FIVB - Volleyball World Grand Prix 2012

MATCH INFO

In-form USA continue unbeaten run, outclassing Serbia in straight sets


Christa Harmotto jumps to attack Serbia

 Bangkok, Thailand, June 22, 2012 – Reigning two-time champions USA, playing without captain Danielle Scott-Arruda, continued their unbeaten run in the FIVB World Grand Prix on Friday, powering past Serbia in straight sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-18) in the Pool J curtain-raiser at the Keelawes 1 Gymnasium in Bangkok.

Megan Hodge and Kristin Richards led USA with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Serbia’s top scorer was Sanja Starovic with nine points. Both teams had three serving aces, but USA led in blocking points 16-9.

Both sides started strongly, with USA relying on their excellent offensive combination of spectacular spikes from deadly southpaw Nancy Metcalf and Hodge, and solid blocks from Metcalf and Christa Harmotto. Serbia also defended strongly. The contest was very close, with the scores tied at 5-5 and 11-11. From that point, the USA took control. Metcalf penetrated the Serbian defence from the back row with a powerful attack and the USA advanced to 16-13. The 195-cm Starovic used her height to attack the Americans at the net, helping Serbia challenge their invincible rivals, but the rhythm remained with the USA, who took the first set by a six-point margin.

After going down 0-1, the Serbians came back stronger in the second set. With USA making more unforced spiking and serving mistakes, the world No. 6 showed some grit to race into a 5-1 lead, forcing USA coach Hugh McCutcheon to ask for a time-out. The European champions stretched their lead to 8-2 and 10-3 before USA regained their composure, with Metcalf tearing the Serbian defence to shreds with her exceptional spikes. USA clawed their way back with powerful attacks from Hodge, and the teams were level at 13-13. The Serbians dug in, but USA spiked powerfully and served well. USA earned two setpoints when Serbia fouled. Heather Bown’s serve went wide, but Jovana Vesovic’s erratic spike put the Americans 2-0 up.

The USA took control initially in the third set to lead 5-2, with their blocks proving too much for the hapless Serbians. The hard-hitting Hodge continued producing several well-placed serves and powerful attacks to help the USA dominate. Leading 20-14, the Americans remained in impressive form. Metcalf and Bown produced some good blocks to move the Americans to 23-18, while Richards ran out of the court to dig a spike from Serbia. Her determined effort worked out well when the ball landed on the rivals’ empty mid-court, giving USA match point. Hodge ended Serbia’s challenge with a powerful cross-court spike.


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