COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 11, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team lost to Turkey 25-15, 25-17, 27-25 on Tuesday to open the fourth week of FIVB Volleyball Nations League preliminary round matches in Jiangmen, China.
The Americans fall to 7-3 overall with 21 points, while VNL leader Turkey improves to 8-1 overall with a maximum 27 points. The U.S. returns to the court against Poland on Wednesday at 4 a.m. ET, followed by a Thursday match up against host China at 8 a.m. ET. All Team USA matches in the VNL matches are being streamed on flovolleyball.tv.
Turkey started strong with an 8-2 advantage in the opening set and cruised to a 25-15 victory. Turkey used a 10-3 spurt to take a 21-12 lead and finished the set at 25-17. Team USA trailed 22-19 in the third set and save three match points before Turkey prevailed 27-25 in the third set.
Outside hitter Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) led the U.S. in scoring with eight points, all on kills. Opposite Jordan Thompson (Edina, Minnesota), who subbed in the second set and started the third, provided seven kills on 12 attacks. Middle Haleigh Washington (Colorado Springs, Colorado) contributed five kills on nine attacks.
Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) and middle Chiaka Ogbogu (Coppell, Texas), who both started only the third set, tallied four points apiece. Middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota), outside hitter Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) and opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California) scored three points each. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) rounded out the scoring with a kill.
According to the unofficial stats, U.S. converted 34 percent of its attacks into points with a .213 hitting efficiency (37-14-108) behind the setting of Lloyd and Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois), who started the final set. In contrast, Turkey converted 51 percent of its attacks with a .379 hitting efficiency (48-12-95).
Larson produced a 59 positive reception percent on 17 chances, while Bartsch-Hackley was 73 percent positive on 11 chances. Robinson had seven digs and a 62 positive reception percent on eight chances. Libero Mary Lake (Palm Springs, California) handled 34 of the team’s 70 receptions with a 38 positive percent.
Team USA scored on its serve just 13 times in the match, seven of which came in the third set. Turkey dominated all three scoring phases with a 49-33 margin in kills, 8-4 blocking advantage and a 7-1 lead in aces. The Americans limited their errors to 11 in the match, while Turkey committed 15.
Team USA and Turkey played three times in last year’s inaugural VNL, and all three matches went five sets. Turkey won the preliminary round match, while the U.S. won the Final Six group match and the gold-medal match to win the title.
The U.S. started Larson and Robinson at outside hitter, Gibbemeyer and Washington at middle, Lowe at opposite, Lloyd at setter and Lake at libero.
Turkey was led by 19-year-old sensation Ebrar Karakurt’s 23 points.
Turkey used a 4-0 run to open the first set with a 5-1 advantage, then raised the margin to 9-2 with another 4-0 run. Team USA shaved two points off the lead with a Washington kill and Gibbemeyer block at 11-6, but Turkey answered with two points to go back up 13-6. The U.S. called timeout down 19-12 after consecutive Turkey points. Turkey scored the final three points of the set for a 25-15 victory.
Turkey reached a 4-1 advantage early in the second set. Team USA sliced the gap to 6-5 with kills from Low and Washington. Turkey served an ace to head into the first technical timeout leading 8-5. The U.S. called timeout trailing 10-6 after Turkey scored two straight points. Turkey extended its lead to 15-8 with a 4-0 run. After the U.S. saved three set points, Turkey won 25-17.
Ogbogu put up a block and Thompson slammed a kill to give the U.S. a 7-6 lead in the third set. However, Turkey scored three consecutive points giving it a 9-7 advantage. Team USA leveled the set at 10-all with an Ogbogu kill and Turkey error. Turkey raised its margin to 12-10 with a block. Turkey reached the second technical timeout up 16-13 following a block. The Americans answered with an Ogbogu block and Thompson overpass kill after a Turkey service error to level the set at 16-all. Bartsch-Hackley scored consecutive kills, the second on a 37.1 mega rally, to give the Americans the lead at 18-17. Turkey answered with two straight points to reverse the lead at 19-18, then extended the margin to 22-19 on a 3-0 run. The U.S. sliced the gap to 22-21 on a Thompson kill and Turkey attack error. Team USA saved two match points with kills from Bartsch-Hackley and Ogbogu at 24-all. Ogbogu saved a third match point with a block, but Turkey won the match on its fourth chance at 27-25.