COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 12, 2019) – The U.S. Girls Youth National Team (GYNT) advanced to the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship semifinals after rallying from a slow start to defeat Japan 17-25, 25-13, 25-19, 25-20 on Thursday in the quarterfinal round in Ismailia, Egypt.
Team USA, which improved to 5-1 overall in the tournament, will now play Brazil in the semifinals on Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET. Brazil, also 5-1 overall in the tournament, came from a two-set deficit to defeat Russia in its quarterfinal match. Japan was handed its first loss in six tournament matches. The biennial age-group World Championship concludes on Saturday with the medal-round matches.
Middle Devyn Robinson (Ankeny, Iowa) led the U.S. with 17 points including 11 kills on 18 attacks with just one error, five blocks and an ace. Outside hitter Jess Mruzik (Livonia, Michigan) contributed 10 kills and two block for 12 points to the victory. Middle Caroline Crawford (Lansing, Kansas) pocketed seven kills on 10 errorless swings, one block and two aces for 10 points.
Opposite Emily Londot (Utica, Ohio) tacked on eight kills and two blocks for 10 points. Outside hitter Setter Kennedi Orr (Eagan, Minnesota) totaled four blocks, two aces and two kills for eight points. Outside hitter Elena Oglivie turned in seven points with four kills and three aces as part of a team-high 23 serves. Lindsay Krause (Papillion, Nebraska), a sub in the final set, rounded out the scoring with an ace.
Oglivie handled a team-best 31 receptions with a 45 positive reception percent. Mruzik had 15 receptions and a 33 positive reception percent. Libero Lexi Rodriguez (Sterling, Illinois) provided 14 receptions without an error. Sydney Taylor (Grove City, Ohio) had four receptions as a back-row sub in in all but the second set.
The U.S. Girls Youth National Team advanced to the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship semis after rallying to defeat…
U.S. Girls Youth National Team Head Coach Jim Stone said the difference between the opening set and the rest of the match was learning how to deal with Japan’s unique style of play as the match progressed.
“We told our players at the start that Japan, at every level, is a hard team to play,” Stone said. “If they could figure it out fast, they would be okay. I think that is what they did. We struggled with their serve in the first set, and as time went on we struggled less and less. Kudos to our team for hanging in there and figuring it out.”
The U.S. converted 37 percent of its attacks with a .265 hitting efficiency (42-12-113) with Orr setting. However, the Americans had a 43.3 kill percent and .373 hitting efficiency (36-5-83) after their slow first set. Team USA held Japan to a 36 kill percent for the match and a .167 hitting efficiency (43-23-120).
Team USA’s height advantage netted an 14-2 block advantage to go with a 9-7 ace margin. The Japanese held a slim 43-42 edge in kills.
The U.S. started Orr at setter, Crawford and Robinson at middle, Oglivie and Mruzik at outside hitter, Londot at opposite, and Rodriguez at libero. Allison Jacobs (Stevenson Ranch, California) was a sub in the second set.
The U.S. has won two medals at the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championships, both silver medals in consecutive events in 2013 and 2015.
Japan opened the match with the first three points and expanded the advantage to 9-3. Team USA cut the deficit to 9-7 with four unanswered points. Japan extended its advantage to seven points at 19-12 on a 10-5 scoring run. The U.S. scored three consecutive points to close to 19-15. Japan finished the set at 25-17 as USA had 14 errors in the set.
Team USA started the second set strong with a 4-1 advantage, but Japan leveled the set at 5-all with its own 4-1 run. The Americans reached the first technical timeout leading 8-6 and increased the margin to 11-7 on a 5-1 run. The U.S. built its advantage to 18-9 on a 7-1 run. The American lead reached double digits at 22-12 and they went on to win 25-13 by scoring four of the final five points. Robinson scored five points in the set as the Americans have four blocks and three aces.
The U.S. scored the first five points of the third set and extended the margin to 9-3 on a 3-0 run. The Americans inched the advantage to 12-5 with consecutive points and went into the second technical timeout up 16-8. After trailing 19-10, Japan reeled in seven of the next nine points to close to 21-17. Team USA reached set points at 24-18 and won 25-19 on its second set point chance.
Japan opened set four with a 4-1 advantage. The U.S. went on a 7-1 scoring run to take a 9-6 advantage. Japan responded with a 4-1 run to square the set at 10-all. The Americans quickly broke the tie with three straight points to go up 13-10. Trailing 15-11, Japan came back to within one at 15-14 but couldn’t draw even. The U.S. scored four unanswered points to go up 21-16. Japan sliced the deficit to 21-19 with three consecutive points. The Americans answered with two quick points to regain a four-point cushion at 23-19 and went on to win 25-20.
U.S. Girls Youth National Team at 2019 FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship
# – Name (Pos, Ht, Hometown, HS Grad Year, Club/Region, College Verbal Commitment)
1 – Lexi Rodriguez (L, 5-6, Sterling, Illinois, 2021, Sports Performance/Great Lakes, University of Nebraska)
3 – Elena Oglivie (OH, 5-10, Kapolei, Hawaii, 2020, Ku’ikahi VBC/Aloha, Stanford University)
4 – Sydney Taylor (L, 5-10, Grove City, Ohio, 2021, Mintonette Sports/Ohio Valley, N/A)
5 – Allison Jacobs (OH, 5-11, Stevenson Ranch, California, 2020, Legacy Volleyball Club/Southern California, UCLA)
6 – Kami Miner (S, 6-0, Redondo Beach, California, 2021, Mizuno Long Beach/Southern California, Uncommitted)
7 – Kennedi Orr (S, 6-0, Eagan, Minnesota, 2021, Mizuno Northern Lights/North Country, University of Nebraska)
11 – Jess Mruzik (OH, 6-1, Livonia, Michigan, 2020, Legacy Volleyball Club/Lakeshore, University of Michigan)
12 – Caroline Crawford (M, 6-2, Lansing, Kansas, 2020, Mid-America VBC/Heart of America, University of Kansas)
13 – Devyn Robinson (M, 6-2, Ankeny, Iowa, 2020, Iowa Powerplex/Iowa, University of Wisconsin)
14 – Emily Londot (OH, 6-2, Utica, Ohio, 2020, Mintonette Sports/Ohio Valley, Ohio State University)
17 – Lindsay Krause (OH, 6-3, Papillion, Nebraska, 2021, Premier Nebraska/Great Plains, University of Nebraska)
20 – Carter Booth (M, 6-7, Englewood, Colorado, 2022, Colorado Juniors/Rocky Mountain, University of Minnesota)
Head Coach: Jim Stone
Assistant Coaches: Nicki Holmes, Jen Flynn Oldenburg
Technical Coordinator: Mike Gee
Head of Delegation: Meredith Lee