LINCOLN, Neb. (June 5, 2019) – Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson< (Manhattan Beach, California) scored 18 points for the U.S. Women’s National Team as it defeated Germany 25-18, 25-22, 25-18 on Wednesday evening to win its second straight FIVB Volleyball Nations League match in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Americans, now 7-1 overall with 21 points, concludes its home stand on Thursday against Brazil at 7:30 p.m. CT. The match can be viewed live on NBC Sports Network and delayed on flovolleyball.tv. Tickets can be bought through TicketMaster.
The U.S. used a 9-2 run to go up 17-9 in the opening set and cruised into a 25-18 victory. Team USA overcame a 20-18 deficit in the second set by scoring seven of the final nine points with three aces to win 25-22. The Americans used a key 5-0 run to stake a 19-14 lead in the third set and closed out the match with a 25-18 victory.
“I think we came out better (than Tuesday in 3-1 win over Korea), but I don’t think we are dialed in as we need to be,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “That was not Germany’s first team, but mostly their second team. There are still some things we need to clean up. We can be happy with the win, happy with the 3-0 result and unhappy with some things we need to get better at. Our blocking was not nearly effective as it should have been over the course of the evening. We also had some really nice, tough serving from Kelsey Robinson and Jordan Thompson – just jumping high, hitting it really flat over the net. We are creating these opportunities, but we are not taking advantage of them with a clean block.”
Robinson collected 18 points with 11 kills on 25 attacks, four blocks and three aces. Opposite Jordan Thompson (Edina, Minnesota) tallied nine kills on 27 attacks, three aces and two blocks for 14 points. Outside hitter Mikaela Foecke (West Point, Iowa), starting her second match in a row after getting married this past Saturday, scored 14 points via 13 kills on 20 attacks and an ace.
“I think it is such a joy to be in America,” Robinson said. “We spend eight months of the year overseas. Playing in front of foreign crowds and to come home to Nebraska and be here in front of a USA crowd, you can’t really match. To have that opportunity here Lincoln, it is really exciting.”
Middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) chalked up four kills on nine attacks, three blocks and an ace for eight points. Middle Dana Rettke (Riverside, Illinois) converted four of six attacks into kills with three blocks for seven points. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) rounded out the scoring with a block.
“It felt like we had such good energy from the beginning, and that is a huge credit to the young group who started VNL,” Gibbemeyer said. “I think we really meshed with them. The energy was amazing, and that helped us play really well together.”
Lloyd set Team USA to a 45 kill percent for the match with a .299 hitting efficiency (39-13-87). The American defense held the Germans to a 42 kill percent and .239 hitting efficiency (37-16-88).
“It felt really good,” Lloyd said of playing in her first VNL match of 2019. “I really love this group of girls, they are a load of fun to play with. It is really cool to have such young energy out there with girls who are still playing college and suiting up for USA for the first tournament. It was awesome, the crowd was amazing. I love playing in front of a home crowd.”
Libero Mary Lake (Palm Springs, California), who started the final two sets, had six digs and 15 receptions with a 47 positive reception percent. Foecke handled 21 receptions with a 48 positive reception percent. Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) was credited with a 45 positive reception percent on 11 chances in the first set. Lloyd had eight digs in the victory.
Team USA’s aggressive serve netted an 11-3 advantage in aces and a 10-7 margin in blocks. The Americans also had a 41-38 edge in kills. Both teams minimized their errors with USA having 10 and Germany 14.
The U.S. started Robinson and Foecke at outside hitter, Gibbemeyer and Rettke at middle, Thompson at opposite, Lloyd at setter and Courtney at libero.
The U.S. will now turn its attention to Brazil on Thursday.
“That should be a fun one,” Kiraly said of the match with the South American rival. “Brazil is a legendary program, and they have a great coaching staff. We are excited and looking forward to the challenge.”
Rettke served two aces and Gibbemeyer blocked Germany as part of a 4-0 American run to put Team USA in front 8-5 in the opening set. Germany scored two points out of the technical timeout to trim the gap to 8-7. Gibbemeyer produced a kill and block on back-to-back points and Foecke fired a kill to extend the American advantage to 11-7. Germany misfired on its next attack before ending Team USA’s 4-0 run at 12-7. The U.S. extended its lead to 14-8 with a Gibbemeyer kill and Robinson block. The U.S. reached the second technical timeout leading 16-9 on consecutive Robinson kills. Out of the break, Rettke took a quick kill out of the middle to raise the U.S. lead to 17-9. Germany committed back-to-back errors prompting it to call timeout trailing 19-10. Germany used a 4-1 run to close to 21-15. Robinson ended the set with a hammer kill at 25-18.
Team USA started the second set with kills from Thompson and Foecke, but Germany quickly tied the set at 2-all on an ace. Germany grabbed the lead at 5-4 on a USA attack error. Robinson pulled USA back in front on back-to-back kills followed by a block at 7-5. Germany forged ahead 9-7 with four unanswered points. The visitors inched their lead to 15-12 on consecutive USA errors. However, three consecutive German errors leveled the set at 15-all. Germany gained a two-point cushion at 18-16. Thompson pounded back-to-back kills to level the set at 20-all. Team USA took the lead back at 22-21 on a Gibbemeyer ace after another Thompson blast. The U.S. reached set point on a Thompson ace after a Robinson cross-court winner, then Thompson served another ace to win it at 25-22.
The third set lead changed a third time after a Robinson ace followed a Rettke kill for a 6-5 American lead. Rettke served an ace after a Thompson kill to put Team USA into the first technical timeout leading 8-6. Out of the break, Germany was called for a centerline violation to raise the American lead to 9-6. Team USA extended the margin to 12-8 on a Gibbemeyer kill and Foecke ace. Germany scored four unanswered points to level the set at 13-all. After a Germany error, Thompson served an ace to lift the Americans in front 15-13. Back-to-back Germany errors and a Foecke winner raised the USA lead to 18-14. Out of a Germany timeout, Robinson served back-to-back aces to extend the advantage to 20-14 on a 5-0 run. Foecke collected back-to-back kills to push the American lead to 23-16. Germany sliced two points off the deficit at 23-18. Robinson finished the set with a winner at 25-18 after a Foecke kill.