Kimberly Hill and Kelly Murphy each scored 19 points to lead the USA, while Gozda Sonsirma led Turkey with 22 points. USA out-blocked Turkey 14-7 and committed 13 fewer errors (27-14).
- The last and only time these two teams met at the World Championship was in 2006, when United States proved too strong (3:1).
- Turkey and United States also met at the 2014 World Grand Prix when Turkey beat United States in five sets.
- Turkey coach Massimo Barbolini is Modena’s own, and was welcomed inside the arena PalaPanini with a standing ovation (which included his own parents…)
- Christa Dietzen:Harmotto and Alisha Glass played in Modena’s superleague team, Liu:Jo, in 2012.
- United States ended the first round as the only side with maximum points (15).
An ace by Kimberly Hill opened the first break for Team USA 5-8) in the first set. A big block by Christa Dietzen:Harmotto gave USA the largest lead of the set (16-21) before the Turkish fought back with an impressive attacking performance by Seda Tokatioglu (21-22), and her following ace (helped by the edge of the net…) evened the score (22:22). Neriman Oszoy’s sixth point of the set put Turkey in the lead, before Murphy’s sixth equalized again (23:23). Then the ball went again to Tokatioglu, but a massive block by Kimberly Hill gave the US the first set point, immediately neutralized by setter Aydemir’s delicious lob. Turkey went ahead again with Sonsirma’s strike from Zone 4 (27:26) but it was her own mistake that kept Team USA in the game (27:27). Sonsirma again for the lead, and then an offensive mistake by Dietzen closed a thrilling first set (29:27).
The US bench did not lose its optimism, though, and started chanting the name “Murphy” on the notes of ACDC’s “Thundestruck” to open the second set. And Murphy did not disappoint them, starting the set with two heavy attacks (2:4). Akinradewo and Hill hit hard for the early lead (6:10), and a perfect block by Kelsey Robinson on Tokatioglu opened an even bigger gap (8:14). Turkey won’t surrender, and was able to close the gap to three points (15:18) with Sonsirma’s attacks from zone 4; but again, a block by Dietzen:Harmotto restored the gap (16:21). Foluke Akinradewo scored the decisive block to equalize the set count (19:25).
Turkey reacted immediately, taking the early lead in the third set (5:1) thanks to Ozsoy’s attack from zone 4, and forcing coach Kiraly to call the timeout. The Turkish defense rejected USA’s attacks, helping Barbolini’s girls keep the advantage until Oszoy crashed against Murphy’s block narrowing the gap (13:11). An offensive mistake by Sonsirma right after the second break brought the Americans even closer (16:15), before an ace by Nicole Fawcett evened the score and again an error by Sonsirma gave Team USA the advantage (18:19), forcing coach Barbolini’s timeout. The Turkish were kept in the set by Libero Karadayi’s impressive defense and Sonsirma’s comeback (17 points in the first three sets), but the US never turned back and closed the fraction (23:25) with Kimberly Hill’s attack.
In the fourth set the US started strong to close the match (3:7), but Turkey won’t give up and hit with Oszoy from the second line (6:7). Sonsirma’s block on Murphy gave Turkey the lead (8:7) right before an offensive mistake by Toksoy – wife to Modena’s own, coach Giovanni Guidetti – gave it back to the US (9:10). Akinradewo’s attack and subsequent block gave Team USA a five-point lead (9:14) and increased it thanks to an impressive offensive performance by Kimberly Hill (12:20). The match was easily closed by Kelsey’s block (15:25).