.

Robinson led the American defense with 16 digs, while Glass had 15 and Kayla Banwarth chipped in 14.

Lowe and Hill each had 13 digs. Robinson was credited with 23 excellent receptions on 25 chances, while Banwarth was 15 of 18 without an error. Hill totaled 16 excellent receptions on 22 chances.

The Americans also held a 11-8 block margin in the victory.

— USA volleyball

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