Skylar Fields attacks against Turkey in FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship Second Round Pool F

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 18, 2019) – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team lost to Turkey 25-23, 25-20, 32-30 with each set going down to the wire in Aguascalientes, Mexico, to conclude FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship Second Round (Top 8) Pool F.

Team USA, 2-4 overall at the World Championship, will face an opponent to be determined on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in the Classification 5-8 round.

Opposite Skylar Fields (Missouri City, Texas) totaled 15 kills on 26 attacks to lead Team USA. Outside hitter Jenna Wenaas (Frisco, Texas) pocketed 11 kills on 22 attacks, two blocks and an ace for 14 points. Opposite Kendall Kipp (Newport Beach, California) added three kills and three blocks as a sub in the third set.

Middle Katie Clark (Arlington, Texas) contributed three kills and two blocks for five points and outside hitter Logan Eggleston (Brentwood, Tennessee) added four kills. Middle Molly Phillips (Mansfield, Texas) scored two kills and a block for three points after subbing into the match in the second set. Outside hitter Anna Dixon (Louisburg, Kansas) tacked on two kills and a block for three points and middle Heather Gneiting (Provo, Utah) added two aces. Setter Mia Tuaniga (Long Beach, California) rounded out the scoring with a block in starting the final two sets.

Fields said the team has had to dig out of early deficits in each set but has always answered to make the set close down the stretch.

“I think our team has just been through so much this tournament, so we know how to fight back with all us playing together as one,” Fields said. “I think we are giving up too many errors in the beginning and that is holding us back. When it gets to the end, we can’t finish. I don’t think we are starting too nervous or anxious. I think once we make a lot of mistakes, it gets in our head. We just need to play loose the whole time.”

“We just gave up a bunch of points early,” said Jerritt Elliott, who is serving as head coach for the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team. “One of the things with a young team, we are trying to learn our routines. When we were bad, we gave up a lot of points. That is an emotional insecurity. On the flip side of it, they came back and put themselves in the position (to win each set). It is part of the evolution of growing up, and I am proud of them for that.”

The U.S. converted 40 percent of its attacks with a .243 hitting efficiency with Tuaniga doing the bulk of the setting. The Americans held Turkey to a 42 kill percent and .229 hitting efficiency.

Unofficially, libero Brooke Nuneviller (Chandler, Arizona) had a team-high 71 positive reception percent on 14 chances and added 10 digs. Eggleston handled 33 of the team’s 77 receptions with a 64 positive percent. Wenaas was 60 percent positive passing on 20 chances to go with 13 digs.

“For us, the big thing is the serve and pass game,” Elliott said. “The serving is much tougher international than in our youth age group, and we don’t play with this ball which is much more difficult. The biggest risk for us comes from the serve receive. If we can serve-receive, we have the attackers.”

Turkey out-served USA 8-3 in aces and had a 47-40 margin in kills to offset the Americans slim 10-9 edge in blocks.

Wenaas said the tournament has been a “growing experience.”

“The competition has taught me different things about the game in all aspects. I think the team improves every game regardless of the outcome. I’ve been impressed with our ability to rally around each other even when we are down. We always stick together. Overall, it’s been a fun two weeks.”

Fields said she and her teammates are determined to finish the tournament strong.

“We are going to keep pushing and trying our hardest to get fifth place,” Fields said.

The U.S. started Ella Powell (Fayetteville, Arkansas) at setter, Eggleston and Wenaas at outside, Fields at opposite, Clark and Gneiting at middle and Nuneviller at libero. Clark and Dixon started the final two sets. Powell was a sub in the final two sets.

Turkey ran off seven unanswered points to take a 14-6 advantage in the opening set and extended the margin to 20-9. The Americans sliced the deficit to 20-15 with six consecutive points. The U.S. moved to within one at 23-22 but ran out of time in the 25-23 loss.

Turkey scored four straight points to take a 10-7 advantage in the second set and went into the second technical timeout leading 16-14. The U.S. trailed 20-16 and closed the gap to 21-19 but was unable to complete the comeback in a 25-20 loss.

Turkey bolted out to a 9-1 advantage in the third set. The U.S. charged back to level the set at 11-all and went into the lead at 15-14. After Turkey moved into a 17-15 lead, the Americans answered again to move into an 18-17 advantage. Turkey saved a set point and served an ace to gain a match point at 25-24. Turkey prevailed 32-30 on its seventh match point opportunity.

2019 U.S. Women’s Junior National Team Roster
Name (Position, Height, HS Grad Year, Club/Region, College, Hometown)
3 – Brooke Nuneviller (L, 5-11, 2018, Aspire VBC/Arizona, Oregon, Chandler, Ariz.)
4 – Mia Tuaniga (S, 5-9, 2020, Apex1/Southern Cal, Long Beach State, Long Beach, Calif.)
5 – Azhani Tealer (OPP, 5-10, 2019, Texas Image/North Texas, Kentucky, Grand Prairie, Texas)
6 – Logan Eggleston (OH, 6-1, 2018, Alliance/Southern, Texas, Brentwood, Tenn.)
7 – Jenna Wenaas (OH, 6-1, 2020, TAV/North Texas, Minnesota, Frisco, Texas)
9 – Skylar Fields (OPP, 6-2, 2019, Houston Juniors/Lone Star, Texas, Missouri City, Texas)
11 – Molly Phillips (M, 6-2, 2019, Texas Image/North Texas, Texas, Mansfield, Texas)
13 – Ella May Powell (S, 6-2, 2018, Ozark Juniors/Delta, Washington, Fayetteville, Ark.)
15 – Katie Clark (M, 6-3, 2018, TAV/North Texas, TCU, Arlington, Texas)
17 – Anna Dixon (OH, 6-3, 2019, KC Power/Heart of America, Kansas State, Louisburg, Kan.)
19 – Kendall Kipp (OPP, 6-6, 2019, Laguna Beach VBC/Southern Cal, Stanford, Newport Beach, Calif.)
20 – Heather Gneiting (M, 6-6, 2018, Club V/Intermountain, BYU, Provo, Utah)

Head Coach: Jerritt Elliott (University of Texas)
Assistant Coaches: Paula Weishoff (Concordia Irvine) and Jenny Hazelwood (Infinity Volleyball Club)
Technical Coordinator: Jon Wong (Bradley University)
Head of Delegation: Coley Pawlikowski