COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 15, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team lost to Italy 25-22, 22-25, 25-21, 13-25, 15-13 on Saturday on the fifth day of competition at the FIVB World Grand Prix in Macau, China.
The U.S falls to 4-1 in the FIVB World Grand Prix and was the last remaining undefeated team. The Americans, who also lost for the first time all season in 13 matches, conclude the second weekend of preliminary action on July 16 when they face host China at 3:30 a.m. ET in Macau. Last Sunday the Americans swept the Chinese in Kunshan, China. Italy (3-2), which lost to Team USA last week in three sets, had swept host China on Friday. The World Grand Prix is the premier annual international tournament for women.
Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona) scored 20 points, all coming on kills via 38 swings. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Maryville, Illinois) totaled 16 kills on 41 swings, three blocks and an ace for 20 points. Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) charted 14 points with nine kills on 31 swings, three aces and two blocks.
Middles Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) and Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) scored five points each. Liz McMahon (Liberty Township, Ohio), who was the opposite in the double sub all five sets, pocketed five kills on 11 swings. Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma), the setter in the double sub in all five sets, served two aces. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) rounded out the scoring with a block.
TV Schedule for July 15-16
USA vs. Italy – Olympic Channel (formerly Universal HD) on July 15 at 2 p.m. ET
USA vs. China – Olympic Channel (formerly Universal HD) on July 16 at Noon ET
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) compiled 20 digs and 17 excellent receptions on 24 attempts in the match. Bartsch-Hackley
was credited with 17 excellent receptions on 24 attempts to go with eight digs. Lloyd and Kindgon each had 17 digs.
Lloyd was credited with 44 running sets on 98 chances, while Hancock had 11 running sets on 19 chances. The U.S. had a 38.5 kill percent and .270 hitting efficiency (57-17-148). The Americans held the Italians to a .262 hitting efficiency (65-23-160) with a 40.6 kill percent.
Italy held advantage in kills (65-57), blocks (12-8) and aces (10-7), which helped offset its 34 errors in the match compared to Team USA’s 13 for the entire contest.
The U.S. started Lloyd at setter, Murphy at opposite, Kingdon and Bartsch-Hackley at outside, Gibbemeyer and Dixon at middle, and Wong-Orantes at libero. Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) was a sub in the final four sets. Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) was a serving sub in the first set.
The U.S. scored two straight to take its first lead of the opening set at 7-6, only to have Italy score three in a row to go up 9-7. The Americans leveled the score at 10-all, but Italy notched three straight to go up 14-11. Italy extended its lead to 19-14. The U.S. cuts a 23-19 deficit down to two point at 23-21, but Italy scores the final two of three points for a 25-22 victory.
The Americans charged out to a 4-1 advantage in the second set. Italy notched four straight to take the lead at 7-6 following back-to-back aces. Team USA reversed the lead to its side at 10-9, only to see Italy take the lead again at 12-11. Two kills from Kindgon and one from Murphy as part of a 6-0 run placed the Americans in front 18-13. Italy chipped away at the deficit to move to within 21-19. Team USA sided out the final points to win 25-22.
Trailing 16-14 at the second-technical timeout in the fourth set, the U.S. scored three consecutive points capped by a Murphy kill to take the lead at 17-16. Out of its timeout, Italy used a 6-1 run to take a 22-18 advantage. Dixon downed a kill to cut the gap to 23-21, but Italy scored the final two points for a 25-21 victory.
The U.S. rattled off eight unanswered points to go up 11-4 in the fourth set. The Americans reached a double-digit lead at 17-7. Team USA never allowed Italy to make a run as it won 25-13 and force a fifth set.
Italy scored three straight to take a 6-4 advantage in the fifth set. However, the U.S. answered with back-to-back points to square the set at 6-all on a McMahon kill. Momentum shifted back to Italy as it took a 9-6 lead with three unanswered points. The U.S. clawed back into a tie at 13-all, but Italy scored the final two points for the 15-13 victory.
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.