Hooker's 30 points lead USA Volleyball past Italy at FIVB Grand Prix
Aug. 25, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Texas ex Destinee Hooker scored an international personal-best 30 points and the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team rallied to defeat Italy 25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 25-22, 15-10 Thursday morning on the second day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round being held in Macau.
The U.S., ranked second in the FIVB world ranking and defending FIVB World Grand Prix champions in the premier annual international volleyball tournament, improves to 2-0 in Pool B of the Final Round with five group points. The Americans conclude Pool B against top-ranked Brazil (2-0, 6 points) on Aug. 26 at 1:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. Pacific Time on Aug. 25). Brazil, which finished the FIVB World Grand Prix Preliminary Round with a 9-0 record and maximum 27 points, defeated Japan 25-17, 25-22, 25-21 later Thursday to secure both its and the United States' spots into the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round semifinals to be played Aug. 27 regardless of Friday’s head-to-head match.
To watch the USA versus Italy Final Round match, tune into Universal Sports’ video stream by clicking here.
Team USA jumped to a 7-2 lead in the opening set and built a 19-10 advantage before holding onto a 25-19 victory. Italy used a 6-2 scoring run to take a 9-6 advantage in the second set and went on to win 25-21 to even the match. Despite falling behind 3-0 to start the third set, Italy rallied to take a 10-8 lead and battled to a 25-22 victory. The U.S. scored seven of the last 11 points of the fourth set to capture a 25-22 victory and force a fifth set. Team USA bolted to a 7-3 lead in the tiebreaker and paced itself to a 15-10 victory using four blocks and four Italian errors.
“Italy is a strong team, and after the match yesterday there’s no question that they will come out strong today,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “I am proud of my team. We had some moments that we weren’t at our best, yet our team still battled and was able to find the way to win. So we are very happy with the victory.”
Hooker scored all 30 of her points on kills via 65 attempts with only five errors, breaking her previous international high point total of 28 points secured against Japan in the 2010 FIVB World Championship bronze-medal match. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) charted seven kills, four blocks and an ace for 12 points. Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) totaled eight points with seven kills and a block. Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) scored five kills and two aces for seven points. Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) came off the bench to spark the Americans with three kills and two blocks, including three points in the tie-breaking set. Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) added four kills on nine attacks and a block off the bench, while Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) chipped in two kills, two blocks and an ace. Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) notched a block and ace for two points, while Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) rounded out the scoring with a kill.
Berg set the U.S. to a 34.1 kill percent and .220 hitting efficiency (59-21-173) with 42 assists. Italy converted a slightly higher 36.7 kill percent, but committed 29 attack errors to limit itself to a .199 hitting efficiency.
Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) tallied a team-high 15 excellent receptions on 33 attempts without an error to go with a team-high nine digs. Tom added six excellent receptions on 18 attempts.
“Italy played really well today, they were really consistent,” Tamas said. “We worked so hard at the beginning of the match and had to focus on making good play after good play. It was a good win for us, a close and tough battle the whole time. I am really happy the way it went, and we are really looking forward to tomorrow (match versus Brazil).”
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. Tamas started the final three sets in place of Bown, while Hodge entered as a sub in the third set and started the final two sets in place of Larson. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) and Metcalf were utilized as part of a double-switch in the second set.
The U.S. held advantages of 5-0 in aces and 11-9 in blocks to offset Italy’s 64-59 margin in kills. The Americans gave the Italians 28 points in the match while receiving 33 points. As a team, the U.S. tallied 31 excellent service receptions on 95 attempts for a 32.6 percent, while Italy managed a 26.0 reception efficiency with 31 excellent receptions on 96 attempts and six errors. Italy edged the U.S. in digs at 13-11. All told, the Americans committed 32 errors (21 hitting errors, 11 service errors and 0 reception errors) to the Italians’ 41 errors (29 hitting errors, seven service errors and five reception errors).
“I agree with my captain that we played better than yesterday,” Italy Head Coach Massimo Barbolini said. “Actually it is not possible to play worse than yesterday. They played a good game. Congratulations to USA, it has been a really good match. We had our chances in the fourth set, but USA defended in a wonderful way and we didn’t have the passion for the ball. So USA deserved to win.”
Simona Gioli led Italy with 28 points via 26 kills and two blocks. Sara Anzanello added 13 points, followed by Martina Guiggi’s 12 points.
In Pool A of the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round played later today, Russia (3 points, 1-0) challenges Serbia (2 points, 1-0) in a battle of teams that won on the first day followed by Thailand (0 points, 0-1) competing against China (1 point, 0-1).
For more information on the U.S. Women's National Team in the FIVB World Grand Prix, visit the team's event page at usavolleyball.org/events/7901.
The U.S. took a 5-2 lead in the opening set after three Italian errors around a Bown kill leading into an Italy timeout. Out of the break, Hooker served an ace for a fourth straight U.S. point at 7-2. Italy scored back-to-back points to close to 8-5. However, Team USA got the two points back with a Italian service and attack error at 10-5, which was followed by a Bown ace at 11-5. Italian tallied consecutive points to close to 12-8. Hooker and Larson tacked on kills and Italy hit wide to push the U.S. in front 16-9 at the second technical timeout. Team USA extended the lead to 19-10 with a Larson kill and block around an Italy error. Italy narrowed the deficit to 21-16 with a 6-2 scoring run. Italy kept charging back and moved to 22-18. Team USA scored the final two points of the set with a Hooker kill and Italy error at 25-19. Hooker totaled six points in the opening set, while Larson added four points. Italy totaled 10 errors in the set.
Italy scored four of the first five points to open the second set. Akinradewo served an ace after a Hooker kill to cut the deficit to 4-3. Hooker connected for consecutive back-row kills to tie the set at 5-all, then Italy hit long to put the U.S. in front 6-5. Italy reversed the advantage to 8-6 with three straight points going into the first technical timeout. Italy scored a fourth straight point on a kill out of the break for a 9-6 lead. Italy increased its margin to four at 11-7 and inched the advantage to 14-9 leading into a Team USA timeout. The Americans cut into the gap with a Hooker kill, Larson block and Akinradewo ace at 15-13. Italy upped the lead to 18-14 with back-to-back points. Team USA cut the gap in half with a Larson kill and Bown block at 18-16, but Italy re-built the advantage to 21-17 with back-to-back points going into an American timeout. Out of the break, Italy added another point to the run at 22-17. Hooker and Larson pounded consecutive kills to close the Americans to 23-20. Italy closed out the set at 25-21 to even the match. Hooker contributed eight points in the second set to lead the Americans.
The U.S. scored the first three points of the third set with two Hooker kills around an Italy error. The lead decreased to 4-3 with consecutive Italy points, and the score became knotted at 5-all. Italy went into the first technical timeout with an 8-7 advantage on a U.S. attack error, then extended to a two-point cushion t 10-8. Hooker connected for consecutive kills to tie the set at 10-all. Italy regained a two-point lead at 12-10 with back-to-back points. Team USA tied the set at 13-all with a Hooker kill and Italy attack error. The teams traded points until consecutive Italy points at 19-17. Italy extended the lead to 22-19 forcing a United States timeout. Italy finished out the set at 25-22. Hooker charted six points in the third set as the Americans committed eight errors.
Italy scored the first two points of the fourth set, but the U.S. bounced back to tie the set at 5-all with a Hooker kill after a Italy service error. The Americans gained the lead at 7-6 with a Hooker kill and Italy attack error, then went into the first technical timeout up 8-6 on a second straight Italy attack error. Italy notched the first two points out of the break to tie the score at 8-all. Team USA regained the two-point cushion at 10-8 with a Tom kill and Akinradewo block, only to have Italy scored the next two points to tie the score at 10-all. Tom served an ace after an Italy service error to yield a 12-10 lead to the U.S. The Americans stretched the lead to 14-11 with an Akinradewo block and Hooker kill leading to an Italy timeout. Hooker scored back-to-back kills to increase the American lead to 17-13. Italy scored back-to-back points to cut the gap in half at 17-15, then moved to within one at 18-17 a USA timeout. Out of the break, Italy scored a third straight point to tie the set at 18-all. However, Hooker slammed a kill and Berg served an ace to regain the USA a 20-18 lead. Hooker hammered a kill, her international-tying best 28th point, and Italy hit long to yield a 22-19 American lead. Italy scored back-to-back points to close to one at 22-21. The U.S. reached set point with a Hodge kill and Italy attack error at 24-21. Team USA ended the set at 25-22 with a Italy attack error. Hooker tallied eight points in the fourth set as the Americans benefited from nine Italy errors.
Team USA opened the fifth set strong with an Akinradewo kill and Tom ace for a 2-0 lead. Hodge served an ace after she blocked an Italian shot to produce a 6-3 American lead. Out of an Italy timeout, Tom hammered off the block to extend the lead to 7-3. Berg and Akinradewo picked up consecutive blocks to double-up Italy at 10-5. Italy knocked off two points on the deficit at 10-7. Team USA went back up to 12-7 with a Hooker kill and Italy error, only to have Italy answer with consecutive points at 12-9. The U.S. closed out the set 15-10 with Hooker’s 30th kill of the set and a Hodge block. Hodge scored three points in the final set to lead the Americans, who turned in four blocks in the tiebreaker and benefited from four Italian errors.