USA women, 12-0, clinch VNL semifinal berth with victory over Turkey

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USA women VNL 6/15/2021-Foluke Akinradewo-Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson
Foluke Akinradewo goes up to hit Jordyn Poulter's set against Turkey/FIVB photo

The USA women not only beat Turkey on Monday to improve to 12-0 in the Volleyball Nations League, but they earned a spot in the June 23 semifinals.

And that’s with three more matches left on the schedule.

The tournament, being conducted in a bubble in Rimini, Italy, calls for batches of three matches at a time. In the last three days, the USA also beat Belgium, Japan, and Turkey, which stood in second place at 9-2 entering the mtach. 

Now, after three days off, the Americans play Poland on Friday, Russia on Saturday, and then China on Sunday before getting two days off before the semifinals.

Against Belgium, the two-time defending VNL champions were led by opposite Jordan Thompson, who had 18 kills while hitting .405 to go with three blocks and seven digs in the 25-9, 26-24, 25-20 victory.

The outsides had 22 kills as Kelsey Robinson had 12 kills and hit .333 and had a block and 16 digs. Jordan Larson had 10 kills and 13 digs. Middles Foluke Akinradewo and Chiaka Ogbogu had eight kills and a block and four kills and two blocks, respectively. 

Click here for the USA-Belgium highlights.

The USA grinded to a 25-23, 26-24, 25-20 victory over Japan as the outsides led again, this time with Michelle Bartsch-Hackley had 12 kills while hitting .444 to go with, 10 digs, a block and an ace, while Robinson had 11 kills, 15 digs, two aces, and a block. 

Annie Drews was the opposite and had nine kills and an ace. Haleigh Washington had seven kills and a block and the other middle, Ogbogu, had three kills and four blocks. Both setters, Jordyn Poulter and Micha Hancock, both played. Hancock had two blocks. Justine Wong-Orantes had 14 digs.

Click here for USA-Japan highlights.

In the USA’s 25-21, 23-25, 25-15, 25-14 victory over Turkey, the Jordans led the way. Thompson had 14 kills and five blocks, while Larson had 13 kills and 11 digs.

Bartsch-Hackley had 12 kills and six digs. Akinradewo had nine kills and five digs, and Washington eight kills, two blocks, a dig, and two aces. Poulter had 12 digs and Wong-Orantes 12.

“We obviously knew that Turkey are a great team and well-coached,” Larson said. “We knew that was going to be a battle. I think that this whole tournament we have really tried to focus on our side of the net and even when things go tougher during the match, we really stuck to that what’s our DNA, trying to come back to that and staying patient together. 

“I think Jordyn Poulter did a really nice job leading our offense, I think we started to settling down our passing. Turkey were serving pretty tough and for us it was running fast and starting our middles as well. So our great offense was key.” 

Click here for USA-Turkey highlights.

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The USA women after beating Turkey/FIVB photo

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