By Cindy Luis
Sorry to have missed the matches. Caught some on the internet but it was a 6 hour time difference. Too old to hang that late.
U.S. was pretty young overall which bodes well for the future. Brazil a little more mature so wonder how many will be around in 2 years.
The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team, ranked second in the world, continued to send a message to the top volleyball powers of the world by defeating top-ranked Brazil a fourth straight match in the USA Volleyball Cup, this time 22-25, 27-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-11 in the finale in front 6,000 fans in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Kelsey Robinson (Bartlett, Ill.) sparked the U.S. Women with 22 points including 20 kills on 47 attacks and two blocks. Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) turned in 16 points in just the first three sets via 11 kills, three blocks and two aces. Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Ill.), playing just the final two sets in place of Fawcett, pocketed 15 kills on 27 attacks as the opposite position combined for 31 points in the match. Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) scored nine kills and a team-high four blocks for 13 points.
Kim Hill (Portland, Ore.) produced eight kills and a block for nine points, while Lauren Gibbemeyer contributed five points. Setters Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.) and Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) each tacked on two points.
Brazil was led by Fe Garay’s 18 points followed by Monique’s 17 points. Thaisa notched 13 points and Fabiana scored 10.
Thompson contributed a team-high 12 digs as the starting U.S. starter, while Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) added 11 digs and Robinson nine digs. Brazil held advantages of 17-13 in blocks and 7-4 in aces, but the Americans were more efficient in attacking with a 38 kill percent with a 59 positive reception percent. Meanwhile, Brazil was held to a 32 kill percent. Team USA held a 55-50 dig advantage.
The U.S. won the first three meetings of the four-match USA Volleyball Cup series. The Americans topped Brazil 25-22, 25-27, 25-19, 25-19 on July 5 at Irvine, Calif., then followed with a 25-21, 25-23, 25-20 victory the following night in Los Angeles. After the series shifted to Honolulu, Team USA battled to a 25-19, 22-25, 27-25, 25-27, 15-11 five-set victory on July 11.
Both teams are in their final preparations for the FIVB World Grand Prix that starts Aug. 1 and goes through Aug. 24. Team USA and Brazil will meet in the second preliminary round weekend in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Aug. 10. The two teams have qualified for the FIVB Women’s Volleyball World Championship taking place Sept. 23 to Oct. 12 in various Italian cities.
The U.S. Women have lost to Brazil in the last two Olympics Games gold-medal matches in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London).
Brazil started with a 4-1 lead in the opening set, but the U.S. charged back to knot the score at 4-all. Brazil answered with four straight including consecutive blocks from Natalia and Fabiana to take an 8-4 lead into the first technical timeout. Fe Garay extended the Brazil lead to 17-12 with an ace out of the second technical timeout. Team USA knocked two points off the deficit with consecutive Brazil errors at 17-14, but Brazil responded with two straight points to return to a four-point cushion at 19-14. Team USA closed the gap to 20-18 with a 4-1 scoring run capped by a triple block prompting a Brazil timeout. Out of the break, Robinson pounded a kill of the block to narrow the deficit to 20-19. Brazil raised its lead to 22-19 with back-to-back points. Brazil reached set points at 24-20, but Team USA saved two set points including a Hill block at 24-22, but Fe Garay closed out the set 25-22 on a cross-court winner.
Brazil jumped to a 4-2 lead in the second set, but consecutive Fawcett aces lifted the Americans in front 5-4 on a 3-0 scoring run. Brazil regained the lead at 6-5 and extended the advantage to 10-7 leading into a USA timeout. Adams and Robinson and Brazil hit long to level the score at 10-all, then Fawcett split the block to reverse the advantage to the U.S. at 11-10. Monique slammed back-to-back kills to put Brazil back in front at 12-11. Fawcett scored a kill and block followed by a Hill attack to produce a 14-12 American lead. Brazil won a joust at the net after a U.S. service error to level the score at 14-all. However, the U.S. reached the second technical timeout up 16-14 following a Hill cross-court winner. Brazil knotted the score at 17-all on a Dani Lins block. The U.S. earned a three-point cushion again at 20-17 on a 3-0 run with kills from Robinson and Gibbemeyer. Brazil leveled the match against at 20-all with a Thaisa block capping a 3-0 run. Monique added a fourth straight point with a kill at 21-20, and the South Americans’ lead increased to 23-21 on an American attack error. Team USA answered with kills from Robinson and Fawcett to tie the set at 23-all, then Robinson found open court in the middle for a kill for set point at 24-23. Team USA won the match 27-25 with a kill from Hill and block by Fawcett on its third set point opportunity.
Brazil built an early 4-1 lead in the third set, but Fawcett answered with a kill and ace to close to the American gap to 4-3. Team USA knotted the score at 5-all following a Brazil attack error. Hill won a busted play on a dink to lift the U.S. in front 6-5, then Brazil committed consecutive errors to lift the Americans in front 8-5 on a 4-0 run heading into the first technical timeout. Brazil pulled even at 9-all on three straight points capped by a Thaisa kill, then Gabi powered down a kill to lift Brazil in front 10-9 at a U.S. timeout. The U.S. hit long for a fifth straight Brazil point at 11-9 and Thaisa put up a block to extend the advantage to 13-10. Team USA closed to within one at 15-14 on a Fawcett roll shot. Brazil upped its lead to 17-14 on a Fe Garay ace, then extended the lead to 19-15 on a Fabiana ace. Robinson hit a kill down the line and slammed an overpass to trim the American deficit to one at 19-18 at a Brazil timeout. Out of the break, Brazil hit long for a fourth straight point to square the set at 19-all. Fabiana ripped a kill to give Brazil set points at 24-22. Brazil closed the set on a Fe Garay kill at 25-23.
Dani Lins served consecutive aces to put Brazil in front 7-5 in the fourth set. Brazil increased its lead to 10-6 with a Monique and Fe Garay kill out of the first technical timeout. Team USA chipped two points off the deficit at 16-13 with a Gibbemeyer kill and Glass block. Fe Garay put Brazil back in front by five points with a kill at 18-13. Murphy hammered consecutive kills, Thompson served an ace and Murphy hit an attack off the block for a point that followed a Brazil yellow card as its lead was trimmed to 18-17. Team USA knotted the score at 20-all with an Adams kill and Murphy slam igniting the crowd. The U.S. took the lead at 23-22 on a Brazil attack error and Robinson gave the Americans set point at 24-23. Robinson promptly gave the U.S. the victory with a kill at 25-23.
Adams gave the U.S. its first lead in the tiebreaker at 3-2 with a block. Fe Garay reversed the lead to Brazil at 4-3 with a block of her own. Adams answered with a back-to-back blocks to place the U.S. in front 6-4. Murphy slammed the kill at the switch with the Americans leading 8-5. Team USA extended its advantage to 11-7 on a 3-0 run punctuated by a power slam from Murphy. Out of Brazil timeout, Robinson powered an attack through the block for a 12-7 advantage. Brazil chopped two points off the deficit as USA called timeout with a 12-9 advantage. Robinson stopped the run with a kill off the block at 13-9. Brazil continued to fight with consecutive points at 13-11. Robinson gave USA match points with a slam at 14-11, then Murphy finished the set at 15-11.