Hooker and USA Volleyball fall to Brazil, advance to Grand Prix semis
Aug. 26, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team lost to top-ranked Brazil 22-25, 26-24, 25-21, 25-20 Friday afternoon to conclude the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round pool play at Macau, China. Former Longhorn Destinee Hooker connected for a team-high 16 points in the loss.
The U.S., ranked second in the FIVB world ranking and defending FIVB World Grand Prix champions in the premier annual international volleyball tournament, ends Final Round pool play with a 2-1 record and 10-2 mark overall in the tournament. Brazil captured the Pool B title with a 3-0 record and has not lost in 12 FIVB World Grand Prix matches this year.
Both the Americans and Brazilians were assured spots into the semifinals prior to the match, which decided the group winner and seeding into the semifinal round. Brazil will face the second place team from Pool A, while the U.S. will challenge the top finisher out of Pool A. Serbia (2-0, 5 points), the only undefeated team in Pool A, plays Thailand (1-1, 3 points) later today, followed by Russia (1-1, 3 points) taking on host China (0-2, 1 point). Prior to the USA-Brazil match, Japan (3 points, 1-2 record) swept Italy (1 point, 0-3 record) in a Pool B match.
To watch the USA versus Brazil Final Round match, tune into Universal Sports’ video stream by clicking here.
The U.S. opened the first set with a dominating 6-0 advantage and the lead reached double-digits at 16-6 before the Americans reached the victory at 25-22 after weathering a 10-3 Brazil scoring run. In the second set, Brazil started with a 5-1 lead and built a 22-14 advantage, only to have the Americans go on a 9-1 scoring run to tie the set at 23-all. Brazil closed out the second set 26-24 to even the match. The third set remained close until the late stages before Brazil used a 5-2 run to close the set with a 25-21 victory. Brazil gained a five-point advantage at 19-14 in the fourth set after a 4-1 run and went on to win 25-20.
Logan Tom (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Hooker each scored team-high 16 points in the loss. Tom notched 12 kills, three aces and a block. Hooker charted 14 kills and two aces. Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.) contributed seven kills, four blocks and an ace for 12 points, which was matched by Jordan Larson (Hooper, Neb.) with 10 kills and two aces. Heather Bown (Yorba Linda, Calif.) tallied five kills and three blocks, while Megan Hodge (Durham, N.C.) rounded out the scoring with a kill.
“I’m happy with the way we played today though not with the result,” U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon (Christchurch, New Zealand) said. “I think for both teams the match wasn’t for anything except for the moment of the competition, but I think it’s important for the sport, especially for my team, that we came out and played hard. We wanted to win and did everything we could, but we couldn’t turn a couple of plays at the right time. And I think the Brazil team played with the same energy and emotion. I’m very proud of our effort. We made some improvements today that will help us in the upcoming matches, and I hope the two teams can play in the final.”
Lindsey Berg (Honolulu) was credited with 11 assists on 114 set attempts as the Americans converted 29.3 percent of their attacks as part of a .192 hitting efficiency (49-17-167). Brazil converted 38.3 percent of its attacks with a .281 hitting efficiency (64-17-167).
Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) charted 28 excellent receptions on 48 attempts, while Tom produced a team-high eight digs to go with seven excellent receptions on 14 attempts. Larson added 13 excellent receptions on 27 attempts.
“I think we both played a good match, both sides put up a good fight,” U.S. Women’s National Team captain Jennifer Tamas (Milpitas, Calif.) said. “It’s tough to lose to any team but we're going to be ready for a battle in tomorrow’s semi-final, whoever the opponent will be.”
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. Alisha Glass (Leland, Mich.) was used as part of a double switch in all four sets, the first three set along with Nancy Metcalf (Hull, Iowa) and the fourth set with Hodge.
The U.S. held advantages of 8-3 in aces and 8-7 in blocks. However, Brazil scored 64-49 advantage in kills and added a 39-16 margin in digs. Team USA produced a 53.9 excellent reception percent on 89 serves as part of a 50.6 reception efficiency. Brazil handled 54 excellent receptions as part of a 56.0 reception efficiency.
Brazil’s Natalie Pereira paced the pool champions with 17 kills, three blocks and an ace for 21 points. Thaisa Menezes , Sheilla Castro and Fernanda Rodrigues all scored 14 points in the victory.
“We saw a very good level of volleyball this afternoon,” Brazil Head Coach Jose Roberto Guimaraes said. “I'm very happy with the result, and I'm even happier that both teams played well. Natalia Pereira returned to the team, which is very important to us in the future matches. It’s always difficult to play against USA, they play consistent volleyball.”