LONG BEACH, California (June 17, 2016) – The USA used a 15-2 ace advantage to defeat Germany for the second time in as many weekends of the FIVB World Grand Prix, this time winning 25-17, 24-26, 25-10, 25-23 on Friday evening in Long Beach, California.
The USA improves to 3-1 in the FIVB World Grand Prix with nine points, while Germany falls to 0-4 through the fourth competition day. The Americans host Japan (1-3) on Saturday at 19:10 Pacific Time, while Germany take on Turkey (2-2) at 17:10 Pacific Time.
The U.S., competing in a rare tournament on home soil, played to the likings of 3,250 fans in the Walter Pyramid.
“It was a great atmosphere. It was a special treat. We do not play many tournament matches in the USA. Obviously we had a World Grand Prix Finals week last year in Omaha, but beyond that we have not played a Grand Prix phase since 1996 – after a 20-year break. It is not something we are used to. This was even a bigger adjustment as we have not played a tournament in Southern California, staying at home, making commutes and just having a different experience. I don’t think we handled it well in the first two sets and we got a little better as we went along.”
Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California) scored 20 points with 18 kills on 34 swings. Kim Hill (Plantation, Florida) added 19 points with 15 kills on 41 attacks. Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Illinois) added 12 points with six kills on 26 attacks, four aces and two blocks.
Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pennsylvania) added eight points with three kills, three blocks and two aces. Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) chipped in eight points with five kills on eight swings, two aces and a block. Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois) charted six points, while Alisha Glass (Leland, Michigan) rounded out the scoring with five points.
After losing the second set, Team USA regrouped with a more aggressive attitude on the court.
“Alisha Glass all brought us all in and told us we need to turn up our aggression level, meaning block and defense assertiveness,” Dietzen said. “I also believe our communication needed to be crisper. We had a few mis-communication plays in the first two sets. I thought that was another upgrade and allowed us to play better, and our serve got better.”
Team USA converted 37.7 percent of its attacks as Glass had 25 running sets on 75 chances and Carli Lloyd (Bonsall) added 10 running sets on 28 chances in the double-sub role. The Americans held Germany to a .328 hitting efficiency.
Robinson led the American defense with 16 digs, while Glass had 15 and Kayla Banwarth (Dubuque, Iowa) chipped in 14. Lowe and Hill each had 13 digs. Robinson was credited with 23 excellent receptions on 25 chances, while Banwarth was 15 of 18 without an error. Hill totaled 16 excellent receptions on 22 chances.
The Americans also held a 11-8 block margin in the victory.
Germany was paced by Louisa Lippman’s 13 points. Jana Franziska Poll totaled 12 points as she came off the bench in the first two sets before starting the third.
The USA also defeated Germany last weekend in the World Grand Prix opener in Ningbo, China.
The USA inched its way to a 6-3 lead early in the first set following an Adams kill on the slide and Robinson served an ace giving the Americans an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. Lowe served an ace after Lowe found open space to lift the Americans in front 10-4. Germany answered with a 5-1 scoring spurt to prompt USA to call timeout with its lead trimmed to 11-9. Out of the break, the Americans scored two straight including a Dietzen kill and Glass ace at 13-9. However, Germany didn’t fade as it scored three straight to close to 13-12. The U.S. responded with three quick points capped by a Hill ace at 16-12. The Americans continued to roll to a 22-14 advantage with a Murphy cross-court winner and Adams big block. Hill found the back corner for the set winner at 25-17.
Adams opened the second set with consecutive aces to give USA a 2-0 lead. Trailing 7-3, Germany scored three straight to slice its gap to 7-6 as Schwertmann won a joust to ignite the European side. Germany tied the set at 8-all following a USA error. Robinson served two aces and Hill slammed two kills in a 7-1 run to lift the Americans in front 15-9. Denise Hanke scored a kill on a surprise setter dump to move Germany to within 17-14. Schwertmann put down a monster kill and followed with a big block to put Germany down two at 19-17. USA called timeout hanging on to a 21-20 advantage after Stigrot slammed a kill. Silge blocked an American attack to knot the score at 23-all. Poll slammed a kill off the block to give Germany set point 25-24 after saving one set point for the Americans. Lippmann blocked the final point of the set for a 26-24 Germany victory to even the match. Germany’s Poll had seven points in the set.
After having a big lead erased in the second set, the USA started the third set strong with a 3-0 advantage, but Germany recovered to tie the set at 4-all. Lowe answered with consecutive points to stop the run followed by an Adams block and Dietzen ace to give the Americans an 8-4 advantage. Dietzen served a second ace out of the first technical timeout to push the USA in front 9-4 on a 5-0 run. Back-to-back blocks from Robinson and Adams and a Lowe ace stretched the USA to 14-5. Team USA cruised to the final set score 25-10 capped by a Dietzen block and a 21-6 run. The USA had five blocks and four aces in the set as Lowe and Dietzen scored four points each.
Glass served consecutive aces to send the USA in front 4-1 early in the fourth set. Lowe scored a winner after a USA successful challenge and Hill followed with an ace and Lowe slammed a cross-court winner to stretch the USA lead to 7-3. Lippmann put up a solid block on the USA to close the visitor’s deficit to 11-9. Lowe and Hill downed back-to-back kills to put the USA up front 14-10. Germany responded with three straight points to close the gap to 14-13 prompting an American timeout. Hill slammed a winner off the block giving the USA a three-point cushion at 22-19. Lowe gave USA match point at 24-21 with an uncontested attack. Germany saved two match points before Lowe slammed the final winner at 25-23.