COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 23, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team lost to Brazil 25-20, 25-13, 16-25, 25-18 in the final FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round match for both teams on Sunday in Cuiaba, Brazil.

While Team USA had already qualified for the World Grand Prix Final Round with its win over Belgium on Friday, Brazil was in a must-win situation to reach the six-team Final Round and have a chance to defend its 2016 title. The top five teams in the preliminary round plus host China advance to the World Grand Prix Final Round to be held Aug. 2-6 in Nanjing, China. The six-team field has been set with the USA and Brazil joining preliminary winner Serbia, Italy, Netherlands and host China.

The U.S. concluded the World Grand Prix preliminary round in second place with a 6-3 record and 19 points. Win or lose against Brazil, the Americans could not have gone up or down in the standings. Brazil also ended the preliminary phase with a 6-3 record and 18 points. Brazil finished third ahead of fourth-place Netherlands, while Italy was fifth in the preliminary round. While Japan finished sixth ahead of China, the host Chinese advance as host of the Final Round. All five teams from second place to sixth place in the final preliminary standings ended with 6-3 records, one win behind leader Serbia.

Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) tallied 12 points in the loss with nine kills on 24 swings, two blocks and an ace. Outside Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio), getting her second straight start, also had 12 points with 10 kills on 24 attacks and two blocks. Middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) chalked up four kills on nine attacks, three blocks and three aces for nine points. Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) collected 10 points with nine kills and a block.

Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) turned in a team-best five blocks to go with two kills for seven points. Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona), who started the first two sets, tallied four kills and two blocks. Outside Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota), who came in for Kingdon in the final two sets after subbing the first two sets, added four kills on eight swings and an ace for five points. Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) rounded out the scoring with an ace.

Notes Outside the Box Score

  • The U.S. and Brazil will meet in the two-match USA Volleyball Cup Aug. 27 and Aug. 29 at the Anaheim Convention Center.
  • For the upcoming World Grand Prix Final Round, the USA has played all but Serbia during the preliminary round should Netherlands defeat Belgium later today to advance. The Americans went 1-1 against both Italy and China, defeated Netherlands and lost to Brazil.
  • U.S. had won the last two of three meeting with Brazil in world competition, though Brazil had won eight of the previous 10 meetings.
  • The U.S. has now reached the six-team FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round three consecutive years, having won the event in 2015 and finished second in 2016 to Brazil.
  • USA’s other two losses in this year’s FIVB World Grand Prix were five-set losses to Italy and China last weekend.

Murphy was credited with a team-best 15 digs, while libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) turned in 14 excellent receptions on 30 chances.

Lloyd had 32 running sets on 86 total set attempts as the U.S. converted 38.2 percent of its attacks with a .182 hitting efficiency (42-22-110). In contrast, Brazil held a .300 hitting efficiency (55-19-120) with a 45.8 kill percent.

Brazil dominated the offensive side with a 55-42 kill advantage and a slim 17-15 block margin as both teams made it difficult for their opposing team to score. Both teams served six aces in the match.

The U.S. started Dixon and Gibbemeyer at middle, Kingdon and Courtney at outside hitter, Murphy at opposite and Lloyd at setter. Wong-Orantes was the libero for the match. Hancock was a sub in the first three sets, while Liz McMahon (Liberty Township, Ohio) was a sub in the second set.

FIVB World Grand Prix Field Against Each Other

  • Serbia (2-1 vs. Field, 7-2 Overall): defeated Brazil (3-0), lost to Brazil (3-0), defeated China (3-1)
  • USA (3-3 vs. Field, 6-3 Overall): defeated Italy (3-0), defeated China (3-0), lost to Italy (3-2), lost to China (3-2), defeated Netherlands (3-1), lost to Brazil (3-1)
  • Netherlands (0-2 vs. Field, 6-3 Overall): lost to USA (3-1), lost to Brazil (3-1)
  • Brazil (3-1 vs. Field, 6-3 Overall): lost to Serbia (3-0), defeated Serbia (3-0), defeated Netherlands (3-1), defeated USA (3-1)
  • Italy (2-2 vs. Field, 6-3 Overall): lost to China (3-1), lost to USA (3-0); defeated China (3-0); defeated USA (3-2)
  • China (2-3 vs. Field, 5-4 Overall): defeated Italy (3-1), lost to USA (3-0), lost to Italy (3-0), defeated USA (3-2), lost to Serbia (3-1)

The U.S. has won the FIVB World Grand Prix six times, with four of the titles coming in the last seven years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2015). In the last two editions, the Americans have won gold in 2015 and reached the gold-medal match in 2016 before losing to 11-time champion Brazil. The U.S. and Brazil have held dominance over the World Grand Prix as either the Americans or Brazilians have won the tournament 17 of the 24 editions and every year since 2008.

Brazil opened the first set with a 4-1 advantage, but the U.S. tied the set at 4-all with a Dixon block and Kingdon kill. Team USA took a 6-5 advantage on a Courtney slam and advanced the lead to 7-5 on a 6-1 run. Brazil scored three unanswered to take an 8-7 lead into the technical timeout. The U.S. called timeout trailing 12-9. Brazil increased its lead to 14-10, but the Americans answered with three straight to close to within one at 14-13. Brazil raised its advantage back to four points at 18-14 following consecutive blocks. Brazil increased the gap to 22-16 on another two blocks in a 4-0 run. Brazil closed out the set at 25-20.

Brazil notched the first three points of the second set. Murphy downed a kill off the block and Gibbemeyer served an ace to cut the gap to 3-2. After Brazil upped its lead to 5-2, Murphy connected for a kill and Dixon and Kingdon followed with blocks to tie the set at 5-all. Again, Brazil answered with seven unanswered points to stake a 12-5 advantage. Team USA stopped the run with a Kingdon kill and Brazil error to slice the gap to 12-7, but Brazil stormed back to a 15-7 lead. Brazil ended the set at 25-13.

The U.S. took a 2-1 lead in the third set with a Gibbemeyer ace, then extended its lead to 6-2 with two Dixon overpass kills and a Brazil error. Out of a Brazil timeout, Lloyd powered down a kill to send the advantage to 7-2. Out of the technical timeout, Courtney put up a block and Wilhite served an ace to push the American lead to 10-3. Brazil sliced three points off the deficit at 10-6. Dixon and Courtney responded with kills to jump the lead to 12-6. A Gibbemeyer block and Courtney kill lifted the U.S. margin to 14-7. The U.S. went into the second technical timeout up 16-8 after a Murphy block. Gibbemeyer scored a block and ace on back-to-back plays to prompt Brazil to call timeout down 18-9. Brazil whittled its deficit to 21-15. Hancock served an ace to give the U.S. set points at 24-17 and Gibbemeyer finished the set with a kill at 25-18.

The U.S. took an early 3-0 lead in the fourth set with a Gibbemeyer block and Murphy kill after a Brazil error. Brazil scored three straight to level the set at 5-all, then took a 9-6 lead as part of a 9-3 run. Brazil served an ace to extend its lead to 11-7, but the U.S. closed the gap to 11-10 with a Courtney block and overpass kill through a joust. Brazil regained five-point cushion at 15-10 after a USA error and two blocks. Brazil served an ace out the second technical timeout and put up a block to increase its lead to 18-11. Brazil cruised into the final at 25-18.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix Weekend #3
# – Player (Position, Height, College, Hometown)
1 – Micha Hancock (S, 5-11, Penn State, Edmond, Oklahoma)
3 – Carli Lloyd (S, 5-11, California, Bonsall, California)
4 – Justine Wong-Orantes (L, 5-6, Nebraska, Cypress, California)
5 – Sarah Wilhite (OH, 6-1, Minnesota, Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
6 – Tori Dixon (M, 6-3, Minnesota, Burnsville, Minnesota)
8 – Lauren Gibbemeyer (M, 6-2, Minnesota, St. Paul, Minnesota)
9 – Madi Kingdon (OH, 6-1, Arizona, Phoenix, Arizona)
12 – Kelly Murphy (OPP, 6-2, Florida, Wilmington, Illinois)
14 – Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (OH, 6-3, Illinois, Maryville, Illinois)
17 – Megan Courtney (OH, 6-1, Penn State, Dayton, Ohio)
19 – Hannah Tapp (M, 6-2, Minnesota, Stewartville, Minnesota)
20 – Amanda Benson (L, 5-7, Oregon, Litchfield Park, Arizona)
21 – Paige Tapp (M, 6-1, Minnesota, Stewartville, Minnesota)
23 – Liz McMahon (OPP, 6-6, Illinois, Liberty Township, Ohio)

Head Coach: Karch Kiraly
Assistant Coaches: Tama Miyashiro, Erin Virtue
Consultant Coach: Jon Newman-Gonchar
Technical Coordinator: Jeff Liu
Athletic Trainer: Kara Kessans
Team Manager: Jimmy Stitz

2017 U.S. Women’s Schedule in FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminary Round

At Kunshan, China
July 7: USA def. Russia 22-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-16, 15-11
July 8: USA def. Italy 25-21, 25-22, 25-19
July 9: USA def. China 25-22, 25-22, 25-21

At Macau, China
July 14: USA def. Turkey 25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 25-12
July 15: USA lost to Italy 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 13-25, 15-13
July 16: USA lost to China 25-27, 25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11

At Cuiaba, Brazil
July 20: USA def. Netherlands 25-15, 23-25, 28-26, 25-21
July 21: USA def. Belgium 25-14, 16-25, 25-19, 26-24
July 23: USA lost to Brazil 25-20, 25-13, 16-25, 25-18

FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round At Nanjing, China
Aug. 2-6
Serbia, USA, Netherlands, Brazil Italy and China will compete in 6-team field