Kathryn Plummer had 18 kills and Kelsey Robinson 13 as the USA overpowered China on Saturday in Quezon City, Philippines, to improve to 6-1 in Volleyball Nations League.
Plummer had two aces and six digs. Robinson had six digs and ace. Haleigh Washington had six kills, three blocks and two aces, and Danielle Cuttino had seven kills, six digs and a block. Hannah Tapp had four kills, two blocks and three digs, and setter Micha Hancock had four kills, three aces, two digs and two blocks. Justine Wong-Orantes had 11 digs.
Yingying Li led China with 12 kills and a block and Xiangyu Gong had nine kills and tw blocks.
The Americans, alone in second place, finish the second round on Sunday when they play Thailand. They play the third leg in Sofia, Bulgaria. China (5-2) wraps up against Japan, which is atop the standings at 7-0. Japan was off Saturday.
After the match, Olympian Courtney Thompson, who was doing the analysis for the match on VolleballWorld.tv, interviewed Plummer. Thompson has an interview style all her own. It was good enough to transcribe in its entirety. And note that middle Anna Stevenson, who is new to the USA roster and was an All-American this past season for Louisville, is from Laurens, South Carolina:
Thompson: Man, Plummer, what an incredible match. You could feel the energy in this gym. What did it feel like to be out there tonight?
Plummer: It’s always going to be a great match against China and USA. The fans were great and brought a lot of energy. It was just really great to have a really good team win. Everyone was really connected and it was a fun one, for sure.”
Thompson: So fun to watch. You hit the crap out of the ball. It’s awesome. You made some good adjustments. What was your focus tonight heading into the match?
Plummer: I think just being smart on attacking. The first set I had a couple of errors I didn’t want. They have a huge block. So just being smart, using edges … during the match we did a good job of adjusting.
Thompson: For sure. You guys are headed into week three after tomorrow and then the finals in Turkey. What do you look for the team to establish as you head into the last two weeks?
Plummer: Every week we have a different group, so I think we’re just trying to get connections for the rest of the summer. And its starting to feel like us again and I’m just excited to keep playing, experimenting and getting better every day.
Thompson: That’s awesome. Last question, who’s made you laugh the most on the trip so far?
Plummer: That’s a tough one. But I think Anna Stevenson. She’s a young one and she has that southern accent. She just has no filter and is really funny. She’s new so she’s just in awe of everything, so it’s really fun to go through it with her. She’s just really funny.”
USA men’s roster
The USA men, who started VNL with victories over Slovenia, Netherlands, Japan and Brazil in Brasilia, Brazil, head now to Bulgaria for the second round. They play Serbia on Wednesday, followed by matches against Iran, Bulgaria and Poland.
Five players joined the team, including four Olympians in outsides TJ DeFalco and Garrett Muagututia, libero Erik Shoji and middle Mitch Stahl. Opposite Kyle Russell will make his VNL debut.
Nine of the 14 players who went to Brazil return, including setters Josh Tuaniga and James Shaw, offensive leader and opposite Kyle Ensing, libero Kyle Dagostino, middles David Smith Jeff Jendryk and Tyler Mitchem, and outsides Aaron Russell and Thomas Jaeschke.
The new roster has three players each from Long Beach State and Stanford, two each from Loyola, UCLA and UC Irvine