Tuesday, 28 May 2024

U.S. Women’s National Team Sweeps Azerbaijan in FIVB World Championship Opener

The U.S. Women’s National Team, ranked second in the world, started their campaign to defend their FIVB World Championship title with a decisive victory over Azerbaijan. The match took place in Kobe, Japan, where the American team emerged victorious in straight sets, with scores of 29-27, 25-21, and 25-21.

Quick Sets:

  • Key Stat: U.S. displayed a balanced offense with four players scoring in double figures.
  • Key Moment: The U.S. made a comeback from a 24-21 deficit in the first set, securing the win and setting the tone for a 3-0 sweep.
  • Records: USA (1-0), Azerbaijan (0-1)
  • World Rankings: USA No. 2, Azerbaijan No. 24
  • 2018 Season Record: 27-4
  • Up Next: USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago (0-1), 12:40 a.m. ET on Sunday
  • Watch: Catch all the action on FloVolleyball.tv, the exclusive streaming partner for the United States.

Azerbaijan took an early lead in the opening set, scoring four unanswered points to go up 19-15. They even reached set point with a 24-21 advantage. However, the American team showcased their resilience, tying the set and saving a total of five set points before sealing the victory with a score of 29-27. In the second set, the U.S. took an 8-3 lead but faced a strong fight back from Azerbaijan, eventually winning 25-21. The Americans continued their dominance in the third set, recovering from a 10-7 deficit with a 4-0 run to secure an 11-10 lead. They closed out the set with a 25-21 victory, thus securing a 3-0 sweep.

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The offensive duo of Kim Hill (Portland, Oregon) and Jordan Larson (Hooper, Nebraska) led the way for the U.S. team. Hill contributed 11 kills on 29 attacks and a block, leading the team with 12 points. Larson also made an impact with 10 kills on 27 attacks and a block for 11 points. Kelly Murphy (Wilmington, Illinois), playing as the opposite, added 11 points with eight kills, two aces, and a block. Middle blocker Foluke Akinradewo (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) recorded 10 points with eight kills, one block, and one ace.

Larson expressed pride in the team’s ability to handle adversity and viewed the strong start as a positive sign for the rest of the tournament. Akinradewo acknowledged the challenge posed by Azerbaijan, describing them as a tall, aggressive team. She also mentioned that it took some time for the U.S. team to settle down in the match.

Other contributors to the American victory included Karsta Lowe (Rancho Santa Fe, California) with seven points, Carli Lloyd (Bonsall, California) with four points, Tori Dixon (Burnsville, Minnesota) with four points, Micha Hancock (Edmond, Oklahoma) with two points, and Sarah Wilhite Parsons (Eden Prairie, Minnesota) with two aces. Libero Kelsey Robinson (Manhattan Beach, California) played a crucial role defensively with 12 digs and a 67% positive reception rate on 15 chances. Lloyd showcased her versatility by providing 80 sets, resulting in a 44% kill efficiency for the American team.

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The U.S. team demonstrated their strong defensive skills, outblocking Azerbaijan 8-5. They also held a significant advantage in kills, with a score of 50-39, and in digs, leading 36-25. Azerbaijan’s Polina Rahimova amassed the highest individual score in the match with 23 points, while Jana Kulan contributed 13 points in the effort.

This victory against Azerbaijan marks the U.S. team’s first win against them, as Azerbaijan had previously won all three encounters, including the 2006 World Championship match.

FAQs

Q: What is the next match for Team USA?

A: Team USA’s second match will be against Trinidad & Tobago. Although they have limited knowledge about their opponents, it is important for the team to focus on their own performance and strive for improvement with each match.

Q: How can I watch the FIVB World Championship matches in the United States?

A: All FIVB World Championship matches, including the ones featuring Team USA, can be streamed exclusively on FloVolleyball.tv. Visit the website to purchase a subscription and enjoy the live action.

Conclusion

The U.S. Women’s National Team displayed their strength and determination in their opening match of the FIVB World Championship. With a convincing 3-0 sweep against Azerbaijan, they proved their status as one of the top teams in the world. The team’s balanced offense, solid defense, and resilient mindset were key factors in their success. As they prepare for future matches, the focus remains on continuous improvement and maintaining their winning momentum throughout the tournament.

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