Sunday, July 14, 2013

National Team | Washington volleyball alums shine in USA’s third win against Japan

Hagglund, Miyashiro and Thompson help lead USA to 8-0 record in the 2013 quad
  • #1 USA 3, # 3 Japan 2 (25-15, 25-19, 21-25, 23-25, 15-10)

Tama Miyashiro (5) and Jenna Hagglund (foreground)
celebrate a point against Japan
-photo by Matt Brown, USA Volleyball
The red, white and blue had purple and gold roots last night as three former Washington volleyball stars helped Team USA win its third consecutive USA Volleyball Cup match against Japan.

Jenna Hagglund started all five sets at setter, dishing 47 assists. Tama Miyashiro played all but one rotation at libero, recording 11 digs and an impressive 74% “positive reception” rating. Courtney Thompson was Team USA captain, and once again entered each set as part of a double-substitution, totaling 11 assists.

Nicole Fawcett continued her stellar play, accounting for 18 kills and just 2 errors, hitting a monstrous .550. In the middle, Lauren Paolini had 12 kills on no errors, for a .570 total.

Overall, Hagglund and Thompson led their team to a .410 team hitting percentage, both showing a flair for distributing sets across the front line. Japan managed just 4 blocks (to 15 for USA), an indication of how its blockers had a tough time guessing the setters’ intended targets.

Fans of Washington volleyball may have noticed that Miyashiro, Hagglund and Thompson all excelled at defense.

This was the third USA win in three USA Volleyball Cup matches against Japan, all played in Southern California. The contests were sellouts in the two smallest venues, San Clemente’s JSerra High School (last night) and UC San Diego (Wednesday.) It drew 3,500 in the Long Beach Walter Pyramid Friday night.

After sweeping the Pan Am Cup in Peru last month, the sweep against Japan—rated third in the world—brings #1-ranked USA’s 2013 record to 5-0.

Fans of USA Volleyball struggled once again with the live stream broadcast. At our house, the broadcast died a few points into the third set. Apparently the signal was eventually reestablished, but we never managed to reconnect. The match video is now posted on YouTube, in two parts (before and after the signal crashed.)



  • Once again, the web video stream used just one camera and one announcer. The camera angle—behind the endline—is the view coaches prefer, since it allows them to see the spacing of hitters and blockers. That said, volleyball is a three-dimensional game, and USA Volleyball needs to find the budget for more cameras and the necessary switchers and director. Volleyball is also a sport best enjoyed with two commentators, especially to avoid any further temptation to read tweets instead of offering analysis. We couldn’t help but notice ESPN’s broadcast last night of a contest between the national teams from USA and Japan … in softball.
  • Why wasn’t Olympian Courtney Thompson a starter last night? Matches early in each quad—the four-year period leading up to each Olympics—are often used to give newer National Team players a chance to show their skills. Thompson (and Miyashiro and Hagglund) will likely be in the mix when next month’s World Grand Prix begins. The Grand Prix is a grueling four-week tournament, played around the globe, with a big championship check awaiting the team and players who reach the top of the podium. Coach Karch Kiraly, by the way, named Thompson USA captain for last night’s match.

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