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
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.