Sunday, July 5, 2015

National Team | Vansant stars as USA Volleyball now 3-0 in World Grand Prix

Washington alum explodes for 18 kills in 3 sets as USA defeats Belgium
  • USA def. Belgium 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-18)

USA outside hitter Krista Vansant (24) redirects a block during a 3-0 win over Belgium

Krista Vansant made the most of her first World Grand Prix start, erupting for 18 kills in just three sets as USA defeated Belgium 3-0 (25-19, 25-20, 25-18) in Ankara, Turkey. The former Washington All-American added 2 blocks and 2 aces, and earned a 62% rating passing Belgium’s serves. She 42% for the match.

The win follows a 3-1 win against host Turkey on the Fourth of July. Former UCLA opposite Karsta Lowe tallied 22 kills in that match. Turkey is ranked 11th in the world; USA is currently ranked #1. USA also defeated #5 Italy on Friday, as team captain Courtney Thompson, another former Washington star, rallied the Americans from an 0-1 deficit.

"This was a good week for us,” Thompson said in a televised interview after the Belgium match. “We got better during the week. It is always nice to win three games in a row. We got a lot of work to do. We are excited about turning back tomorrow and improving."

USA team captain Courtney Thompson is interviewed in Ankara, Turkey after a 3-0 win against Belgium

#1-ranked USA is one of three undefeated teams after the tournament’s first round. #2 Brazil and #3 China are also 3-0.

USA now heads for round two in Kalingrad, where USA will face the host Russians (ranked 7th in the world), Turkey (again) and #8 Serbia. Head coach Karch Kiraly has the option of switching his lineup for each of the three preliminary rounds, choosing 14 players from an eligible pool of 25.

12 teams compete in the 2015 World Grand Prix, in venues around the world. 6 will advance to the Finals, July 22-26 in Omaha, the first time in 23 years the USA has ever hosted the final round. As host, USA is guaranteed one of the 6 final slots.

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