Hooker, Team USA top Italy to earn FIVB World Grand Prix final round spot
Aug. 20, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team defeated Italy 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 with an 8-0 ace and 12-4 block advantages on Saturday evening in Pool J of the FIVB World Grand Prix in Hong Kong. Former Longhorn Destinee Hooker notched a match-high 18 points all on kills via 34 attacks with only one error for a .500 hitting efficiency.
The U.S., ranked second in the FIVB world ranking and defending FIVB World Grand Prix champions in the premier annual international volleyball tournament, is now 7-1 overall with 20 points with one match remaining in the preliminary round. The Americans are currently in third place in the 16-team tournament. Based on World Grand Prix results earlier today, the U.S. secured a spot into the eight-team FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round set for Aug. 24-28 in Macau. Italy is now 6-2 in the preliminary round with 16 points.
Team USA concludes the FIVB World Grand Prix preliminary round against Peru on Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. (8 p.m. Pacific Time on Aug. 20) at the Hong Kong Coliseum. Earlier today, Germany defeated Peru 25-14, 20-25, 25-19, 25-18 in Pool J in Hong Kong. To watch Sunday’s U.S. Women versus Peru match, tune into Universal Sports’ live video stream by clicking here.
The U.S. rallied from a 22-18 deficit in the opening set to win 25-23 with four blocks and an ace in a 7-1 scoring run. Team USA broke a 13-all tie in the second set by scoring eight of the next 10 points establishing a 21-15 advantage en route to a 25-19 victory. The Americans jumped to an 11-6 lead in the third set with five unanswered points and rolled to the 25-18 victory.
“I am happy with our team performance today,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “First reason is that Italy is a very strong team, but we can still play at a high level. It is good for us to improve. Secondly, our team was very connected and we worked together well during the game. We still have 12 hours to get some rest before playing against Peru tomorrow.”
Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) chipped in 14 points with 11 kills on 17 errorless attacks for a .647 hitting efficiency, two blocks and an ace. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) contributed eight kills, three aces and two blocks for 13 points. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) charted four kills, four aces and two blocks for 10 points. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) tallied four kills and two blocks for six points. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) collected three blocks in the match, while Kim Glass (Lancaster, Pa.) rounded out the scoring with a kill off the bench.
Berg provided the Americans with 41 assists, which led to a 42.1 kill percent and .346 hitting efficiency with only eight attack errors. Meanwhile, Italy converted 38.3 percent of its kills, but managed just a .226 hitting efficiency with 18 attack errors.
Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) provided 10 digs and 10 excellent receptions on 12 attempts. Larson chipped in 19 excellent receptions on 29 attempts to go with seven digs. Tom handled 19 total service receptions with 12 excellent passes.
The U.S. held a 27-25 advantage in digs and produced a 71.7 percent on service receptions (43 excellent on 60 attempts). Italy was 49 of 68 on excellent service receptions for a 60.3 percent.
“It was a competitive match and both teams worked really hard,” U.S. Women’s National captain Jennifer Tamas said. “We did well in spiking and transition. We also did well at the service line in the second set.”
McCutcheon started Tom and Larson at outside hitter, Akinradewo and Bown at middle blocker, Hooker at opposite and Berg at setter. Davis was the libero for the match. Kim Glass came off the bench to serve in the first and third sets.
Simona Gioli led Italy with 14 points, while Antonella Del Core and Lucia Bosetti added 10 points each.
“Congratulations to the USA team,” Italy coach Barbolini Massimo said. “It is always difficult to play against USA. Our problems were the second line, spiking and blocking. We played better than yesterday and hope we can enter the final in Macau, as it is important to play other matches in high level.”