Tuesday, September 23, 2014

National Team | Courtney Thompson leads Team USA to World Championships opening victory

Washington Hall of Fame setter serves nine straight points in turning point
  • USA def. Mexico 3-1 (19-25, 25-11, 25-20, 25-14)
  • USA vs. Kazakhstan | Wed, Sept. 24 | 1:30AM (Pacific) | UniversalSports.com
  • USA vs. Netherlands | Thu, Sept. 25 | 11AM (Pacific) | UniversalSports.com

Courtney Thompson (3), Tori Dixon (21) and Kelsey Robinson (19) put up a triple block
in USA's 3-1 opening round victory over Mexico in the FIVB World Championships in Italy
-photo courtesy FIVB

It was late in Verona, Italy. After a long day of international volleyball, most of the crowd had headed home before USA and Mexico took the court for their FIVB World Championships opening round match. The arena would have been eerily quiet except for one sound.


If you’ve followed the career of Courtney Thompson—former Washington All-American and 2012 Olympian—you’d immediately recognize that cry. Thompson’s unmistakable whoop of joy at the end of each USA point sounded again and again as she led the USA to a 3-1 victory.

Thompson, playing almost every point of the four sets, distributed the ball far and wide: 13 kills for Kim Hill, 11 for Tori Dixon, 9 each for Nicole Fawcett and Kelsey Robinson, and 7 for Rachael Adams. By comparison, two Mexican hitters—Andrea Rangel (16 kills) and Claudia Rios (13 kills)—accounted for 29 of Mexico’s 39 kills.

USA’s most obvious weakness was its passing, repeatedly forcing Thompson to set from the net. But after Mexico’s first-set win, Thompson took over at the service line, serving set two’s final nine points in a row. In the fourth set, Thompson set—and blocked—from the front row during USA’s decisive 12-2 run.

Team USA Courtney Thompson (3) celebrates with fans after the opening round match in Verona, Italy
-photo courtesy FIVB

In other Pool C matches, Netherlands defeated Kazakhstan 3-0 and Russia beat Thailand 3-0.

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