Long Beach, CA- The top-ranked USA volleyball team hosted the second weekend of preliminary rounds in the FIVB World Grand Prix where they swept competition before heading into the final weekend of preliminary stages.
It has been 20 years since the U.S. Women’s National team had the privilege of hosting preliminary rounds of the FIVB World Grand Prix and they didn’t disappoint. The Americans came out facing No. 11 Germany for the second time in two weekends were able to pull out a victory defeating the Germans 25-17, 24-26,25-10,25-23.
In the win, Christa Dietzen added eight points with three kills, three blocks and two aces.
With a home crowd chanting and cheering U-S-A, the women stepped back out on the court the next night to face No. 5 Japan. In front of a home crowd of nearly 5,000 the Pyramid was rocking as fans stepped in covered in red-white-and-blue in support of their country. The stage was set and the fans were on the edge of their seats as Team USA and Japan stepped onto the court.
Once again the U.S. women took the energy from the crowd and compelled it into a victory, defeating Japan in three straight sets; 25-16,25-23,25-21.
According to teamusa.org, “The USA had balanced scoring with Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Florida) scoring a team-best 14 points with 12 kills on 17 attacks, one ace and one block. Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) added 13 points on 11 kills via 23 swings and two blocks. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) tallied 11 points with 10 kills on 21 attacks and a block. Rachael Adams (Cincinnati, Ohio) contributed 10 points on six kills via 14 swings, two blocks and two aces.”
The USA has now won 21 of its 27 World Grand Prix matches with Japan.
Heading into the final night of competition at the Pyramid, team USA seemed to be hitting their groove. Showing no signs of fatigue, but only playing better with one another as matches went on. They faced off against No. 10 Turkey and swept them in three straight, winning 25-21,25-20,25-16. After several challenged calls and Turkey attempting to slow the pace of the game they just couldn’t stop the dominating offense team USA brings to the table. Turkey put up a fight and tried to slow the Americans down, but they had already run away with it and were able to pull out a victory and improve to 5-1 in the FIVB World Grand Prix. They also moved into third place overall with 15 points.
“I think each week we build on the previous week,” Dietzen said. “We talked about not looking at it as this big daunting task with so many matches in the Grand Prix, or so matches before leaving for Rio. It is taking one match at a time. One practice at a time. We go back, look at video from these three matches, we learn from learn. We will work on those areas of weakness this week and take them into matches against Germany, Netherlands and China. We are really excited to have the opportunity to compete as a team against Netherlands and China, as will see them in Rio.”
Team USA is now in China where they are facing off in the final weekend of preliminary play. Follow along as we make the #RoadtoRio.
Written by Logan Smoak