FIVB Volleyball Girls' U18 World Championship


USA edge Thailand 3-2 in thrilling Grand Champions Cup tie

Jordan Larson-Burbach scored 23 points to lead USA in the victory over Thailand

Tokyo, Japan, November 16, 2013 – USA had to fight hard before overcoming another gutsy performance from Thailand on the fourth day of the FIVB World Grand Champions Cup on Saturday. USA prevailed 3-2 (13-25, 27-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-13) in a match that lasted two hours and 10 minutes.

The win saw the Americans raise their record to 3-1 for seven points, while Thailand dropped to 0-4 but picked up their first point in the tournament.

Thailand’s Onuma Sittirak was the top scorer in the match with 28 points, while Jordan Larson-Burback led USA with 23.

USA middle blockers Lauren Paolini and Cursty Jackson contributed 16 and 15 points, respectively, in the victory. Thailand's Wilavan Apinyapong and Pleumjit Thinkaow each scored 14 points in the losing cause.

USA earned 11 blocking points, while the Thais had nine. Both teams had three service points. The Americans committed 26 errors to Thailand’s 18.

The Americans improved to 15-1 their lifetime record against Thailand in official FIVB competitions.

Going into the match, Thailand had only beaten USA once against 14 defeats in FIVB tournaments but it looked as if they would have a good chance of collecting their second win after a blistering performance in the first set. With two of the Americans’ first three points coming from blocks, it seemed that the Thais might struggle against their taller opponents. But the first timeout of the match came from USA coach Karch Kiraly – after Sittirak picked up her second block of the set, equalling Thailand’s blocking output from the previous day against Japan. When the Americans fell 14-10 behind after some sloppy play, Kiraly called his team off court again, but things didn’t get much better for USA. Pleumjit Thinkaow and Wilavan Apinyapong provided two more blocks for the Thais and Sittirak laid down two terrific thunderbolts as Thailand moved into an 11-point lead at 23-12. Malika Kanthong’s half-hit spike brought up setpoint and Sittirak put the Thais 1-0 up with another rocket through the American defence. 

Things were closer in the first phase of the second set and the Americans started to find holes in the Thai defence, which Larson-Burbach and Lauren Paolini were happy to exploit. The Thais were two points ahead at the first technical timeout but the Americans turned the pressure up in the second phase with Cursty Jackson delivering a couple of telling blows, helping her team to a three-point advantage at the second TTO. But three dropped points later, Kiraly called a timeout. The Americans moved back into the lead and Thailand called a timeout at 20-18, but after another good block by Thinkaow that levelled the scores at 22, Kiraly called his players off court again. The Thais saved two setpoints but on the third the usually unflappable Nootsara Tomkom failed to set up Sittirak properly and the two players collided as they tried to get the ball over the net. Sittirak got up slowly with an apparent facial injury. The pain of losing the set 27-25 probably hurt more.

Sittirak stayed in the game but committed two early errors as the Americans breezed into a 5-1 lead, at which point the Thais called a timeout. Good blocks by Thinkaow and Apinyapong steadied the Thai ship, but the Americans still lead by three at the first TTO. At 13-10, the Thais got great hitting from Kanthong and Apinyapong (twice) and drew level, prompting Kiraly to call a timeout. Two sweet hits from Thinkaow saw the Thais go 16-15 ahead at the second TTO, but the match stayed close to 19-19 when a block by Paolini on Kanthong put the Americans ahead for good. They earned three setpoints on a tough hit by Larson-Burbach and a crisp cross-court shot by the same player ended the set and put USA 2-1 ahead.   

Nothing could separate the two teams through to 7-7 in the fourth set but three straight points by Paolini put the Americans 10-7 up and forced a Thai timeout. The Thais levelled quickly with two shots from Sittirak and an unreturned serve from Tomkom, and the two teams stayed close until an ace by Sittirak gave Thailand a two-point lead at 20-18 and prompted another American timeout. This time, the Thais held on and the set concluded with successive USA errors.

After dropping three straight points to fall 3-2 behind in the deciding set, Thailand called a timeout. The Americans did likewise after dropping the next three, but it was level at 6-6. A sharp shot from Sittirak and a long shot by Larson-Burbach had the Thais two points up at the change-around but sloppy Thai defending allowed the Americans to take control and they moved into a three-point lead at 12-9. Thailand closed to within a point at 13-12, but Cassidy Lichtman brought up matchpoint with a shot that deflected off a Thai player. The Thais saved one matchpoint before Larson-Burbach thumped a winner through the Thai defence.

Download highresolution

| More

More press releases

19.11.2013 09:41:14
Japan coach Manabe draws the line after winning World Grand Champions Cup bronze

Kyoto, Japan, November 19, 2013 – Only a couple of days after the women’s tournament came to a close in Tokyo, the head coach of Team Japan Masayoshi ... More...

18.11.2013 15:53:56
Brazil’s volleyball magicians make history

Lausanne, Switzerland, November 18, 2013 - The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup ended with a familiar scene: the ladies in their bright yello... More...

17.11.2013 14:40:43
Claudino gives credit to teammates for MVP award

Tokyo, Japan, November 17, 2013 – Brazil’s Fabiana Claudino was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2013 FIVB Women’s Grand Champions Cup won by the... More...

17.11.2013 14:03:44
The first set was the key to our win: Ze Roberto

17.11.2013 14:01:11
Brazil clinch second title in Grand Champions Cup

17.11.2013 11:56:08
Brazil clinch World Grand Champions Cup with 3-0 win over Japan

17.11.2013 09:59:48
Everybody had fun: Thai captain Apinyapong

17.11.2013 09:37:14
Thailand score historic victory over Russia in Grand Champions Cup

17.11.2013 06:46:45
Team USA has a lot to be proud of: Kiraly

17.11.2013 06:04:21
USA overcome Dominican Republic 3-1 in World Grand Champions Cup

17.11.2013 00:41:27
Brazil in the driver’s seat entering final day

16.11.2013 14:14:17
Brazil one step away from the crown

16.11.2013 14:07:44
Dominican De La Cruz: Japan exploited our shortcomings

16.11.2013 13:19:20
Sakoda electrifies Japan against a spirited Dominican squad

16.11.2013 11:17:27
Brazil coach Ze Roberto: Russia is difficult every time

16.11.2013 10:28:42
Brazil stay unbeaten with 3-1 victory over Russia in Grand Champions Cup

16.11.2013 07:07:55
Thailand's style is beautiful for volleyball: USA coach Kiraly

16.11.2013 01:08:00
Thai's combine happy faces with fighting spirit

15.11.2013 23:26:15
Guimaraes dismisses the importance of individual performances

15.11.2013 14:03:26
Brazil still unbeaten, USA and Japan gain momentum

15.11.2013 13:46:51
Our defence worked well against Thailand: Japan coach Manabe

15.11.2013 13:07:28
Japan overcome Thai resistance in Grand Champions Cup

15.11.2013 11:08:43
It was a very difficult match: USA coach

15.11.2013 11:05:01
USA win tough five-setter against Russia in Grand Champions Cup

15.11.2013 06:46:41
We made too many mistakes: Brazil captain Fabiana

15.11.2013 06:32:26
Brazil drop first set but rally to beat Dominican Republic 3-1

14.11.2013 13:13:53
Coaches ready for second phase of World Grand Champions Cup

13.11.2013 16:13:16
Brazilian Fabi reflects on her Rio chances

13.11.2013 14:46:47
Brazil undefeated at Women’s Grand Champions Cup

13.11.2013 13:55:51
Kiraly says familiarity with Japan helped U.S. prevail

13.11.2013 13:25:19
Larson and Murphy pace USA over Japan

13.11.2013 10:41:24
Russia coach Marichev pleased with blocks after victory

13.11.2013 10:18:48
Russia outblock Dominican Republic to notch first win

13.11.2013 06:16:12
Guimaraes pleased with Brazil's performance in victory

13.11.2013 05:46:07
Brazil claim one-sided victory over Thailand

12.11.2013 23:24:57
Kiraly’s mission: Take his team to unknown lands

12.11.2013 15:18:12
Dominican Republic, Brazil and Japan score victories on day one at Nagoya

12.11.2013 14:21:13
Manabe says teamwork keyed win over Russia

12.11.2013 13:41:10
Japan edge Russia in four sets

12.11.2013 10:03:34
Brazil coach Guimaraes says team has to persevere

12.11.2013 09:26:47
Brazil prevail against USA on day one at Nagoya

12.11.2013 06:23:49
Dominican coach says win over Thailand tough despite score

12.11.2013 05:50:33
Dominican Republic subdue Thailand in opening match

11.11.2013 13:23:44
Coaches ready for Women’s World Grand Champions Cup challenge

11.11.2013 04:26:48
JVA President “proud and grateful” to host World Grand Champions Cup

10.11.2013 16:03:13
Wildcards Dominican Republic ready to seize Women's Grand Champions Cup opportunity

09.11.2013 23:29:57
Hosts Japan look for first ever Women's World Grand Champions Cup gold

09.11.2013 12:28:45
Russia team heads to Japan for Women's World Grand Champions Cup

08.11.2013 17:25:30
Brazil's Garay draws on Japan experience as team heads into Women's World Grand Champions Cup

07.11.2013 12:09:44
2013 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup media guide online

06.11.2013 16:42:46
Brazil women's team begin World Grand Champions Cup practice in Japan

04.11.2013 11:46:40
Brazil out to make history at Women's World Grand Champions Cup

01.11.2013 09:44:26
US women name FIVB Grand Champions Cup final roster

01.11.2013 09:11:38
Brazil veterans Walewska and Carol Gattaz return for Grand Champions Cup

30.10.2013 16:30:32
Second Champions Cup appearance for Dominican Republic

24.10.2013 18:41:09
Thai coach hoping for best at World Grand Champions Cup

23.10.2013 16:20:00
Brazil announce Women's World Grand Champions Cup roster

16.10.2013 10:00:00
Dominican Republic women and Italy men complete World Grand Champions Cup lineup

27.09.2013 15:26:42
Accreditation for World Grand Champions Cup now open

21.09.2013 23:59:36
Brazil wins South American Championship gold

21.09.2013 23:58:18
United States win ticket to FIVB Grand Champions Cup

21.09.2013 19:49:52
Thailand reign supreme at Asian Senior Women’s Championship

15.09.2013 15:01:08
Russia qualify for FIVB World Grand Champions Cup, World Championships

05.09.2013 18:24:32
Women's European Volleyball Championship starts Grand Champions Cup qualifiers