EBOLI, Italy (July 6, 2019) – Match two brought marked improvement for the U.S. Women’s Collegiate National Team – World University Games (WCNT – WUG) Saturday as the squad breezed past Switzerland 3-0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-16) at PalaSele in Eboli, Italy.
“It was a good match today,” said Keegan Cook, head coach of WCNT – WUG. “It’s always a positive when you can say for certain that you improved in a lot of areas of the game, and it certainly felt that way with our group. A lot better from the service line, putting some pressure on Switzerland the entire match. The pass was also doing a nice job to keep more balls in a place for our setters to run our offense. Just better in a lot of regards. Every match is going to mean that much more for our group, and it was good to see so many attackers contribute.”
The U.S. controlled the match from the very beginning. They won eight of the first 12 points for an 8-4 lead in the first set and later extended that advantage to eight points for a 25-17 victory. In the second, USA Team took an 8-3 lead early and never looked back for a 10-point set win, and they pulled ahead midway through the third to clinch the match.
“I think today’s match went really well,” said opposite Stephanie Samedy. “We learned a lot from yesterday’s match on what we need to improve on, changes that we need to make in order to work more efficiently as a team, and I think we were able to execute that. We were able to improve our quality of play, and that was able to help us get our win.
WCNT – WUG’s service game shone brightly Saturday as the Americans dialed up 11 aces as opposed to just three errors. Outside hitter Kylie DeBerg had six herself, and both Tori Dilfer and Meghan McClure added two apiece. Audriana Fitzmorris, an outside hitter from Kansas, added the final ace.
On the attack, the Americans landed 36 kills on 86 attempts. Samedy led the way with 11 points and a 58 percent scoring percentage, while DeBerg and Avie Niece landed six kills apiece. Adanna Rollins contributed five, Kara Bajema four, and both Kennedy Eschenberg and Madeline Gates added two kills each to the U.S. cause.
With the win, WCNT – WUG advances to 1-1 in the 2019 World University Games and moves into a tie for second in Pool D. Japan leads the group after downing Italy and advancing to 2-0 Saturday, and Italy falls back into that tie for second at 1-1. Switzerland, 0-2, is guaranteed a spot in the 9-16 quarterfinal bracket.
The U.S. will close out pool play with a showdown against Japan. That match will begin at 12 Noon local time/6 a.m. Eastern, once more at PalaSele in Eboli, Italy.
“The next challenge comes quickly in tomorrow’s match against Japan,” said Cook. “Really impressive team, highly organized, and we’re looking forward to trying to make it out of this pool and see if we can make a little run. A good day for USA and I’m looking forward to coaching these guys again tomorrow.“