Murrieta, CA- The USA Women’s National team hosted a Red-Blue intrasquad scrimmage at Murrieta Mesa High School this past Friday night where they played four sets, exhibition style with the blue team winning three sets to the red teams one.
Christa Dietzen along with teammates Alicia Glass, Jordan Larson-Burbach, Kim Hill, Kelly Murphy, Courtney Thompson, Nicole Fawcett and several others were staples in the blue lineup while other athletes like Karsta Lowe, Rachael Adams and Kelsey Robertson would switch teams between sets.
A crowd full of high school athletes and local volleyball players ignited the crowd as the gymnasium reached full capacity to see team USA compete. In set one it was a seesaw match with both teams fighting hard for points and trading licks with the blue team leading for most of the match. The blue would finish set one taking a 25-22 victory.
Set two started differently with the blue team getting off to a slow start and falling behind 8-3 to begin play. Murphy would win a big point for the blue team and shift the momentum of the team to inch to 9-10 before they would begin their run and take the lead for the first time in the set. Two points later, Dietzen went right at three blockers from the middle and put it away for an 11-10 lead in blue favor and force a timeout for the red side.
Adams, who played for blue in the first set switched to the red team and served the team all the way to an 18-13 lead before Lowe would answer with an outside attack for blue. Dietzen continued to work and shut down her opponent with a block in the middle to force yet another timeout as blue inched within two points as they headed into the final plays of set two. Blue would then come from behind and get the first set point, but red tied it 25 all. A roof from
Dietzen would earn a one-point advantage before she would step back to the serving line and finish set two up 27-25.
Heading into set three fans were encouraged to boo the team in order to prepare them for their road games coming up and all of the rowdy crowds they will encounter. Team USA fans did their best impressions of Brazil and cheered loud against the athletes they have grown to love in order to help them mentally prepare for their upcoming road schedule.
Set three would be a nail biter with both teams giving it their all and showing the fans how deep their bench goes as each team would compete and earn points on one another. A Larson-Burbach kill that would loosen the hardwood brought the people to their feet and from there no one could look away. The duo of Dietzen and Larson-Burbach built a wall on the outside blocking everything coming their and leading the team from the net. Eleven ties later and the red team fighting off nine set points they were able to pull away with it and win set three 36-34.
“It’s so amazing to see the teamwork and dedication they put into this along with getting to watch them so locally,” Katie Nugent, a 10th grader from Mission Vista High School said. Nugent along with her sister Annie Nugent and cousin Amy Mejicanos were so excited to be at the game and cheering on their favorite players as they are young volleyball players with the dreams of someday being where they are.
“I love being able to see the highest level of play possible especially being an Olympic year and knowing that I get to play this sport too is a really cool feeling,” K. Nugent said.
The match would then finish with a 27-25 victory in set four for the blue team and prove that every set both teams battled for the victory. Dietzen and her teammates would then sign autographs and take pictures with fans who lined up around the gym anxious to meet the women.
The USA Men’s and Women’s teams will both be playing in the third Red-Blue intrasquad scrimmage on May 27 at Santiago Canyon College in Orange County. The U.S. Women will play at 6 p.m. and will be followed by the U.S. Men’s team as both compete in an intrasquad showdown.
Written by Logan Smoak
Photos via Instagram