Jordan Thompson just keeps getting more impressive.
The 22-year-old opposite with a season of collegiate eligibility remaining at the University of Cincinnati became the first American player in the two-year history of the Volleyball Nations League to ever score 30 or more points in a VNL match when she blasted 33 points in the USA’s Final Round pool play defeat of Brazil on Friday.
“I would say that’s pretty average, [Jordan] can do better,” captain Jordan Larson joked after the match.
The veteran Jordan continued to praise the rookie in an interview for USA Volleyball. “[Thompson] is amazing,” Larson said. “I think a lot people don’t know she is still in college — she still has one more year left. We have been blessed to have her and to get to know her. She is a great human, and obviously a great volleyball player.”
Thompson’s 30 kills, two blocks, and one ace led the USA to a 3-1 (25-18, 25-19, 20-25, 25-21) victory over Brazil. She earned the start alongside Larson and Mikaela Foecke on the outside, Tori Dixon and Dana Rettke in the middle, Lauren Carlini setting, and Megan Courtney at libero. Only Carlini and Courtney also started in Wednesday’s meeting with Poland.
The Americans had the Fourth of July off after downing Poland on Wednesday, and with Brazil defeating Poland on Thursday, Brazil and the USA were both guaranteed a spot in the semifinals regardless of the result of Friday’s match.
Poland pushed Brazil to five sets on Thursday, and with the semifinal spot locked in, Brazil head coach Jose Guimaraes chose not to start many of his big stars against the USA, resting outside Natalia Pereira, middle Ana Beatriz Correa, and libero Leia Silva, while outside Gabi Guimaraes, setter Macris Carneiro, and opposite Ana Paula Borgo Bedani da Cruz played only sparingly as substitutes.
“Since both teams have already qualified to the semifinals, we had to use the other players,” Guimares said. “It was important for us to avoid injuries.”
On Saturday in the semifinals, the USA will play China, which lost its Final Round pool play opener to Turkey on Wednesday, but advanced by defeating Italy, which also lost to Turkey, on Friday. Brazil and Turkey play in the other semifinal on Saturday.