COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (July 7, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s National Team used an 11-2 run in the tiebreaker to rally from an 8-3 deficit to defeat Russia 22-25, 25-19, 25-27, 25-16, 15-11 on Friday to open its 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix schedule in Kunshan, China.

The U.S. returns to action on Saturday against Italy at 3 a.m. ET, followed by facing host China on Sunday at 7 a.m. ET in FIVB World Grand Prix action. The matches can be watched live on NBC Sports online. The World Grand Prix is the premier annual international tournament for women.

Opposite Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois), one of two Olympic bronze medalists from 2016 on the roster, scored a team-best 19 points with 15 kills on 26 swings and four blocks. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Maryville, Illinois) charted 17 points with 13 kills on 32 swings and four aces. Outside hitter Madison Kingdon (Phoenix, Arizona), playing in her first FIVB tournament, totaled 10 kills on 27 swings, four blocks and an ace for 14 points. Middle Lauren Gibbemeyer (St. Paul, Minnesota) contributed six kills on 13 swings, two blocks and two aces for 10 points.

Middle Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota), playing in her first tournament for the USA, pocketed nine points with three kills, four aces and two blocks. Opposite Liz McMahon (Liberty Township, Ohio), who was part of the double-sub in all four sets, tallied five kills on 13 swings off the bench. Setter Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California), who earned bronze at 2016 Olympics, provided four aces and a block in the victory.

Amanda Benson (Litchfield, Arizona), also making her first FIVB tournament appearance, was credited with 25 excellent receptions on 26 attempts, while Bartsch-Hackley had 26 excellent receptions on 29 chances.

The U.S. started Llody at setter, Murphy at opposite, Gibbemeyer and Tapp at middle, and Bartsch-Hackley and Kingdon at outside hitter. Benson was the libero for the match. Megan Courtney (Dayton, Ohio) started the fifth place in place of Bartsch-Hackley as a backrow specialist, a role she played as a sub in the first four sets. Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) was the setter in the double-sub in all five sets.

Team USA converted 42.7 percent of its attacks with a .274 hitting efficiency (53-19-124). For the match, the Americans held a 15-9 advantage in aces and a slim 13-12 margin in blocks. The U.S. offense also held a 55-42 edge in kills. Team USA committed 35 errors for the match to Russia’s 29. The Russians were held to a 38.9 kill percent and .176 hitting efficiency (42-23-108).

In the opening set, Hancock served two aces off the bench to tie the set at 9-all. Russia moved back in front by four at 16-12 at the technical timeout, only to Bartsch-Hackley cut the gap to 16-14 with a kill and ace out of the break. Russia widened its lead to 20-15, but the U.S. answered with three unanswered to close to 20-18. Russia did not allow the U.S. any closer in finishing out the set at 25-22.

Hannah Tapp hit a slide to start a 4-0 run that put the USA in front 9-5 in the second set. After Russia closed to 9-7, Tapp hit a quick and Bartsch-Hackley served consecutive aces to push the American lead to 12-7. Team USA raised its advantage to 15-8 following a Murphy kill, Russia attack error and Gibbemeyer block. The U.S. increased its lead to 21-13 on consecutive Russia errors before holding off Russia’s late charge to win 25-19 on a Kindgon kill.

Russia started the third set with an 8-1 advantage as the European’s service put pressure on the Americans. The U.S. answered with two Kingdon kills and two Gibbemeyer blocks to close to 8-5. Team USA closed the gap to 10-9 as Bartsch-Hackley slammed a kill as part of a 3-0 run. Out of a Russia timeout, Lloyd served an ace to level the score at 10-all. Russia took a 20-18 advantage, but the Americans tied the score at 21-all with a Bartsch-Hackley kill and Russia error. The U.S. took the lead at 23-22 with kills from Kingdon and Murphy. Russia saved two set points and gained its first set point at 26-25 and didn’t waste time in winning 27-25.

Russia inched out to a 6-3 lead in the fourth set. However, two Russia errors and Murphy kill leveled the score at 6-all. Out of a Russia timeout, Tapp downed a kill to yield a 7-6 American lead. The U.S. increased its lead to 9-7 with a Kingdon overpass kill. Russia tied the set at 9-all on an ace. Team USA gained a four-point cushion at 13-9 with a Murphy kill, Tapp service winner, Gibbemeyer kill and Russia error. U.S. raised its lead to 21-14 as Lloyd served two aces capping a 4-0 run. Tapp and Murphy scored points to widen the margin to 23-15 and Team USA finished out the set at 25-16.

Russia gained a 5-2 lead early in the fifth set and went into the court switch leading 8-3. The U.S. sliced the gap to 8-7 with a Gibbemeyer block, Russia attack error, and kills from Tapp and Bartsch-Hackley. Murphy leveled the score at 9-all with a cross-court winner. Bartsch-Hackley, Murphy and Kingdon connected for consecutive kills to lift the U.S. in front 12-10. Tapp put up a block to force Russia to call timeout trailing 13-10. Out of the break, Bartsch-Hackley served an ace to cap a 5-0 run and give USA match point at 14-10. Murphy finished the set with a cross-court winner at 15-11.

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.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster for FIVB World Grand Prix Weekend #1
# – 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 vs. Italy, 3 a.m. ET
July 9: USA vs. China, 7 a.m. ET

At Macau, China
July 14: USA vs. Turkey, 4 a.m. ET
July 15: USA vs. Italy, 2:30 a.m. ET
July 16: USA vs. China, 3:30 a.m. ET

At Cuiaba, Brazil
July 21: USA vs. Netherlands, 5:05 p.m. ET
July 22: USA vs. Belgium, 5:05 p.m.
July 23: USA vs Brazil, 9:10 a.m. ET

FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round
At Nanjing, China
Aug. 2-6
China plus top five other finishers from FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round