COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 28, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s National Team moved one step closer to the FIVB World Cup podium by dominating Cameroon 25-19, 25-15, 25-5 on Saturday in Osaka, Japan.
Team USA, ranked No. 3 in the world, improved to 9-1 overall in the 12-team round robin World Cup. The Americans are in second place and can finish with the silver by defeating Korea (6-4) on Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on the World Cup final day (Sunday in Japan), or a Russia loss to either Kenya (played on Saturday) or Brazil (played on Sunday).
The FIVB World Cup matches will be streamed live on FloVolleyball.tv.
More history! #USAVwnt used a 12-2 block advantage in sweeping Cameroon 25-19, 25-15, 25-5 for its 9th FIVB World Cup win and clinching a podium finish for the fifth consecutive edition – the only country to do so.
— USA Volleyball (@usavolleyball) September 28, 2019
The U.S. built a 15-9 advantage in the opening set before Cameroon charged back to within one at 17-16, but it was all Team USA thereafter in a 25-19 victory finishing on an 8-3 run. The Americans raced to a 15-7 advantage in the second set and finished strong with a 25-15 win. Team USA opened the third set with a 10-0 run and ended the match with a 25-5 victory.
Opposite Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California) led the U.S. with 14 kills on 22 attacks and three blocks for 17 points. Middle Hannah Tapp (Stewartville, Minnesota) charted nine kills on 14 swings, four blocks and an ace for 14 points. Outside hitter Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (Champaign, Illinois) pocketed 11 kills on 25 swings and a block for 12 points.
Middle Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) racked up seven kills on 11 attacks, one block and one ace for nine points. Outside hitter Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) contributed seven kills and two blocks for nine points. Setter Lauren Carlini (Aurora, Illinois) rounded out the scoring with a kill, block and ace for three points.
The U.S. Women, led by Karsta Lowe’s 17 points and Hannah Tapp’s 14, swept Cameroon for their 9th FIVB World Cup win….
“We knew going into today’s game that Cameroon have some really talented athletes with strong arms and are very physical,” Hill said. “But we had to concentrate on our side of the net, blocking and just improving ourselves and we did a good job of that and took care of business. I think our strength as a team is that we’re 14-strong. Some of us have different roles, some of us are starting six, some come in to serve. I’m proud of us as a group because even if the roles are smaller, we think they are very important in their own ways and I think that’s why we’re strong. I think that’s going to help in going to Tokyo next year and developing that. We challenge each other constantly and that’s what makes it fun to be part of this group.”
Libero Justine Wong-Orantes (Cypress, California) was unofficially credited with 10 digs and handled 16 receptions with a 31 positive percent. Hill was credited with a 50 positive reception on 14 chances to go with five digs. Bartsch-Hackley was 71 percent positive on seven receptions with four digs. Carlini was credited with nine digs from her setter position while Lowe had five digs.
U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach used seven different starters in today’s victory as compared to yesterday’s hard-fought win over Russia. Despite the roster juggling, Team USA clicked in all phases of the match.
“We are honored and privileged to have 14 special people here with us and who are all making important contributions in a very long and difficult tournament,” Kiraly said. “We have played 10 matches with one more against a very strong Korea tomorrow. We will need contributions from all 14 players.”
Carlini set the U.S. to a 54 kill percent and .484 hitting efficiency (49-5-91). The American defense held Cameroon to a 26 kill percent and .038 hitting efficiency (21-18-80).
Team USA’s defense produced a 12-2 block advantage while the American offense held a 49-21 margin in kills. Cameroon secured a slim 4-3 edge in aces. The U.S. held its errors to 12 for the match compared to Cameroon’s 11.
“For today, it was to continue our service pressure,” Kiraly said. “When we served really tough yesterday against Russia, it became easier.”
The U.S. started Bartsch-Hackley and Hill at outside hitter, Dixon and Tapp at middle, Lowe at opposite, Carlini at setter and Wong-Orantes at libero.
For the tournament finale, Kiraly sees the Americans facing another huge test against Korea, which upset Brazil on Saturday in four sets.
“We expect Korea to play the great volleyball that they played today against Brazil,” Kiraly said. “That is a really strong win. That is a difficult team and so we have lots of planning to do.”
Team USA is the only country to have medaled in each of the last four World Cups. The Americans won silver in 2011 and bronze in 2003, 2007 and 2015. The 2015 World Cup podium finishes replicated the 2016 Olympic Games results – China winning the event with Serbia claiming silver and USA bronze.
After Cameroon scored the first two points of the match, Team USA quickly tied the set at 2-all then went up 8-4 at the technical timeout with Tapp providing a kill and block around a Lowe kill and Cameroon error. Tapp slammed consecutive kills to push the American lead to 10-5. Lowe hammered back-to-back kills to raise the American lead to 15-9. Cameroon cut its deficit to 15-13 with four consecutive points. Cameroon closed to one at 17-16 on an ace. Hill answered with a kill and block followed by a Cameroon error to raise the Team USA lead to 20-16. Hill scored consecutive kills, Cameroon had an attack error and Lowe pounded a kill to push the American lead to 24-17. Cameroon saved two set points before Dixon finished the set with a kill at 25-19.
Lowe scored a kill and block followed by a Cameroon error to put Team USA up 3-0 to start the second set. The U.S. extended its lead to 7-3 with a Bartsch-Hackley kill and Cameroon error. Bartsch-Hackley scored kills around a Lowe spike to move Team USA’s lead to 10-4. Tapp put up a block and served an ace to yield a 12-5 American lead. Carlini and Dixon scored back-to-back kills to raise the lead to 14-7. Cameroon used a 4-1 run with two aces to close to 16-11. Tapp hammered three consecutive kills to give Team USA a 20-12 margin. Dixon scored a kill and block to present the Americans a 23-14 lead. Lowe ended the set at 25-15 with a kill after a Cameroon error.
Dixon scored three kills, Hill scored two kills and a block, Lowe added a kill and Carlini served an ace and Cameroon hit wide twice as Team USA started the third set with a 10-0 lead. Bartsch-Hackley scored consecutive kills, Dixon served an ace, Lowe added a kill and Cameroon committed consecutive errors to give the U.S. a 17-2 lead. Out of a Cameroon timeout, Lowe pounded a kill and Tapp added a block to cap a 9-0 American run at 19-2. Team USA reached set match point at 24-4 with Tapp scoring a block and kill, Hill following with a kill and Bartsch-Hackley securing another block. Lowe ended the set at 25-5 with a kill.