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Volleyball - 12. July 2008.

U.S. Women Unable to Rally Past Italy

The U.S. Women’s National Indoor Volleyball Team, ranked fourth in the world, dropped a 25-17, 26-28, 25-19, 25-19 match to second-ranked Italy Saturday afternoon on day four of the round robin FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round at the Yokohama Arena in Yokohama, Japan.

volleyball Lindsey Berg (4) sets Foluke Akinradewo (19) versus Italy on July 12 during FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round action in Japan

Italy bolted to an 8-3 lead in the first set and never allowed the U.S. back into the hunt with a 25-17 victory. The second set looked much the same as Italy grabbed a 9-3 lead, but Team USA came back to win 28-26 sparked by the emergence of Danielle Scott-Arruda (Baton Rouge, La.) off the bench to score five points. The U.S. came back from an 8-4 deficit in the third set to tie the set at 10-all, but Italy used nine American errors in the set and a 7-2 run to close out the frame for a 25-19 victory. Italy rallied from a 17-14 deficit in the fourth set by scoring 11 of the final 13 points for a 25-19 victory.

“I think Italy played a great game, especially in defense and blocking,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach ‘Jenny’ Lang Ping. “I think we have so many unforced errors and that is a big area we need to improve, but also we are happy to give this opportunity to young players. I think the young players played well, especially No. 19 Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.). I think she has a lot of potential. We need to be patient and keep her working. She is still a student, with one year to graduate from Stanford. She is a very smart student and has not had enough training with the national team.”

In other World Grand Prix matches played later today, Brazil (4-0) defeated Cuba (3-1) 25-14, 25-15, 25-20 in the battle of undefeated teams. Japan (1-2) hosts China (0-3) at 6 p.m. Japan Time. Brazil is in first place all by itself, followed by second-place Cuba. Italy (2-2) moves into third place. Japan (1-2) can move into a tie for third and ahead of the USA (1-3) with a victory tonight, while China (0-3) is currently in last place.

The World Grand Prix Final Round is a round-robin format with each team playing five matches in five days. Team concludes the Final Round on July 13 against Olympic Games host China at 11:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. MT on July 12). Team USA dropped its Final Round opener on July 9 to Brazil 25-19, 25-19, 25-23, followed by a 26-28, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 15-11 victory over Japan on July 10. The U.S. led Cuba 2-0 in sets on July 11 before losing in five sets 22-25, 17-25, 25-18, 25-21, 15-11.

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