USA women beat Italy on heels of wins over Germany, Korea to get to 9-0 in VNL

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USA women VNL 6/8/2021-Justine Wong-Orantes
Justine Wong Orantes stretches out against Korea/FIVB photo

The USA women improved to 9-0 in Volleyball Nations League play Tuesday with a four-set victory over Italy. It came on the heels of sweeps the previous two days over Germany and Korea.

Next up, three days rest and three more matches in three days in the bubble in Rimini, Italy, against Belgium, Japan, and Turkey.

Here are the 16-team VNL standings. Turkey is second to the USA at 8-1, followed by Brazil, the Netherlands, and Japan with seven wins each.

Sunday, the Americans beat Germany 25-23, 25-13, 25-13 behind 17 kills by Annie Drews, who had no errors in 26 attacks to hit .653.

Kelsey Robinson had 12 kills, two blocks and three aces. Setter Micha Hancock also had three aces, five digs, and a kill. 

Jordan Larson had eight kills and hit .352, and Chiaka Ogbogu had five kills with no errors in seven attacks and a block. Justine Wong-Orantes had 14 digs.

“We did a really good job staying patient through the match,” Wong-Orantes said. “Germany were getting a lot of defensive plays, so we did a good job just staying on our side of the net and just controlling what we could to control this match. 

“I think our serving-receiving game was crucial. Germany are known for tough serving, so as long as we could control that we were doing some good things out there.”

Click here for USA-Germany highlights.

On Monday coach Karch Kiraly announced the 12-player Olympic team and the USA also routed Korea  25-16, 25-12, 25-15.

Haleigh Washington had seven kills with no errors in 10 attacks, hit .700, and had five aces and three blocks.

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley — who led with 11 digs — also had seven kills, and so did Jordan Thompson. Jordan Larson added six. Chiaka Ogbogu, who had five kills, had four blocks.

Micha Hancock, who had three aces, and Wong-Orantes had nine digs each, and Thompson had seven.

“I think we played very well as a unit, we were really patient, we were still ironing out the kinks,” Washington said. “I think we did a really good job and also a great service pressure. I think that having aggressive serve and trying to keep them out of the system was key. They have a lot of good arms that are fast so as soon as we were getting over the net and seal the better it was.”

Click here for USA-Korea highlights.

Annie Drews hits against the Italian block/FIVB photo

Drews came up big Tuesday as the Americans then beat the home team 25-18, 25-21, 20-25, 25-16. It was only the second set the USA dropped in the tournament. Brazil took the Americans to four in the third match of the competition on May 27. 

Drews had 18 kills and hit .500 to go with two aces. Bartsch-Hackley had 16 kills and hit .424 to go with two blocks and an ace. Robinson had nine kills, an ace, and a block, Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson had seven and four blocks, and Washington had six kills, two aces, and a block.

Click here for USA-Italy highlights.

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The Olympic team may have been chosen, but all the USA players were in the shot after playing Italy/FIVB photo

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