Friday, August 16, 2013

National Team | USA defeats Czech Republic in World Grand Prix Volleyball

Tama Miyashiro and Jenna Hagglund contribute; host Japan is next
  • #1 USA def. #24 Czech Republic 3-0 (25-20, 25-20, 25-23)
  • next: #1 USA @ #3 Japan | August 16, 2013 | 8:30PM (Pacific) | Sendai, Japan

The US National Team, playing in Japan just four days (and seven time zones) after its previous match in Serbia, earned a 3-0 World Grand Prix volleyball victory over Czech Republic in Sendai (25-20, 25-20, 25-23).

USA's Kim Hill attacks as Tama Miyashiro (5) watches Czech Republic blockers
-photo courtesy FIVB
USA out-hit Czech Republic 43%-31%. USA captain Kristin Hildebrand (Stanford) hit 64%, connecting for 14 kills on 22 attempts. Kim Hill (Pepperdine) and Kelly Murphy (Florida) each tallied 7 kills.

Two Washington alumni were in the lineup. Tama Miyashiro was the US libero, recording 5 digs and 4 “excellent” (an international term) serve receives. Jenna Hagglund came in as a substitute in all three matches, contributing 18 set attempts (assists are not an international statistic.)

USA is now 6-1 in World Grand Prix pool play, and has two tough matches ahead. Tonight at 8:30PM (Pacific), the Americans face host Japan, also 6-1. Last month, #1-ranked USA swept #3 Japan in three Southern California exhibitions.

Late Saturday night (11:30PM Pacific Time), USA’s final pool match will be against Bulgaria. Last night, the Bulgarians handed Japan its first World Grand Prix loss, a 3-0 barnburner (25-23, 25-23, 31-29). Last week, Bulgaria dealt Brazil its only Grand Prix defeat.

USA head coach Karch Kiraly during a World Grand Prix timeout against Czech Republic in Sendai, Japan
-photo courtesy FIVB

Six teams will qualify for next week’s Grand Prix championship round—host Japan plus five other teams. 8 teams are still in contention for those six spots: China (7-0), USA (6-1), Serbia (6-1), Italy (6-1), Brazil (6-1), Bulgaria (5-2), Turkey (5-2) and Russia (5-2).

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