FIVB - Volleyball World Grand Prix

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USA women serve Brazil notice in USA Volleyball Cup opener


USA capped the tournament opener against Brazil in four sets

Irvine, USA, July 5, 2014 – World No. 2 USA dug in and defended its home turf in defeating top-ranked Brazil 3-1 (25-22, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19) on the opening day of the USA Volleyball Cup at the Bren Event Centre on the campus of UC Irvine on Saturday.

Five USA players reached double-figure scoring led by Jordan Larson-Burbach with 16 points via 12 kills, two aces and two blocks. Kelly Murphy and Kim Hill charted 15 points each, while Foluke Akinradewo chipped in 14 points including a team-high three blocks, and Lauren Gibbemeyer added 10 points with eight kills on 17 attacks and two blocks.

“It feels really good,” Hill said. “That’s the first time since I’ve been on the national team that we’ve beaten them.”

Brazil’s Fe Garay tallied a team-high 16 points, while Sheilla Castro totalled 11 points.

USA converted 36 per cent of its attacks into points as Alisha Glass set the squad, while the South Americans were limited to a 32 kill percentage as USA compiled 53 digs led by Kayla Banwarth’s 15 digs. Hill added 14 digs in the victory.

“We played really well together,” Hill said. “We’ve been working on a few things as a team, especially with positive communication.”

Brazil, which had eight Olympians suited to the Americans’ four, out-blocked the USA 11-6. However, the USA serve created problems all night for the two-time Olympic Games champions. The United States had a 10-1 ace advantage, while its reception was 73 per cent positive to the Brazilians’ 57 per cent.

USA women’s national team coach Karch Kiraly started Glass at setter, Murphy at opposite, Larson-Burbach and Hill at outside hitter, and Akinradewo and Gibbemeyer at middle blocker. Banwarth was their designated libero for the match. Courtney Thompson substituted in all four sets, while Cassidy Lichtman was a substitute in the first three sets, and Alix Klineman was a substitute in the first two sets.

The four-match USA Volleyball Cup continues on Sunday at the University of Southern California’s Galen Centre at 17:00 local time. The contest will be streamed at www.usavolleyballcup.com. The series shifts to Honalulu with match at the University of Hawaii’s Stan Sheriff Centre on July 11 and 12 at 19:00 local time.

“It’s tough mentally to play the same team four times, but we will just have to refocus and come out and play tomorrow,” Hill said. “Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ll have to refocus again.”

USA women have lost to Brazil in the last two Olympic Games gold medal matches in Beijing 2008 and London 2012. In the World Grand Prix last year, nine-time winners Brazil ended the three-year reign of USA in Sapporo, Japan.


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