LINCOLN, Neb. (May 16, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s National Team dropped a rare match on home soil as Turkey edged the Americans 28-26, 25-19, 20-25, 24-26, 16-14 in a tight five-set match Wednesday on day two of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League being held in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Americans, ranked second in the world, fall to 1-1 in the Volleyball Nations League while Turkey improves to 2-0. The U.S. will meet seventh-ranked Italy (0-2) on Thursday as the Volleyball Nations League pool in Lincoln concludes.
“Turkey is a really good team – we are a good team,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Karch Kiraly said. “Battles like that will happen a lot. This was only match number two. I liked how our team responded down 2-0 and came storming back. We even had a swing to go up 15-14, but didn’t quite put it down to the floor. Turkey played really good volleyball and we are thankful because teams will bring a lot of good at us and that will make us better.”
Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) led the Americans with 19 points via 15 kills on 49 swings, three blocks and an ace. Middles Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) and Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) both contributed 12 points. Dixon had eight kills, three blocks and an ace, while Gibbemeyer totaled seven kills, four blocks and an ace.
Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska), who came in as a sub in the second set and started the final three sets at outside, pocketed seven kills on 24 attacks and an ace. Opposite Annie Drews (Elkhart, Indiana) scored seven kills and a block for eight points in the first two sets. Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois), who gave the U.S. a lift off the bench, tallied six kills and a block.
Outside Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) notched four kills, two blocks and an ace for seven points in playing the first two sets. Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) added five kills in starting the third and fourth sets. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) rounded out the scoring with three blocks and a kill.
Turkey won the battle in all the scoring skills with a 62-60 margin in kills, a 20-17 block advantage and an 8-5 lead in aces.
“Turkey played a very disciplined game,” Kiraly said. “They are very well coach. They are young, they never stopped coming at us. We have a target on our chest and so those kinds of matches are good for us.”
Meryem Boz charted 15 kills and two aces for Turkey’s team-leading 17 points. Seyma Ercan, Eda Erdem Dundar and Zehra Gunes all contributed 16 points for a Turkey balanced attack. Gunes produced a match-high eight blocks.
The U.S. started Hill and Robinson on the outside, Dixon and Gibbemeyer at middle, Drews at opposite and Lloyd at setter. Wong-Orantes was the libero for the match.
Now the U.S. attention turns toward Italy and Larson feels the squad will bounce back after a tough loss at home.
“Italy has some good players here, but we need to focus mainly on our side and kind of figure out what is going on,” Larson said. “I am confident that we will have a great match tomorrow.”
The U.S. overcame a 16-14 deficit in the opening set with a 3-0 run to take a 17-16 lead on a Lloyd setter dump. Turkey regained the lead at 19-18. The lead shifted back to the USA on an American triple block prompting Turkey to call timeout down 20-19. Drews hammered back-to-back kills to yield a 22-20 U.S. advantage at Turkey’s second timeout. Turkey leveled the set again at 23-all. After the U.S. had three set points, Turkey came back to earn its first set point at 27-26. Turkey won the set 28-26 on an American attack error.
Hill put up a monster block to produce a 7-4 lead for Team USA early in the second set. Turkey used a 6-0 run to stake itself to a 14-11 advantage. The Americans chipped two points off the deficit at 14-13 with a Drews kill and Turkey error, but Turkey used a 4-0 run to extend the lead to 17-13. Turkey expanded its margin to 21-15 on an ace. Turkey ended the set at 25-19.
Turkey went up 4-2 early in the third set, but the Americans charged into the lead at 7-5 after a Hill block, Turkey attack error and Dixon block. Turkey squared the set at 8-all on an ace. Team USA put together an 9-0 run on Lloyd’s service, starting with Gibbemeyer nailing back-to-back points and Turkey hit long on consecutive plays to place the Americans in front 12-8. After a Turkey timeout, Larson slammed a kill and Turkey committed another error for a fifth and sixth straight point at 14-8. Gibbemeyer and Hill blasted consecutive kills extending the lead to 17-8. Turkey chipped away at the lead with an 7-1 spurt to close the gap to 18-15. The American advantage was trimmed to 20-19. Hill and Larson scored back-to-back kills and Turkey hit consecutive errors to extend the American lead to 24-19. Turkey saved one set point, but then hit wide to give the U.S. the win at 25-20.
Turkey scored three unanswered points to take a 3-2 lead in the fourth set. Hill and Murphy slammed consecutive kills to switch the lead to USA at 4-3. Hill served an ace off the net and Dixon hit a slide winner to inch the U.S. lead to 8-5. Turkey scored consecutive points out of the technical timeout to trim its deficit to 8-7. Team USA used a 4-0 run as Murphy hit a kill off the block and Turkey committed back-to-back errors to move the American lead to 13-8. Turkey trimmed the gap to 13-11 on a 3-0 run. Murphy scored a kill followed by a Hill block to put the Team USA advantage at 18-13. The American lead was erased at 20-all as Turkey rolled on a 7-2 spurt. Turkey put up a block to take the lead at 22-21. Team USA reversed the lead in its favor at 23-22 on consecutive Turkey errors. Turkey served an ace to reach match point at 24-23. Team USA saved the match point and earned its own set point at 25-24 on a Turkey attack error. Bartsch-Hackley put up a monster block to give the U.S. the set at 26-24.
Turkey scored three unanswered points to grab a 3-1 lead in the fifth set. Gibbemeyer served an ace after a Turkey service error to knot the score at 3-all. Turkey gained a two-point cushion again at 6-4. Larson slammed a kill and Lloyd followed with a block to square the set at 7-all. Turkey answered with three consecutive points to establish a 10-7 advantage. Turkey extended the lead to 12-8. Trailing 13-9, Gibbemeyer and Bartsch-Hackley scored back-to-back kills to cut the gap in half a 13-11. The U.S. saved two match points prompting Turkey to call timeout leading 14-13. Lloyd put up a block to save a third match point and tie the set at 14-all. The Americans had a swing to go up 15-14, but couldn’t convert and Turkey won 16-14.