Friday, August 30, 2013

National Team | USA loses to China in World Grand Prix finals match

Tama Miyashiro has another stellar performance as USA loses third straight
  • #5 China def. #1 USA 3-0 (25-20, 25-23, 25-17)
  • next: #1 USA vs. #4 Italy | August 30 | 9:30PM (Pacific Time)

Performance improved. Results did not.

USA libero Tama Miyashiro (5) saves an out-of-bounds ball
during World Grand Prix finals action against China
-photo courtesy FIVB
Team USA dropped its third straight match in the 5-match World Grand Prix volleyball final round, falling 3-0 to undefeated China in Sapporo, Japan.

The match featured two volleyball legends. Chinese head coach Jenny Lang Ping is widely considered one of the best volleyball players ever, and was USA head coach for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. USA head coach Karch Kiraly won multiple Olympic golds as both an indoor and outdoor player, and has often been described as the best overall player in volleyball history.

Lang-Ping’s team jumped to an 8-1 advantage in the first set, only to see the Americans climb back. It was a pattern repeated throughout the match, as both teams found weaknesses during certain rotations in their opponent’s serve receive. In the third set, for example, it was USA that had an 8-2 lead before China eventually pulled even.

The difference, it seemed, was China’s ability to hit off-speed attacks and to drop tips in front of the 3-meter line. The Chinese outhit the Americans 41.59% to 32.71%. No USA player recorded double-digit kills; opposite Kelly Murphy (University of Florida) led the team with 9.

As she has throughout the month-long Grand Prix competition, libero Tama Miyashiro (Washington) turned in another great performance, sometimes digging two or more balls during extended rallies.

The loss ends any chance for USA to win what would have been a record-setting fourth consecutive World Grand Prix title. It will finish the Finals with a match against Italy tonight (Pacific time), and against Japan tomorrow.

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