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USA power past Croatia

USA's Foluke Akinradewo spikes past the blocking attempt of Croatia as she helps her side to a 3-0 victory on Saturday

Matsumoto, Japan, October 30, 2010 – The United States won their second straight game in Group C at the FIVB Women's World Championship on Saturday, beating Croatia 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-23) at Matsumoto City Gymnasium.

American Destinee Hooker once again topped the scoring with 15 points including three blocks while teammate Logan Tom registered four blocks among her 12 tallies. Heather Bown contributed 10 points to USA's win.
Sanja Popovic recorded 10 points and was the only Croatian with double digits.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page
Tom was out of the starting blocks early with two crisp spikes as the US moved into a four-point lead at the First Technical Timeout (FTT). But Croatia, who had stunned Cuba on Friday, fought back to within a point at 10-9 as errors crept into the Americans' game. Tom stepped up her game again with a great block on the big-hitting Popovic, however, and then followed up with a big spike to put the US five points clear. An ace by the same player created a six-point gap at the Second Technical Timeout (STT) and good work by Hooker extended this to eight points at 20-12. That was too much for the Croatians to pull back and Hooker finished off the set with a powerful spike through the Croatian defence.

Croatia coach Miroslav Aksentijevic called a timeout after his side dropped the first four points of the second set – Tom coming up with two huge blocks on Popovic early on – but the Americans were rolling along nicely, while Aksentijevic's side were struggling to find an effective offence. Or, indeed, much of a defence. The US pulled away in the second phase as errors made Croatia's task even harder. The score moved from 11-7 to 17-7 and the margin was still 10 points when Bown brought up set-point with a spike. When Croatia failed to get the ball back on the next American attack, they found themselves two sets down.

Croatia had a glimmer of hope at the start of the third set, actually going ahead on the first point through a spike by Senna Usic Jogunica. Mia Jerkov and Popovic landed good spikes too but Hooker responded with four fine hits to keep the Americans on top. Croatia were defending better as they battled to stay alive, and Jelena Alajbeg spurred her team on with a massive spike. With time running out, Croatia got in some good blocks from Popovic and Maja Poljak to pull the scores back to 23-20, and an ace from Popovic and a big spike by Marina Miletic narrowed the deficit to 23-22. But then Tom found a way through Croatia's defence and Popovic sent a spike long to end the match.


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