COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 13, 2019) – The U.S. Girls Youth National Team (GYNT) advanced to the FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship gold-medal match after defeating Brazil 25-18-25-18, 25-14 in the semifinals on Friday in Ismailia, Egypt.
Team USA improved to 6-1 overall in the tournament and will have a chance to avenge its only loss of the tournament in the gold-medal match on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET. The Americans will play undefeated and reigning champion Italy, which rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat China in the second semifinal on Friday. In a Pool B preliminary round match on Sept. 6, Italy also battled back from a 2-0 deficit to hand the Americans their only loss. Both the U.S. and Brazil entered the semifinals with 5-1 records and finished second in their respective preliminary pools to the two teams in the second semifinal.
The Americans have won silver at the biennial age-group World Championship in 2013 and 2015 and are looking for their first-ever age-group indoor volleyball World Championship title – men or women.
Opposite Emily Londot (Utica, Ohio) led the Americans with 16 points, including 13 kills on 24 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Middle Caroline Crawford (Lansing, Kansas) pocketed seven blocks and two aces to go with five kills on seven errorless swings for 14 points. Middle Devyn Robinson (Ankeny, Iowa) charted eight kills on 14 attacks and five blocks for 13 points.
“We came in with the goal of wanting to try to side out and string points together to keep them from going on big runs like we know they can do,” Londot said. “I thought we did a really good job of that. We are very excited for the championship match tomorrow.”
Outside hitter Jess Mruzik (Livonia, Michigan) contributed eight kills, one block and one aces for 10 points. Outside hitter Elena Oglivie (Kapolei, Hawaii) added three kills, two blocks and two aces for seven points. Setter Kennedi Orr (Eagan, Minnesota) chipped in four kills on five errorless attacks and one ace for five points.
1 More to Gold! U.S. Girls Youth National Team sweeps Brazil in FIVB Girls’ U18 World Championship semis. Emily Londot…
Oglivie handled 25 of the Team USA’s 47 receptions with a 52 positive reception percent. Libero Lexi Rodriguez (Sterling, Illinois) was 56 percent positive on nine chances.
U.S. Girls Youth National Team Head Coach Jim Stone said the team’s consistent play didn’t allow Brazil a chance to get any momentum in the match.
“We knew to beat Brazil we were going to have to play a very consistent match from set to set to set,” Stone said. “We didn’t want to give them a chance to build any sort of momentum. I thought we did a great job at that. We didn’t have very many highs or lows. It was a pretty even performance by all the players. We are really happy with that aspect of how they played.”
Orr set Team USA to a 46 kill percent and .267 hitting efficiency (41-17-90). The American defense limited the Brazilians to a 23 kill percent and .000 hitting efficiency (21-21-91).
The U.S. net defense was dominating with a 17-4 block advantage. The Americans also held an 7-2 margin in aces and 41-21 advantage in attack points.
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 first set while Sydney Taylor (Grove City, Ohio) and Kami Miner (Redondo Beach, California were subs in the final two sets.
Team USA led 16-12 at the second technical timeout of the first set. After Brazil closed to 19-16 with three straight points, the U.S. regained a five-point cushion at 21-16. Brazil chipped the deficit to 23-18, but Mruzik served an ace as part of a 4-0 run to give Team USA a 25-18 victory.
The U.S. went in front 14-11 in the second set with kills from Orr, Crawford and Londot as part of a 4-0 American run. A Brazil service ace cut the gap to 14-13. Oglivie converted a kill and block followed by two Robinson kills and block around a Crawford ace to yield a 21-14 Team USA lead on a 6-0 run. The Americans ended the set at 25-18 on a Brazilian error.
Londot started a 6-0 American run by connecting for consecutive kills, Robinson followed with two blocks, Orr batted down an overpass and Londot capped it with an ace to give the U.S. a 9-3 advantage in the third set. Team USA extended the margin to 12-5 with a Robinson kill around two Brazil errors. The U.S. reached the second technical timeout leading 16-7 after Mruzik and Londot powered down kills around a Crawford block. Brazil sliced three points off the deficit at 16-10. Team USA responded with a Mruzik kill, blocks from Oglivie and Crawford around a Brazil error to go up 20-10. Brazil answered with three straight to cut the gap to 20-13. Team USA reached match points at 24-14 with kills from Robinson and Londot around a Brazil error, then Londot served the winning ace at 25-14.
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