COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (June 11, 2016) – Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California) scored 16 points as the U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, swept No. 11 Thailand 25-21, 29-27, 25-23 Saturday afternoon in the second match of FIVB World Grand Prix Pool A in Ningbo, China.
Team USA, shooting for its seventh World Grand Prix title and fifth in seven years, improves to 2-0 and concludes the Pool A against host China Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET. T
Lowe, one of four players in double-figure scoring, was on fire offensively with 15 kills on 26 attacks to go with one block from her opposite position. Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) added 13 points with 10 kills on 23 swings, two aces and a block. Middle Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania) amassed a match-high six blocks to go with five kills on 15 attacks and an ace for 12 points.
Middle Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) pocketed 11 points with nine kills on 15 attacks without an error, one block and one ace. Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Illinois) charted five kills in the victory, while Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) added four kills on eight attacks as the opposite in the double-sub in all three sets. Courtney Thompson (Kent, Washington) rounded out the scoring with an ace as the serving sub in all three sets.
The U.S. converted 44.9 percent of its attacks with a .336 hitting efficiency (48-12-107) as Lloyd provided 37 excellent running sets on 77 chances. Alisha Glass (Leland, Michigan) added five running sets on 16 set attempts as the setter in the double-sub all three sets.
Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) led the Americans in defense with six digs and added eight excellent receptions on 13 errorless chances. Larson contributed three digs and a team-high 19 excellent receptions on 35 of the team’s 66 receptions.
Team USA’s serve provided a 5-2 ace advantage to help offset Thailand’s slim 10-9 margin in blocks. Thailand also held a 17-11 advantage in digs. The Americans held Thailand to a 35.3 kill percent and .207 hitting efficiency (41-17-116).
The U.S. Women used five different starters in its second FIVB World Grand Prix match as 12 of the 14-player has now started at least one match.
In the opening set, Team USA came back from a 10-5 deficit and took its first lead at 17-16 following Dietzen’s second block of the set. However, Thailand answered with three unanswered points to grab a 19-17 advantage. The U.S. responded with a 6-0 run that included two Larson aces and two Lowe kills to take a 23-19 lead en route to a 25-21 victory. Lowe ended the set with eight points.
Trailing 17-16 in the second set, the Americans used a 4-1 run with two Dietzen blocks and a kill to take a 20-18 advantage. However, Thailand came back from a 23-20 deficit to knot the score at 23-all but could never take the lead as Team USA won the set 29-27 on its fifth set point chance with a Dietzen ace after Lowe’s 11th kill of the match.
The U.S. built an 11-8 lead in the third set with Larson providing a kill and block in a 5-1 run. Thailand erased the deficit and took the lead back at 15-14 before Murphy gave the Americans a 16-15 advantage at the second technical timeout. Adams gave the Americans a 23-22 lead with her ninth kill and the U.S. earned its first match point at 24-22 on a Thailand error. Larson finished the set and match with a kill at 25-23.
The Americans have won 15 of their last 16 World Grand Prix matches dating back to 2015. In addition, Team USA has won 15 of 16 head-to-head matches against Thailand in the World Grand Prix. The U.S. has now won 12 matches in a row in its last four competitions including 2015 FIVB World Cup, 2015 NORCECA Championship and 2016 NORCECA Olympic Qualification Tournament.
As for the U.S. Women’s next opponent, China is ranked No. 2 in the world and won the 2015 FIVB World Cup in the last major FIVB event. The U.S. travels home next week to host a preliminary round weekend of the premier annual women’s international volleyball tournament as the Americans have a rematch against Germany on June 17, followed by No. 5 Japan on June 18 and No. 10 Turkey on June 19.
The Americans conclude the World Grand Prix preliminary phase with three matches in Hong Kong. The U.S. faces Germany on June 24, the No. 14 Netherlands on June 25 and host China on June 26.
The FIVB World Grand Prix schedule has each of the 12 teams in Group 1 playing three preliminary round weekends in various cities before the top five teams plus Thailand compete in the Final Round July 6-10 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Carli Lloyd (S), Karsta Lowe (OPP), Rachael Adams (M), Christa Dietzen (M), Jordan Larson (OH), Kelsey Robinson (OH), Kayla Banwarth (L)
Points: Karsta Lowe 16, Jordan Larson 13, Christa Dietzen 12, Rachael Adams 11, Kelsey Robinson 5, Kelly Murphy 4, Courtney Thompson 1
Kills-Attacks: Karsta Lowe 15-26, Jordan Larson 10-23, Christa Dietzen 5-15, Rachael Adams 9-15, Kelsey Robinson 5-20, Kelly Murphy 4-8. USA 48-107. Thailand 41-116.
Blocks: Christa Dietzen 6, Karsta Lowe 1, Jordan Larson 1. USA 8, Thailand 9
Aces: Jordan Larson 2, Christa Dietzen 1, Rachael Adams 1, Courtney Thompson 1. USA 5, Thailand 2.
Digs: Kayla Banwarth 6, Jordan Larson 3, Kelsey Robinson 1, Karsta Lowe 1. USA 11, Thailand 17.