COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 27, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team was already a strong team this summer with young players carrying the load. So when four Olympic veterans made their 2017 debuts Sunday versus fourth-ranked to open the USA Volleyball Cup in Anaheim, the second-ranked Team USA got even stronger.
What resulted was the U.S. Women sweeping Brazil 25-21, 25-14, 29-27 with Olympians Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Florida), Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio), Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) and Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) giving the American fans a lot to cheer about inside the Anaheim Convention Center Arena. The teams played a bonus fourth set.
But rookie Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) kind of stole the thunder from her veteran Olympic teammates. She totaled 18 points with 14 kills on 26 attacks, three blocks and an ace during the official three sets of the match. Including the bonus set, she tallied 21 points. Larson chipped in 15 points with 12 kills on 24 attacks, two blocks and an ace. Adams pocketed 11 points in the official three-sets with nine kills on 12 swings and two blocks.
The U.S. used a 6-3 run to break a 15-all tie in the opening set and capture the win at 25-21 as Larson and Drews each compiled five points on a combined 8-of-13 hitting. Drews added eight points in the second set as Team USA rolled to a 25-14 victory. In the third set, the Americans held off three Brazil set points before gaining the upper hand and winning 29-27 on its second match-point opportunity.
The second USA Volleyball Cup match with Brazil will air live on NBC Sports Network. USA Volleyball premier partner adidas will have a premium giveaway item to the first 500 fans through the gate for Tuesday’s match. Fans can also bring Sunday’s match ticket to Tuesday’s match for a 50 percent discount for the final USA Volleyball Cup match.
Hill tacked on nine kills on 20 attacks, while Akinradewo scored five kills on nine swings. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) rounded out the scoring with a kill, ace and block for three points. She also set Team USA to a 53 kill percent and .404 hitting efficiency (50-12-94).
Hill was credited with a 67 positive reception percent on a team-best 27 chances. Libero Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) handled 11 receptions with a 45 positive percent. Larson added a 79 positive reception percent on 14 chances.
Did You Know: Rookie Megan Courtney played outside hitter at Penn State and with the U.S. Women’s National Team in her first two tournaments. But she has made the adjustment to be a libero for the USA Volleyball Cup and made her first appearance Sunday wearing the off-color team jersey.
Both teams had eight blocks and three aces, but the U.S. held Brazil to a 45 kill percent and .288 hitting efficiency. The Americans had a 64 positive reception percent for the match, while Brazil was credited with a 42 positive reception percent.
Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for the USA Volleyball Cup.
Playing in Anaheim: The U.S. Women will be playing an international match for the first time in Anaheim since moving its training headquarters there in 2009. The squad hosted Bulgaria in a pre-2012 Olympic Games exhibition match in nearby Anaheim Hills, California. Last December USA Volleyball extended its partnership with the City of Anaheim to serve as the official host city of the U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Volleyball Teams through the 2020 Olympic quadrennial.
About USA Volleyball Cup: The USA Volleyball Cup was initiated in 2013 and the U.S. Women have played in the event every year since except for 2016 due to a constricted Olympic year schedule. Team USA hosted Japan in the inaugural event in 2013, followed by Brazil in 2014 and China in 2015. During the 2014 USA Volleyball Cup, the Americans defeated Brazil in all four matches of the series with two matches in Southern California and two matches in Hawaii.
USA-Brazil Rivalry Renewed: The U.S. and Brazil had competed in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games gold-medal match with the Brazilians winning both times. Until the 2016 Olympic Games, Team USA’s final match in four straight Olympics were losses to Brazil – including the bronze-medal match in 2000 and quarterfinal round in 2004. The two rivals have played 26 times since 2011 with the USA holding a 15-11 edge. Six of the 26 matches have been in tournament gold-medal matches. Since 1983, USA and Brazil have played 116 times with Brazil leading the series 68-48.
Brazil in Second USA Volleyball Cup Appearance: Brazil also participated in the USA Volleyball Cup in 2014 where the U.S. won all four matches.
1992 Olympic Games 25th Anniversary Recognition: Several members of Team USA’s 1992 Olympic Games bronze medalists on both the women’s and men’s teams will be present to commemorate the 25th anniversary of their accomplishments in Barcelona.
Olympian Crossover Support: Several U.S. Olympians will be in the house showing crossover support for their Team USA family at the USA Volleyball Cup. In addition to the 1992 Olympians, two-time Olympic beach volleyball medalist April Ross will be in attendance on Tuesday. Tayyiba Haneef-Park, a three-time Olympian, and 2016 Olympic Games bronze medalist Kawika Shoji will also be at the match rooting on Team USA. All three are current members of the USA Volleyball Board of Directors. Liane and Gary Sato, who both have been part of past Olympic Games, are expected to be in attendance.
Upcoming: Both the U.S. and Brazil will have little time to rest following the USA Volleyball Cup as they head to Japan for the season-ending FIVB World Grand Champions Cup (WGCC) being held Sept. 5-10 in Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for USA Volleyball Cup
# – Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
3 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, California, Bonsall, California)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska, Cypress, California)
5 – Rachael Adams (M, 6-2, Texas, Cincinnati, Ohio)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
7 – Lauren Carlini (S, 6-2, Wisconsin, Aurora, Illinois)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (M, 6-2, Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota)
9 – Madi Kingdon (OH, 6-1, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
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, Maryville, Illinois)
15 – Kim Hill (OH, 6-4, Pepperdine, Portland, Oregon)
16 – Foluke Akinradewo (M, 6-3, Stanford, Plantation, Florida)
17 – Megan Courtney (L, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
29 – Aiyana Whitney (OPP, 6-5, Penn State, Norwood, New Jersey)</strong.#>
Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Tama Miyashiro, Marv Dunphy
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Hicks
Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Manager: Jimmy Stitz
Mental Performance Coach: Traci Statler