Sports

Team USA gets a reprieve in FIVB World championships

 
Stanford grad goes high to record a kill against Italy on Thursday. Photo courtesy of FIVB.

The United States women's national volleyball team lost to Italy, 25-16, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16, Thursday on the final day of the second round of the FIVB Women's World Championships in Osaka, Japan but advanced into the Final Six after China eliminated Russia later in the day.

The Americans lost for the second straight day after opening the round with seven wins. The U.S. plays in a pool that includes China and the Netherlands and will need to beat at least one of those teams to reach the world semifinals. Italy, Japan and Serbia comprise the other pool. All matches will be held in Nagoya, Japan.

The U.S. has a rematch with China in its opening match on Sunday, followed by a match against the Netherlands on Monday.

This is obviously a very disappointing loss for us," American Foluke Akinradewo said. "We do not want to go into a match and allow another team to dictate our destiny. Hats off to Italy. They played really disciplined block defense. Italy played well and we definitely did not play our best."

Italy's Paola Egonu scored 33 points on 25 kills, 5 blocks and three aces to lead the way. Americans Jordan Larson, Kimberly Hill and Akinradewo combined for 35 points.

In the third set, Akinradewo stopped Egonu with a critical block and Larson and Hill went on the attack as the United States reached the second technical timeout ahead, 16-13.

When Hill broke through again for 20-16, Italy needed a timeout. Things did not improve for Italy as Hill blocked Egonu and Sylla fired wide from the left to leave Italy in big trouble at 22-18. Larson, inevitably, finished the third set 25-20 on the Americans' second set point.

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