COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 16, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team lost to reigning Olympic Games champion China 25-27, 25-23, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11 to conclude its second FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round weekend in Macau.
The U.S., now 4-2 after consecutive five-set losses to China and Italy after defeating both teams in three sets last week, has a long journey to Cuiaba, Brazil, for upcoming matches versus Netherlands on July 20, Belgium on July 21 and host Brazil on July 23 in the third and final World Grand Prix preliminary weekend. The World Grand Prix is the premier annual international tournament for women.
The U.S. had three players score at least 21 points in the five-set heartbreaker. Outside hitter Madi Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona) totaled a team-high 23 points with 22 kills on 37 attacks and a block. Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) charted 20 kills on 39 swings and two blocks for 22 points. Outside hitter Michelle Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Maryville, Illinois) added 21 points with 17 kills on 43 attacks and a team-best four aces.
Middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) contributed eight kills on 15 swings and three blocks for 11 points. Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) pocketed seven kills on 13 swings and an ace for eight points. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) rounded out the scoring with two blocks and a kill for three points.
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) was credited with a team-high 14 digs and 19 excellent receptions on 20 errorless chances. Barstch-Hackley turned in 27 excellent receptions on 41 chances to go with nine digs. Kingdon had 18 excellent receptions on 27 chances.
Lloyd produced 36 running sets on 99 total chances and Hancock added 12 running sets on 24 chances. The U.S. converted 50.3 percent of its attacks into points with a .344 hitting efficiency (76-24-151).
China managed advantages of 14-8 in blocks and 6-5 in aces to offset the Americans’ 75-70 margin in kills. Team USA limited China to a 48.6 kill percent and .373 hitting efficiency (69-16-142).
China’s Yuan Xinyue tallied a team-best 21 points while 2016 Olympic Games most valuable player Zhu Ting and Gong Xiangyu added 19 points each. Zhu did not play against the Americans in the first meeting last week.
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. Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) was a serving and back-row sub in all five sets and served nine times, while Sarah Wilhite (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) served seven times as a sub in all sets. Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) was a back-row sub in all five sets.
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.
In the opening set, the Americans reached a two-point cushion at 22-20 with consecutive points, but the Chinese moved back into the lead with set points at 24-23 with three unanswered points. The U.S. saved two set points and took the lead back at 26-25 with a Bartsch-Hackley kill and China error. The Americans finish off the set at 27-25.
Trailing 17-11 in the second set, the Americans clawed back to within two at 19-17 with consecutive Bartsch-Hackley kills. China moved the lead back to five at 22-17. A successful video challenge by the USA started a three-point run to prompt China to call timeout with its lead down to 22-20 following a Gibbemeyer block. The U.S. saved two set points with a Kingdon kill closing the gap to 24-23, but China closes the set at 25-23.
China reached a 13-9 advantage in the third set with consecutive aces in a 3-0 run. The Americans used a 3-0 run to slice the deficit to 17-16. China won a video challenge that would have tied the set at 18-all and went on a 3-0 run to take a 20-17 advantage. China extended its margin to 22-18. Team USA narrowed the gap to 22-20, but that was the closest the USA would get as China won 25-21.
The U.S. used three consecutive points to assume an 11-10 advantage in the fourth set. China swung the lead to its side at 15-12 with a 4-0 run and pushed the margin to four at 18-14. Bartsch-Hackley and Kingdon slammed kills to put the USA within one at 20-19 and the Americans tied it at 21-all on a Kingdon kill. Out of a China timeout, the U.S. took the lead at 22-21 on a Murphy kill as part of a 6-1 run. Team USA reached set points 24-22 and won the set 25-23.
China scored three unanswered points to stake a 6-3 lead in the fifth set and reached the side switch maintaining its three-point cushion at 8-5. The U.S. used the mini break to cut the deficit to 8-7 with a Dixon kill and Gibbemeyer block. China pushed its margin to 13-9 with three consecutive points and completed the set at 15-11.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix Weekend #2
# – 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 Macau, China
July 14: USA def. Turkey 25-21, 24-26, 25-19, 25-12 (Watch Replay)
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 vs. Netherlands, 4:10 p.m. ET
July 21: USA vs. Belgium, 4:10 p.m.
July 23: USA vs Brazil, 9:10 a.m. ET
FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round
At Nanjing, China
China plus top five other finishers from FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round