Thursday, August 29, 2013

National Team | Serbia dominates USA in World Grand Prix volleyball

Tama Miyashiro plays well at libero; Jenna Hagglund provides set 2 spark
  • #9 Serbia def. #1 USA 3-1 (25-23, 20-25, 25-18, 25-23)
  • next: #1 USA vs. #5 China | August 29 | 9:30PM (Pacific Time)

Team USA has lost just three matches this summer, but two have come in the past two days. Serbia avenged an earlier home court loss to the Americans by winning 3-1 in Sapporo, Japan in the second of five round-robin World Grand Prix Finals matches.
USA middle Christa Harmotto (#13) gets a finger, but not much else, on a World Grand Prix Finals attack by Serbia's Natasa Krsmanovic (#5)
-photo courtesy FIVB
Until last night’s match, USA had only lost to Brazil in 2013—once in Brazil, and once this week in Japan. But while the Americans were vastly improved from their 0.00% attack against the Brazilians (22 kills, 22 errors), their 51% efficiency (59 kills, 15 errors on 116 swings) could not overcome Serbia’s tenacity. The Serbians managed a few well-timed runs, then passed well enough to side-out for long stretches, keeping USA at bay and winning two of the four sets by 25-23 margins.

Thanks to consistent passing, USA setter Alicia Glass (Penn State) was able to send the vast majority of her successful attempts to her opposites and middles. Opposite Kelly Murphy (University of Florida) turned in the most impressive American performance, with 21 kills on just three errors in 38 attempts (55%). Middles Christa Harmotto (Penn State) and Lauren Gibbemeyer (Minnesota) each had 10 kills.

Libero Tama Miyashiro (Washington) had another strong performance at libero, recording 9 digs and 3 “excellent” serve receptions. Setter Jenna Hagglund (Washington) saw action in all four sets, spurring USA to its only set victory in the second frame with two aces and several smart attempts.

USA faces China next, at 9:30PM tonight (Pacific Time). China is undefeated in 2013 pool and round-robin play.

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