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Team USA looks to secure top seed for FIVB Final Round

 
The U.S. women's national volleyball team can clinch the overall No. 1 seed fikr teh Final Round of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League with a pair of wins this week in Argentina. Photo courtesy of FIVB.

The United States women's national volleyball team returns to action Tuesday in Sante Fe, Argentina for the fifth and final week of preliminary play of FIVB Volleyball Nations League action.

The Americans (11-1) bring a 10-match winning streak into their game against Serbia (9-3) at 2:40 p.m. and have already clinched a spot in the Final Round to be held in Nanjing, China beginning June 27.

Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo is the senior member of the team and has been delivering double-digit points in most matches in which she has played.

The four-time collegiate All-American and 2007 Division I Player of the Year has appeared in two Olympics, helping the U.S. win the silver medal in 2012 and the bronze in 2016.

Akinradewo has been a part of the national team program since appearing in the Pan American Cup in 2005, three years after picking up the sport, and has seen extensive international action.

The Americans can clinch the top seed in the Final Round with two wins. They also play Korea (5-7) on Wednesday and host Argentina (0-12) on Thursday.

Team USA coach Karch Kiraly has used nine different starting lineups through the first 12 matches. California grad Carli Lloyd, the team's setter, is lone player to start all 12 matches.

Nebraska grad Kelsey Robinson has started 11 matches, with the last 10 being at libero, which coincides with the Americans' current winning streak. Robinson made the switch from outside hitter to libero on May 17 her first-ever match playing libero for Team USA in international competition.

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, who played for current Stanford coach Kevin Hambly at Illinois, has led the U.S. in scoring in seven matches. She has scored 144 points (122 kills, 9 blocks, 13 aces), ranking 14th overall in the VNL, for 4.24 points per set.

Bartsch-Hackley ranks second in Best Spiker with a 47.66 kill percent. She has 13 aces and holds a 13.13 reception efficiency for eighth overall in both categories.

Team USA and China are guaranteed spots in the Final Round. There are four berths waiting to be filled. Brazil, Serbia and Turkey, which handed the Americans their only loss in league play, each need one win in their remaining three matches to advance. Netherlands could secure the final spot with two wins.

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