COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.- Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) scored a match-high 16 points in leading the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team to a fifth straight victory with a 25-16, 25-16, 25-16 win over Thailand on Saturday afternoon in Hong Kong during Pool G of the 18th FIVB World Grand Prix.
Team USA, now 6-2 in this year's FIVB World Grand Prix and with 18 points, concludes the tournament preliminary round on Aug. 22 at 12:45 a.m. Pacific Time against China. Earlier this year, the Chinese defeated the Americans in the Montreux Volley Masters gold-medal match on June 13 in Switzerland. China is ranked second in the world by the FIVB, while the U.S. is ranked fourth.
The U.S. has already qualified for the FIVB World Grand Prix six-team Final Round to be held Aug. 25-29 at Ningbo, China, after clinching a spot on Aug. 20. Team USA has not played in the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round since 2008 when it finished fourth. The Americans have not reached the World Grand Prix podium since bronze medal finishes in 2003 and 2004. The U.S. won the World Grand Prix in 1995 and 2001, its only other podium finishes.
The U.S. opened the match with a 6-1 lead in the first set and went on to win 25-16, despite Thailand coming back to within two at 8-6. Team USA used an 8-3 spurt to break free from an 8-7 advantage and cruised to a 25-16 victory. The Americans scored nine of 10 points in a key point of the third set to take a 21-11 advantage and never looked back in a 25-16 victory.
"The Thailand team is a very good team," U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. "We respect them a lot as they played late last night and have to play early today. Our team played well. Our job is to win, but our goal is to get a good team together and continue to improve both individually and as a team. China is a strong team and we will prepare as usual. It's hard to say who will win tomorrow, but we expect it will be a good match."
Larson collected 13 kills on 22 swings with just one error, two blocks and an ace for her 16 points as the U.S. spread its scoring to nine different players in the match. Destinee Hooker (San Antonio, Texas) notched six kills on 15 attacks, two blocks and an ace for nine points. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) chipped in six kills on seven errorless attacks and a block for seven points. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) charted three kills on four attempts, two blocks and an ace for six points. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) scored four kills and a block, while Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) pocketed three kills on five attempts, one block and an ace for five points. Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) tacked on three kills and an ace for four points. Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) scored three kills on four attacks in the third set, while Ogonna Nnamani (Bloomington, Ill.) rounded out the scoring with two blocks.
For the complete press release, visit usavolleyball.org/news/article/38094.