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U.S. Women Hold Off China at World Cup

by WoV
source: usavolleyball.org author: Bill Kauffman

U.S. Women Volleyball national team Hold Off China at World Cup

The U.S. Women Volleyball National Team, which entered the match in second place, improves to 8-1 with 23 points in the FIVB World Cup standings. The FIVB World Cup uses a round-robin format resulting in 11 matches over a 15-day period. The three teams reaching the Volleyball World Cup medal podium on Nov. 18 will earn berths into the 2012 Olympic Games. 

For the full FIVB World Cup schedule and tournament details, visit the U.S. Women’s tournament event page here. The U.S. returns to action against tournament-leader Italy on Nov. 17 at 3 p.m. local time (10 p.m. Pacific Time on Nov. 16) and concludes the tournament versus Japan on Nov. 18 at 6:20 p.m. local time (1:20 a.m. Pacific Time).

US Women volleyball team grabbed lead in opening

The U.S. Women grabbed a 12-7 lead in the opening set and reached a six-point edge at 20-14 before holding on for a 25-21 victory. Team USA trailed 17-14 in the second set and came back to win 31-29 on its third set-point opportunity after saving Chinese set points. China used a 5-1 scoring run to take a 14-8 lead in the third set en route to claiming a 25-18 victory. In the fourth set, China scored six unanswered points to assume an 18-13 lead and posted a 25-19 victory. In the tiebreaker, Hooker scored three points – two kills and a block – in a 4-0 scoring run breaking a 7-all tie as Team USA finished out the set with a 15-10 victory.

“I’m extremely proud of our team today,” U.S. Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “China is playing good volleyball. Their style is different than most teams here. We started well and showed poise in the second set coming from behind and again in the fifth set.“Can we play better? Yes. It’s easy to play at your best, but it’s finding a way to win when not at our best that matters.” 

Hooker led all scorers with 37 points on a match-high 34 attacks and 62 attacks, two blocks and one ace. Her 37-point performance is the second-most ever at the FIVB Women’s World Cup, which Dominican Republic’s Bethania del la Cruz set on Nov. 12 of this year’s tournament with 42 points versus Germay. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) added 16 points on 11 kills via 16 swings, three blocks and a team-high two aces. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) totaled 15 points on 13 kills and 23 attacks, one block and one ace. Among other U.S. scorers, Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) finished with 12 points on eight attacks, three blocks and one ace. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) tallied nine points on seven attacks, one block and one ace. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu, Hawaii) scored one point with a setter dump.

Berg with 53 assists helped the US to a 49.3 kill percent

Berg was credited with 53 assists helping the U.S. to a 49.3 kill percent and .380 attack efficiency (74-17-150). Meanwhile, China converted just 45.0 percent of its attacks with a .363 hitting efficiency. U.S. libero Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) was named the match’s most impressive player with 12 excellent receptions and nine digs. Larson led in digs with 11 while Tom and Davis both had nine. Tom led in excellent receptions with 26.

“Today is all that mattered for us,” said Berg, who is the U.S. team captain. “When we went on the court, we didn’t want to think about our previous seven wins or our future games, just today.”

McCutcheon started Berg at setter, Tom and Larson at outside hitter, Akinradewo and Bown at middle blocker and Hooker at opposite. Davis was the designated libero for the match. Cynthia Barboza (Long Beach, Calif.) was a sub in the second, third and fifth sets. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) subbed into the match in the second and third sets, while Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) entered of the bench in the fourth and fifth sets.

The United States out-attacked China 74-72 while holding advantages in blocks (10-8) and aces (6-3). China held a 50-40 
margin in digs. China was led by Ruoqi Hui, who finished with 25 points on 22 kills, one block and two aces.

“We have managed to play five sets with one of the best teams, and for us we have learned a lot,” China Head Coach Yu Juemin said. “Today we had a great game with quick offense and good serve receive. We’d like to continue this in the next two.”

China Women Volleyball team lost after two wins against the US in 2011

China had won the first two meetings against the U.S. in 2011 at the Montreux Volley Masters. However, Team USA swept China in the 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix opening preliminary round on Aug. 7 in China. Entering the FIVB World Cup match, the Americans had defeated the Chinese in six of the last eight meetings dating back to 2008.

In other matches today at Yoyogi, tournament leader Italy (8-0, 23 points) faces fourth-place Germany (6-2, 18 points) and fifth-place Japan (5-3, 16 points) hosts last-place Kenya (0-8, 10 points). At Site B held at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium, Dominican Republic defeated Serbia (14-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-22, 15-12) to start the fourth round. In the afternoon matches at Tokyo Metropolitan Stadium, Korea (1-7, 4 points) challenges Algeria (1-7, 3 points) and sixth-place Brazil (5-3, 12 points) seeks to stay in the medal hunt against eighth-place Argentina (3-5, 9 points).

Additional information on the U.S. Women’s National Team can be found in its FIVB World Cup press kit by clicking here.
The U.S. held an 8-6 lead at the first technical timeout (TTO). They increased the lead to 10-6 on an ace from Bown and a kill when China called timeout. China came back with a kill, but the U.S. scored two more points on China’s error and a Hooker attack to lea 12-7. China came back with three straight points to pull to within two at 12-10. The U.S. increased the lead to three at the second TTO, 16-13, and then used a 3-0 run to make it 19-13. With the U.S. Women up by seven at 22-15, China’s Lei Zhang scored on a kill that sparked a 5-0 run as China pulled to within two at 22-20. Following McCutcheon’s second timeout of the run, Akinradewo scored on a kill to end the barrage. The U.S. reached set point at 24-21 on Akinradewo’s quick kill down the middle and China’s hitting error gave the U.S. the set victory. Hooker led all scorers in the set with eight points on seven kills and one block.

The second set stayed close as China took a slim 8-7 lead at the first TTO. The U.S. quickly tied it on Tom’s attack coming out of the break. The score was still tied at 13-13 when China used a kill and an ace to lead 16-13 at the second TTO.  Trailing 20-18, the U.S. scored on Akinradewo’s kill down the middle and a Bown block to tie the score. The teams traded scores until the U.S. took its first set point at 24-23. China fought it off with a kill and block to take its first set point at 25-24. China would take three more set points before the U.S. held the advantage again at 29-28. China scored on a kill to tie the score, but Berg scored on a setter dump to give the U.S. its third set point and Bown put down an attack in transition to give the U.S. the victory. Hooker scored another eight points for the U.S. on eight attacks.

The teams were tied 2-2 in the third set when China scored on a U.S. error and kill from Lei Zhang to lead 4-2, a lead it would not give up. It extended the lead to 8-5 at the first TTO. With China leading 9-6, the Asian team scored on two straight kills causing McCutcheon to call timeout. Hooker came back with an attack, but China’s Zhang came back with two more attacks followed by another China kill to put it ahead 14-8. The U.S. was not able to challenge and with China leading 21-17, it scored three straight points to reach set point at 24-17. Hooker held off the loss with a kill of China’s overpass, but the U.S. hit the ball into the net to give China the victory. Zhang had six points for China in the set.

The U.S. Women opened up a 6-3 lead in the fourth set, including two kills and an ace from Hooker and a block by Bown. Two straight attacks from Hooker gave the U.S. an 8-4 lead at the first TTO. But China did not give up. With the U.S. leading 9-5, China used two straight kills to pull to within two. Akinradewo scored on an attack, but China came back with two more strikes to pull to within one at 10-9. After the two teams scored back and forth, China tied the score at 12-12. With the score tied 13-13, China used a 5-0 run, including three cross-court kills by Yimei Wang, to lead 18-13. McCutcheon called timeout and the U.S. came back with three straight points on a kill and block by 
Bown and a Hooker block to pull to within two at 18-16.. But China scored three straight to hold off the Americans. China reached set point at 24-18. Hooker scored one more time before Hui used an attack to win the set for China.

The U.S. Women held a 4-3 lead in the fifth set when China scored on kills from Hui and Wang and a U.S. hitting error to go ahead 6-4. McCutcheon called timeout and Akinradewo and Tom scored on two straight attacks to tie the score at 6-6. Hooker killed China’s overpass to give the U.S. a 7-6 lead. China tied the scor1e with a block; but the U.S. scored twice more on Hooker’s attack off the block and a Larson stuff to lead 9-7. China called timeout, but the U.S. came back with a tip and 
block from Hooker to lead 11-7. China never rallied and the U.S. reached match point at 14-10, winning the match on a double block effort from Bown and Scott-Arruda. Hooker scored nine points in the set.

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