TOKYO (Aug. 2, 2021) – Sometimes you are playing to get the bad taste of a loss out of your mouth.
The U.S. Women’s National Team played Italy on Monday knowing it had already qualified for the quarterfinals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Focused on improved serving and passing, the U.S. Women beat the European side, 3-2 (21-25, 25-16, 25-27, 25-16, 15-12) in their final pool play match.
Later on Monday, the U.S. Women (4-1) won Pool B thanks to Turkey (3-2) beating the Russian Olympic Committee team (3-2), 3-2. The U.S. will play the fourth-place team in Pool A – the winner between Japan and the Dominican Republic – in the quarterfinals on Aug. 4.
Monday’s victory may have cost the United States another player. Starting setter Jordyn Poulter left the match at the start of the third set with an apparent ankle injury. There is no current update on her condition.
The U.S. already lost starting opposite Jordan Thompson to injury while playing the ROC team. Thompson was in the stands cheering on her teammates on Monday and it is hoped she will play again in Tokyo.
After being swept by the ROC team on Saturday, the U.S. Women met to discuss their first loss of the tournament.
“We had a meeting that night to reframe things,” U.S. Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “I think we were all a little disappointed that match didn’t go the way we wanted it to. Russia played extremely well.
“I had told them I would be very surprised if anybody went through this tournament undefeated. It’s very difficult.”
The U.S. Women led Italy in blocks (13-10) and aces (4-2) and scored 35 points on Italy’s errors while committing 24. Italy held an edge in kills (60-59). Poulter and backup setter Micha Hancock combined to help the U.S. Women to a .291 hitting efficiency. Italy hit .196.
Making her first start of the Olympics, opposite Annie Drews led the U.S. Women with 22 points on 19 kills and three blocks.
Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley added 17 points on 13 kills, two blocks and two aces.
Outside hitter Jordan Larson scored 13 points on 12 kills and one ace. Middle blocker Haleigh Washington totaled 11 points on seven kills and four blocks and middle Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson added 10 points on six kills and four blocks.
Serving specialist Kim Hill scored one point with an ace and Poulter and Hancock each had a kill. Libero Justine Wong Orantes was credited with a match-high 14 digs and 12 successful receptions. Bartsch-Hackley was credited with 12 digs and 25 successful receptions.
Italy’s opposite Paola Egonu led all scorers with 28 points, but only one other Italian player scored in double figures.
- Kiraly said one of the things he discussed with his team after its loss to Russia was the 1984 U.S. Men’s Team’s loss to Brazil during Olympic pool play. “I let them know some experiences I have had, including our first Olympic Games in 1984. Brazil just annihilated us in a late pool play match and we came back and played strong the next two matches to win the gold medal.”
U.S. Women’s Roster for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
1 Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Edmond, Okla., Penn State Univ.)
2 Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Aurora, Colo., Univ. of Illinois)
4 Justine Wong Orantes (L, 5-6, Cypress, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
10 Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Hooper, Neb., Univ. of Nebraska)
11 Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Elkhart, Ind., Purdue Univ.)
12 Jordan Thompson (OPP, 6-4, Edina, Minn., Univ. of Cincinnati)
14 Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Champaign, Ill., Univ. of Illinois)
15 Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Portland, Ore., Pepperdine, Univ.)
16 Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson (M, 6-3, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Stanford Univ.)
22 Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Colorado Springs, Colo., Penn State Univ.)
23 Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Manhattan Beach, Calif., Univ. of Nebraska)
24 Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, Coppell, Texas, Univ. of Texas)
Head Coach Karch Kiraly
Asst. Coach Erin Virtue
Asst. Coach Tama Miyashiro
Asst. Coach Luka Slabe
Performance Analyst Jeff Liu
Sport Physiologist & Team Leader Jimmy Stitz
Physical Therapist & ATC Kara Kessans
Consultant Coach Sue Enquist
Consultant Coach Marv Dunphy
Team Doctor Dr. Chris Lee
Second Scout Justin Chang
Olympic Schedule (All times PT)
Jul 24: USA def Argentina, 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-20)
July 26: USA def China, 3-0 (29-27, 25-22, 25-21)
July 29: USA def Turkey, 3-2 (25-19, 25-20, 17-25, 20-25, 15-12)
July 30: Russian Olympic Committee def USA, 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, 25-19)
Aug. 1: USA def Italy, 3-2 (21-25, 25-16, 25-27, 25-16, 15-12)
Aug. 3/4 Quarterfinals
Aug. 5/6 Semifinals
Aug. 7/8 Medal matches