By Cindy Luis
Forgot to mention Tama was Player of the match
The top-ranked U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team used a 20-6 block advantage and Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah) scored 21 points to defeat Japan 25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 25-18 Saturday afternoon during the FIVB World Grand Prix Pool M, the third and final preliminary weekend for the event, in Sendai, Japan.
Libero Tama Miyashiro was credited with a team-high seven digs and added seven excellent receptions on 14 errorless chances.
Team USA, which entered the day in fourth place, improves to 7-1 overall with 20 points to remain in the hunt for one of five spots available to join host Japan in the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round being staged Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 in Sapporo, Japan. Japan, ranked No. 3 in the world, is now 6-2 with 17 points. The U.S. is the three-time defending World Grand Prix champions and is aiming for an unprecedented fourth consecutive title in the premier annual international volleyball tournament for women.
The Americans conclude the preliminary round on Sunday (Japan time) versus Bulgaria, which is 5-2 overall with 16 points heading into its Saturday match versus Czech Republic. In other key matches on Saturday, first-place China (7-0, 20 points) plays Poland, Serbia (6-1, 19 points) faces Argentina (2-5, 4 points), Italy (6-1, 18 points) takes on Dominican Republic (4-3, 12 points) and Brazil (6-1, 17 points) plays Netherlands (3-4, 9 points). A loss by any of the frontrunners will allow Bulgaria, Turkey (5-2, 15 points) and Russia (5-2, 14 points) a shot to move into the Final Round. Turkey takes on Algeria (0-7, 0 points) and Russia Puerto Rico (0-7, 0 points).
The Americans conclude the preliminary round on Sunday a versus Bulgaria, which is 5-2 overall with 16 points heading into its Saturday match versus Czech Republic.