COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 24, 2019) – Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) powered home 23 points to lead the U.S. Women’s National Team past NORCECA rival Dominican Republic 25-22, 25-23, 25-9 on Tuesday on the eighth day of the FIVB World Cup in Sapporo, Japan.
Team USA improves to 7-1 and remains in second place in the 12-team round robin World Cup. After two off days, the Americans return to the court on Friday to face Russia at 5 a.m. ET in Osaka. The U.S. concludes the tournament on Saturday against Cameroon and on Sunday versus Korea. The FIVB World Cup matches will be streamed live on FloVolleyball.tv.
The U.S. built a 9-4 advantage in the opening set, but Dominican Republic charged back into a tie at 13-all and went in front 21-19 on a 4-0 run. The Americans rallied for the 25-22 victory by scoring the final four points. Team USA used a 6-0 advantage to build on a slim 8-7 advantage to go up 14-7 in the second set but needed to hold on late for a 25-23 victory. The Americans raced to a 5-0 advantage in the third set and never allowed Dominican Republic close in winning 25-9.
“Dominican gets better and better every time we see them,” Drews said. “They are not a team to be taken lightly. The biggest change for us (in the third set) was cleaning up the little plays, coming back to focusing on our side and doing our job. I think it paid off in the third set.”
Drews converted 18 of 29 attacks into points and chipped in three blocks and two aces from her opposite position. Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas) produced eight kills on 17 swings and three blocks for 11 points. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) charted nine kills and an ace for 10 points.
“I feel pretty good,” Drews said. “I think I hit with a little more rhythm, and that is something that I have been working on – getting back to good. I am just really proud of our team responded after a tough loss last night. I thought we came in really focused today.”
Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado) contributed three kills on eight swings, three aces and two blocks for eight points. Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California), who started just the final set, scored four kills on six attacks and an ace for five points. Outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) added two kills, one block and one ace for four points in the first two sets. Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) rounded out the scoring with two blocks.
The U.S. Women return to the win column by sweeping Dominican Republic, improving to 7-1 in the World Cup and in second place.
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) was unofficially 67 percent positive on 15 reception attempts to go with nine digs. Bartsch-Hackley handled 27 receptions with a 48 positive reception percent with eight digs. Carlini led the team with 10 digs.
Carlini set Team USA to a 43 kill percent with a .275 hitting efficiency (44-16-102). In contrast, the American defense limited Dominican Republic to a 32 kill percent and .119 hitting efficiency (27-17-84).
Team USA held an 8-3 margin in aces and managed an 11-9 advantage in blocks. The Americans dominated on the offensive end with a 44-26 margin in kills. The U.S. committed 15 errors in the match to Dominican Republic’s 12.
The Americans will now have a travel day to Osaka, then train on Thursday before facing third-place Russia on Friday.
“This tournament is not an easy tournament,” Drews said. “It is a lot of back-to-back nights. So we will use the (off-days) wisely with recovery and team bonding.”
The U.S. started Bartsch-Hackley and Larson at outside hitter, Washington and Ogbogu at middle, Drews at opposite, Carlini at setter and Wong-Orantes at libero. Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) was a sub in the final two sets.
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.
The U.S. started the opening set with a 3-0 lead with Drews scoring a kill and block followed by an Ogbogu block. Dominican sliced the gap to 3-2. Team USA extended its lead to 6-3 with kills from Drews and Bartsch-Hackley around a Dominican error. Bartsch-Hackley scored a kill and ace on each side of the technical timeout to jump the lead to 9-5. Dominican Republic scored consecutive blocks and capped with an ace to tie the set at 13-all on a 4-0 run. The U.S. responded with an Ogbogu kill and Drews block to go up 15-13, but Dominican Republic answered with two quick points to level the set at 15-all. The Americans extended the lead to 18-16 with a Drews kill and Washington block. Dominican Republic scored four unanswered points to take a 21-19 advantage. Larson and Drews connected for kills to level the set at 21-all. Team USA rallied to a 24-22 lead with kills from Drews and Bartsch-Hackley around a Dominican Republic error. The Americans capped the 4-0 run with a Larson ace at 25-22.
Ogbogu scored two kills around winners from Bartsch-Hackley and Drews to put the U.S. in front 4-1 in the second set. Dominican Republic cut the deficit to 4-3 with back-to-back points. Drews served an ace after a Dominican service error to push the American lead to 7-4. Dominican Republic scored two points out of the technical timeout to close to 8-7. Washington served consecutive aces after a Dominican error, Ogbogu slammed an overpass reception, Drews hammered a back-row attack and Ogbogu ended a sloppy rally with a block to extend the American lead to 14-7. Dominican Republic closed to 19-15 on consecutive points, then moved to within two at 22-20 on a 3-0 run. Dominican Republic inched closer to 23-22 on back-to-back points. Drews finished the set with a kill at 25-23.
Team USA erupted for a 5-0 lead in the third set with Drews scoring a block and ace in the run while Ogbogu downed two kills. The Americans raised the advantage to 12-3 with Washington scoring a block and kill after a Drew kill and Dominican Republic error. Blocks from Washington and Carlini around a Bartsch-Hackley kill widened the gap to 15-4. Team USA stretched the lead to 20-5 with Washington serving an ace with a kill, while Robinson scored two kills and block as part of the 5-0 run. After Dominican Republic scored consecutive points, Robinson hammered a kill and ace followed by an Ogbogu kill at 23-9. Drews scored the match winner at 25-9.