COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 19, 2017) – The U.S. Women’s Junior National Team lost to Japan 25-18, 25-22, 25-17 in its FIVB Women’s U20 World Championship Top 8 Pool F pool play match on Wednesday afternoon in Cordoba, Mexico.

The U.S. (2-3 overall, 0-2 in Pool F) challenges Bulgaria on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET to conclude its four-team Pool F gold-bracket round robin match. Bulgaria is 2-2 overall and 0-1 in Pool F prior to its match this afternoon against China. The top two teams from Pool F advance to the semifinals to meet the top two teams from Pool E.

Japan, now 5-0 in the tournament and 2-0 in Pool F, has now qualified for the semifinals of the World Championship after its straight set victories over the Americans and Bulgaria on Tuesday.

Middle Brionne Butler (Kendleton, Texas) led the U.S. in scoring with 16 points via 14 kills on 22 swings and two blocks. Outside hitter Thayer Hall (Moore, South Carolina) added six kills and three aces for nine points. Middle Ronika Stone (San Jose, California) contributed five kills on 12 attacks and four blocks for nine points. Outside hitter Leah Edmond (Lexington, Kentucky) had a matching nine points with eight kills on 19 swings and a block.

Opposite Holly Carlton (Sterling, Virginia) tallied three kills and setter MacKenzi Welsh (Bolingbrook, Illinois) had two kills and a block. Regan Pittman (Spring Hill, Kansas), who subbed into the lineup at opposite for an injured Carlton, rounded out the scoring with a kill.

Errors were a major difference in the match as Team USA committed 21 to Japan’s seven for the entire match. The Americans held an 8-2 margin in blocks, while Japan’s serve netted a 6-3 advantage in aces. Japan also had a 46-39 edge in kill.

The Americans started Butler and Stone at middle, Hall and Edmond at outside hitter, Carlton at opposite and Welsh at setter. Gabby Curry (Buford, Georgia) started at libero. Tiffany Clark (Napeville, Illinois) was a sub in all three sets, while Paige Hammons (Louisville, Kentucky) was a sub in the first two sets. Norene Iosia (Torrance, California) and Rachael Kramer (Phoenix, Arizona) were subs in the third set.

The U.S. built a 3-point, 8-5, cushion at the first technical timeout of the opening set as Edmond pounded two early kills and put up a block. However, Japan charged back to take the at 10-9 lead on a 5-1 run. Japan reached the second technical timeout with a 16-13 advantage. Japan stretched its margin to 21-16 and went on to win 25-18. The U.S. was hurt by 11 errors in the set to Japan’s four.

The Americans surged to a 3-0 lead to start the second set with two aces from Hall and a Welsh block, but Japan came back to take the lead at 5-4 on a 5-1 run. The U.S. pulled into an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout with consecutive points. The Americans gained two-point edge at 13-11, but was short-lived as Japan landed in a tie at 13-all. Japan went in front briefly at 15-14 as Team USA scored three consecutive points to take a 17-15 lead. Japan squared the set at 18-all and went in front 21-19 on a 6-2 run. Japan scored the final two points of the set for a 25-22 victory.

Japan rolled to a 4-1 lead in the third set and went into the first technical timeout up 8-5. By the second technical timeout, the Japanese increased their margin to 16-11. Japan cruised into the match victory with a 25-17 third set victory.

U.S. Women’s Junior National Team
# – Name (Position, 2017 Club/College, Height, Hometown, Region)
1 – Brionne Butler (M, University of Texas, 6-4, Kendleton, Texas, Lone Star)
2 – Tiffany Clark (L, University of Wisconsin, 5-11, Naperville, Illinois, Great Lakes)
3 – Thayer Hall (OH, Upward Stars, 6-3, Moore, South Carolina, Palmetto)
4 – Paige Hammons (OH, University of Florida, 6-2, Louisville, Kentucky, Pioneer)
5 – Regan Pittman (M, University of Minnesota, 6-5, Spring Hill, Kansas, Heart of America)
6 – Holly Carlton (OPP, University of North Carolina, 6-7, Sterling, Virginia, Chesapeake)
8 – Ronika Stone (OPP, University of Oregon, 6-2, San Jose, California, Northern California)
11 – Norene Iosia (S, University of Hawaii, 5-11, Torrance, California, Southern California)
12 – MacKenzi Welsh (S, University of Michigan, 6-1, Bolingbrook, Illinois, Great Lakes)
14 – Gabby Curry (L, University of Kentucky, 5-9, Buford, Georgia, Southern)
15 – Rachael Kramer (M, University of Florida, 6-8, Phoenix, Arizona, Arizona)
17 – Leah Edmond (OH, University of Kentucky, 6-2, Lexington, Kentucky, Pioneer)

Head Coach: Laurie Corbelli (head coach at Texas A&M University)
Assistant Coach: Blake Rawlins (head trainer at Top Select Volleyball Academy)
Assistant Coach: Jay Van Vark (assistant coach at Grand Canyon University)
Team Leader: Tom Pingel (USA Volleyball High Performance)
Athletic Trainer: Ronni Beatty-Kollasch (University of Minnesota)

2017 FIVB Volleyball Women’s U20 World Championship

Pool C at Boca del Rio, Mexico
July 14: USA lost to Brazil 25-10, 25-12, 24-26, 25-22
July 15: USA def. Cuba 31-29, 25-19, 25-23
July 16: USA def. Serbia 22-25, 10-25, 26-24, 25-23, 17-15

Pool F (Top 8 Gold Bracket) at Cordoba, Mexico
June 18: USA lost to China 23-25, 30-28, 25-15, 10-25, 15-13
June 19: USA lost to Japan, 2 p.m. ET 25-18, 25-22, 25-17
June 20: USA vs. Bulgaria, 2 p.m. ET