COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 29, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked No. 3 in the world, claimed silver at the FIVB World Cup by defeating Korea 25-21, 25-16, 16-25, 25-22 in Osaka to conclude the 12-team round robin event played over 16 days in Japan.
Team USA concluded the tournament with a 10-1 record, its sole loss being to gold-medalist China earlier in the round robin format. The Americans have now reached the podium in five consecutive World Cup events played in the year prior to the Olympic Games. The U.S. also earned silver at the 2011 World Cup and bronze at the 2003, 2007 and 2015 editions. No other country had medal in the previous four World Cups let alone now five in a row.
“We have a lot to be proud of,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “We played a great tournament. All 14 of our players made really important and critical contributions to that. We had one disappointing loss to China – they are playing a very good tournament. But we have a lot to be excited about. We look forward to coming back here in way less than a year for the 2020 Olympics.”
The 2019 World Cup podium will have China with gold, USA with silver and Russia with bronze regardless of the outcomes later today.
After seven ties and three lead changes early in the opening set, the U.S. used a 5-1 spurt to take a 13-10 advantage and never trailed the rest of the set for a 25-21 victory. Team USA used an 8-0 run to take a commanding 17-7 advantage in the second set and went on to win 25-16. Korea bolted to a 6-0 advantage in the third set and used a 7-0 run to go up 16-7 before winning the set 25-16. After trailing 4-2 early in the fourth set, the U.S. turned up the pressure with a 5-1 run to go up 7-5 and never allowed Korea to tie the set in winning 25-22.
“Well we saw Korea play great volleyball in this tournament, including yesterday in a very good win against Brazil,” Kiraly said. “So we knew this match was going to be very difficult. #10 does a very a nice job for them. She is the most important part of that – she drives them. I think we did a pretty good job of containing her.”
Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) led Team USA with 20 kills on 40 attacks, two blocks and two aces for 24 points. Middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas) charted eight kills on 13 swings, a match-high seven blocks and an ace for 16 points. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) pocketed nine kills on 19 attacks and three aces for 12 points.
Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) turned in eight kills and a block for nine points. Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) added a block and kill for two points. Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado) rounded out the scoring with two kills.
“First, hats off to Korea; they played a great match,” Robinson said. “They pushed up the service line and ran a speedy offense, so they really challenged us. But I’m really proud of my team and the way we responded in the fourth set to take the win.”
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) had 15 digs and handled 22 receptions with a 59 positive percent. Bartsch-Hackley turned in a 41 positive reception percent on 29 chances with six digs. Robinson was 39 percent positive on 23 receptions. Carlini added 12 digs in the match.
Carlini set Team USA to a 44 kill percent and .300 hitting efficiency (48-15-110). Korea converted 40 percent of its attacks with a .209 hitting efficiency (51-24-129).
Although Korea held a 51-48 advantage in kills, the Americans held margins of 11-9 in blocks and 6-4 in aces. Korea also committed 26 errors in the match, including 16 through the first two sets. The U.S. committed 20 errors over the four sets.
Kiraly said the team will continue to work to improve his reception game heading toward the Olympic Games next summer in Tokyo.
“We need to keep getting better in our receive-set-attack game when the other team is serving,” Kiraly said. “That is a big part of who we are and to continue to improve our service pressure. We are doing well at those things, but we need to get even better to get stronger.”
While Team USA has already won gold at FIVB Volleyball Nations League and Pan American Cup, qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games on home soil and now captured silver at the FIVB World Cup, Robinson said it has been a fun journey. Yet the season is not over yet as Team USA plays in the NORCECA Women’s Continental Championship Oct. 8-13 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
“I think this summer has been really exciting for our team with new and younger faces getting an opportunity to play at a high level,” Robinson said. “I think we have a lot of potential and room for growth. We have NORCECA to go back to and I think we can be a great team come 2020. We had the World Championship here last year and the World Cup this year and going into the Olympics [being here] is only going to help us with what to expect and to perform at the highest level.”
The U.S. started Bartsch-Hackley and Robinson at outside hitter, Ogbogu and Washington at middle, Drews at opposite, Carlini at setter and Wong-Orantes at libero. Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) started the fourth set after subbing in the third set. Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) was a serving sub in all four sets while Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) was a sub late in third set.
The U.S. reached a 5-3 advantage early in the first set as Ogbogu scored a kill and ace around a Korea error. Korea scored three unanswered points to go up 8-7 at the first technical timeout. The Americans returned to the lead at 13-10 with two Ogbogu kills, a Robinson kill and two Korea errors on a 5-1 run. Korea closed to within one at 15-14. Bartsch-Hackley slammed a kill after a Korea service error to extend the American lead to 18-15. Drews and Robinson downed kills to put U.S. in front 22-18 at a Korea timeout. Korea committed an attack error to push the Team USA advantage to 23-18. Korea chopped two points off the deficit at 23-20. The Americans finished the set at 25-21 on a Drews attack.
The U.S. started the second set up 2-0 with a Bartsch-Hackley kill after a Korea error. Team USA increased its advantage to 7-4 with kills from Washington and Bartsch-Hackley. Drews converted back-to-back kills, Bartsch-Hackley served an ace, Ogbogu put up three consecutive blocks and Korea hit wide to lift the American lead to 16-7. Out of the technical timeout, Bartsch-Hackley capped an 8-0 run with a kill at 17-7. Korea scored six of the next eight points to close to 20-13. The Americans jumped its lead to 21-13 with a Washington kill and Korea error. The U.S. closed out the set with a Drews block and Ogbogu overpass kill at 25-16.
Korea opened the third set with a 6-0 advantage. The U.S. stopped the run with a Drews kill and Korea error at 6-2, then moved to within two at 7-5 with kills by Drews and Robinson around a Bartsch-Hackley ace. Korea answered with back-to-back points to increase the lead to 9-5. Team USA responded with a Drews kill and Washington block to close to 9-7, but Korea again put down seven consecutive points to take a 16-7 lead. Carlini put up a block after a Korea service error to close to 17-10. Ogbogu blocked Korea after it had an attack error to close the U.S. to 20-14. Korea scored the final two points of the set for a 25-16 victory.
The teams traded two-point runs early in the fourth set where Korea took a 4-2 lead. Drews hammered a kill and Robinson followed with a block to tie the set at 4-all. Drews put the U.S. in front 7-5 with a kill and consecutive aces. Korea responded with back-to-back points to level the set at 7-all. Team USA extended the advantage to 9-7 with an Ogbogu kill and Korea error. Robinson hit a back-row kill, Dixon roofed a Korea attack followed by a Korea error to push the American lead to 13-9. Korea stopped the 3-0 USA run to close to 13-11, but Team USA went up by four at 15-11 with a Bartsch-Hackley ace after a Korea service error. Korea answered with two quick points to cut the deficit in half at 15-13. Ogbogu put up a block after a Korea error to extend the Team USA lead to 18-14. Korea moved to within two at 23-21. Ogbogu ended the match with a block at 25-22.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for 2019 FIVB World Cup
# – Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
2 – Jordyn Poulter (S, 6-2, Illinois, Aurora, Colorado)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska, Cypress, California)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
7 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois)
10 – Jordan Larson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Hooper, Nebraska)
11 – Annie Drews (OPP, 6-4, Purdue, Elkhart, Indiana)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Champaign, Illinois)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Portland, Oregon)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
19 – Hannah Tapp (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Stewartville, Minnesota)
22 – Haleigh Washington (M, 6-3, Penn State, Colorado Springs, Colorado)
23 – Kelsey Robinson (OH, 6-2, Nebraska, Manhattan Beach, California)
24 – Chiaka Ogbogu (M, 6-2, Texas, Coppell, Texas)
25 – Karsta Lowe (OPP, 6-4, UCLA, Rancho Santa Fe, California)
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Luka Slabe, Tama Miyashiro, Erin Virtue, Marv Dunphy
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Leader: Jimmy Stitz
FIVB World Cup Schedule of U.S. Women’s National Team Matches
In Hamamatsu, Japan
Sept. 14: USA def. Kenya 25-14, 25-20, 25-14 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
Sept. 15: USA def. Serbia 23-25, 25-17, 25-16, 25-15 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
Sept. 16: USA def. Argentina 25-21, 25-18, 18-25, 25-11 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
Sept. 18: USA def. Netherlands 25-23, 25-18, 25-19 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
Sept. 19: USA def. Brazil 25-22, 25-18, 25-19 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
In Sapporo, Japan
Sept. 22: USA def. Japan 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, 23-25, 15-8 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
Sept. 23: USA lost to China 25-16, 25-17, 25-22 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
Sept. 23: USA def. Dominican Republic 25-22, 25-23, 25-9 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
In Osaka, Japan
Sept. 27: USA def. Russia 24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 17-25, 15-8 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
Sept. 28: USA def. Cameroon 25-19, 25-15, 25-5 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)
Sept. 29: USA def. Korea 25-21, 25-16, 16-25, 25-22 (FloVolleyball Video Replay)