BOSSIER CITY, Louisiana (Aug. 2, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team opened its FIVB Volleyball Tokyo Qualification Tournament Pool C with a convincing 25-17, 25-10, 25-10 victory over Kazakhstan on Friday evening at CenturyLink Center in Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana.
Team USA, ranked third in the world, hosts No. 16 Bulgaria on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT followed by Argentina on Sunday at 1 p.m. CT. Saturday’s match can be watched live on Olympic Channel or streamed on NBC Sports website clicking here.
Bulgaria won today’s opening Pool C match over Argentina by 24-26, 25-9, 25-18, 25-20. Kazakhstan, ranked 23rd in the world, meets No. 11 Argentina on Saturday. The winner of the four-team round-robin earns a berth into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) scored a match-leading 13 points with 11 kills on 16 attacks and two blocks. She connected for nine kills on her first nine attacks of the match. Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) chipped in six kills on 11 swings, two blocks and two aces for 10 points. Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) pocketed nine points with six kills, two blocks and an ace in the first two sets.
Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) tacked on eight points with seven kills and a block. Opposite Jordan Thompson (Edina, Minnesota), who started the third set in place of Drews, turned in five kills on seven attacks and a block for six points in one set. Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado) provided two kills on as many attacks and a block for three points. Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) added one kill and one ace for two points, while middle Dana Rettke (Riverside, Illinois) contributed two kills. Setter Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colorado) rounded out the scoring with an ace as a sub in third set.
Team USA had a 56 kill percent for the match with a .493 hitting efficiency (40-5-71) with Carlini doing the bulk of the setting. The Americans limited Kazakhstan to a 29 kill percent.
U.S. libero Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) unofficially recorded 14 receptions with a 57 positive percent, as well as a team-leading 10 digs. Robinson had eight receptions with an 88 positive percent to go with five digs. Bartsch-Hackley was credited with a 62 positive reception percent on eight chances.
The American block provided a 9-3 advantage in the match and Team USA’s offense netted a 40-24 margin in kills. The U.S. benefited from 21 Kazakhstan errors and held its own miscues to six for the match.
The U.S. started Carlini at setter, Drews at opposite, Dixon and Washington at middle, Robinson and Bartsch-Hackley at outside hitter and Courtney at libero. Thompson and Rettke started the third set at middle and opposite, respectively. Poulter was a sub in the third set.
Team USA opened the first set with a 10-6 advantage and stretched the margin to 16-9 at the second technical timeout. The Americans closed out the set at 25-17 as Robinson finished with six points.
The U.S. stream-rolled to a 12-5 advantage in the second set and hit the second technical timeout at 16-8. Team USA scored the next nine of 11 points.
The Americans started set 3-0 and were never threatens as they extended the advantage to 16-5 at the second technical timeout. Team USA closed out the set with a 9-5 run and 25-10 victory.
The Tokyo Women’s Volleyball Qualification Tournament includes six pools of four team being staged in a round-robin format Aug. 2-4. The top 24 ranked teams, minus 2020 Olympic Games host Japan, are placed into the six pools using the serpentine system with pool winners claiming berths into the 2020 Olympics along with host Japan. The final five spots into the 2020 Olympics will be determined in early January through the five confederation zonal championships.
Team USA, the only country to medal in women’s indoor volleyball in each of the last three Olympic Games, seeks its 12th appearance in the Olympics. In its previous 11 Olympic Games, the Americans claimed silver medals in 1984, 2008 and 2012 along with bronze medals in 1992 and 2016.
Kazakhstan is ranked No. 23 in the world and placed 24th in the 2018 FIVB World Championship.