COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 27, 2019) – Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) came up big for the U.S. Women’s National Team by delivering eight of her match-high 27 points in the tiebreaking set to rally the Americans past Russia 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 17-25, 15-8 Friday to begin the FIVB World Cup’s third and final phase taking place in Osaka, Japan. Both teams entered the match at 7-1 with the winner getting a clear shot of controlling their destiny for the silver medal.

Team USA, ranked No. 3 in the world, improved to 8-1 overall in the 12-team round robin World Cup. The Americans, now in second place by themselves, face Cameroon (0-9, 2 points) on Saturday at 1 a.m. ET in the second to last match of their tournament schedule. The U.S. concludes the World Cup against Korea on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET. Russia, ranked No. 5 in the world, is now 7-2 and in third place.

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Russia saved a set point in the opening set and scored the final three points for a 26-24 victory. The first set had 15 ties and seven lead changes. Team USA scored four unanswered points to grab a 9-4 advantage and led 17-9 in the set before holding off a Russia challenge to win 25-22. The Americans erupted for a 4-0 lead to start the third set but needed to weather a Russia charge to within one at 10-9 with a 7-1 spurt to spark Team USA to win 25-22. Russia used an 11-3 run to build a 22-14 advantage in the fourth set to win 25-17. Russia opened the third set with a 3-0 advantage, but Team USA used a 7-0 run with three Robinson points to stake a 12-6 advantage en route to winning 15-8.

“I think we let some things get away from us in the fourth set,” Robinson said in regards to the comeback following the fourth set and slow start to the fifth set. “I think we did a really good job at coming back together, and making sure we are doing it together. We are staying together no matter if it is shaky or good. I am proud how we handled it as a team.”

Robinson converted 23 of 44 attacks into points with four aces – three coming in the final set – as part of her 27 points at the outside hitter position. Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) popped off 20 kills on 46 attacks, two aces and a block for 23 points – all coming in the first four sets. Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) contributed 16 kills on 35 swings in the victory.

“My teammates are amazing,” Robinson said. “(Jordyn) Poulter is putting up great balls and we have great passing, the middles are holding blocks for us. The only reason I can do well is because of my teammates.”

The U.S. Women rallied past Russia 3-2 as Kelsey Robinson scored 8 of her match-high 27 points. The Americans are now in…

Posted by USA Volleyball on Friday, September 27, 2019

Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado) totaled eight points with three kills, two blocks and two aces. Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota), who came of the bench in the second set and started the final three sets, added four kills on eight swings. Setter Jordyn Poulter (Aurora, Colorado) pocketed three points with one kill, one block and one ace. Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas) rounded out the scoring with two points.

Libero Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) handled 46 of the team’s 92 receptions with a 43 positive percent. Robinson was credited with a 62 positive reception percent on 26 chances and provided 13 digs. Larson passed 20 serves with a 45 positive reception percent to go with 11 digs. Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California), who was the libero when the Americans served, added seven digs in the victory. Poulter chipped in eight digs.

Poulter set Team USA to a 45 kill percent and .309 hitting efficiency (69-22-152) based on unofficial team stats. Russia converted at a 46 percent rate and .352 hitting efficiency (64-15-139).

“I think this team is blessed to have talented setters and Jordyn Poulter did a nice job for us,” Drews said. “She is not perfect but she is receptive of feedback. She wants to know and wants to change. She adjusted throughout the match and put us in some good spots.

Although Russia held a sizable 11-5 margin in blocks, Team USA’s serve kept the Europeans off-balance. The U.S. had a 10-4 advantage in aces to go with a 68-65 edge in kills. Both teams had 23 errors in the match.

“We knew today would be a difficult contest because Russia has been playing very good volleyball,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “Both teams pushed each other and both teams learned something about our strengths and weaknesses. Tomorrow, we play Cameroon, so the team now just needs to rest and tomorrow morning we will talk about our game plan for that match.”

“We were just really focused on our side of the net, and doing the things that we do well,” Robinson said. “I think we put together a great game plan against Russia, but we were focused on point by point.”

The U.S. started Larson and Robinson at outside hitter, Washington and Ogbogu at middle, Drews at opposite, Poulter at setter and Wong-Orantes at libero.

Now that the Americans are in the driver’s seat for silver with only a very slim chance at gold (China must lose twice and USA win twice), Robinson said they are not overlooking either of their upcoming opponents – Cameroon or Korea.

“We have two really great teams left to play,” Robinson said. “I think we are really happy for the win, but have to focus on tomorrow and then Sunday.”

Team USA is the only country to have medaled in each of the last four World Cups. The Americans won silver in 2011 and bronze in 2003, 2007 and 2015. The 2015 World Cup podium finishes replicated the 2016 Olympic Games results – China winning the event with Serbia claiming silver and USA bronze.

After Russia went up 4-2 with three unanswered points in the opening set, Robinson connected for consecutive kills and Ogbogu served an ace enabling Team USA to go in front 5-4. The Americans went into the technical timeout up 8-6 on a Robinson kill and Russia error. Russia leveled the set at 9-all. Russia scored four consecutive points to go up 17-14. Robinson scored a kill and ace around a Russia error to square the set at 17-all. Russia responded with two quick points to resume a 19-17 advantage. Team USA answered with a Larson kill between two Russia errors to yield a 20-19 American lead. Out of a Russia timeout, Washington served an ace to cap a 4-0 American run at 21-19. Russia came back with three straight to go up 22-21. Drews slammed a kill after a Russia setting error to push the Americans in front 23-22. Russia saved a set point and scored the final three points for a 26-24 victory.

The U.S. scored the first two points of the second set with an Ogbogu kill and Poulter ace. The Americans extended the lead to 4-1 with a Larson kill after a Russia service error. Russia knocked two points off the gap at 4-3. Drews served an ace between a Washington kill and blocks from Poulter and Washington to extend Team USA’s lead to 9-4. The U.S. increased its lead to 12-5 with a Larson kill, Washington block and Russia error. Russia scored back-to-back points to close to 12-7. Team USA extended its lead to 17-9 with kills from Robinson and Drews after a Russia error. Russia whittled the gap to 17-13 with four consecutive points. Team USA upped the lead to 19-13 with a Drews kill after a Russia service error, but Russia moved to within three at 20-17 with a 4-1 scoring run. Robinson sliced a kill and Washington put up a block to give Team USA a 22-17 lead. However, Russia ran off three straight points to cut the deficit to 22-20. Larson concluded the set at 25-22 on a kill.

Team USA went up 4-0 in the third set with kills from Drews, Larson and Dixon around a Russia error. Dixon and Drews slammed consecutive kills to prompt Russia into a timeout trailing 7-2. Russia scored two points out of the break to close to 7-4. Drews served an ace after a Russia service error to extend the USA lead to 9-4. Russia climbed to within one at 10-9 with a 5-1 run. Larson and Drews slammed kills and Washington served an ace followed by another Drews kill to extend the American lead to 14-9. Dixon and Robinson converted attacks around a Russia error to increase the American lead to 17-10. Russia moved to within five at 19-14. Team USA took a 22-15 lead on a Drews kill and Russia error. Russia knocked three points off the gap at 23-19. Russia saved three set points before Team USA on 25-22 on a Robinson kill.

Russia scored three straight points to break a 4-all tie to go up 7-4 in the fourth set. After a Russia error, Drews hammered a kill to cut the deficit to 7-6. Russia increased its lead to 14-11 with consecutive points. Russia built an eight-point cushion at 22-14 with six consecutive points. Dixon and Robinson connected for consecutive points to close the American deficit to 23-17. Russia scored the final two points of the fourth set to win 25-17.

Russia scored the first three points of the deciding fifth set. The U.S. chipped two points off the deficit with a Robinson kill and Russia error at 3-2. The U.S. tied the set at 5-all with a Robinson kill and Washington block. Robinson gave the U.S. the lead at 10-6 with two kills and consecutive aces, and Larson followed with a kill as part of a 7-0 run to take a 12-6 advantage. Larson scored consecutive kills to give Team USA a 14-7 lead. Robinson won the final point at 15-8.