Big day ahead in third phase


USA and Russia met in the first round, and now they meet in an even more important match on the second day of the third round in Milan. In addition. China and Dominican Republic meet on Thursday.

Milan, Italy, October 9, 2014 – A big day awaits on Thursday with key implications for all six teams competing in the FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship Italy 2014 in Milan.

China face Dominican Republic in the first match at 17:30, while United States are on the court at 20:00 against Russia. China and USA are in must-win situations on the second day, while Russia and Dominican Republic take to the court for the first time on Thursday in Milan. After China lost to Brazil and USA lost to Italy on the first day in straight sets, both must win on Thursday to have any chance to move on to the semifinal. Host Italy and Brazil are both idle today after defeating USA and China, respectively, on the first day of the third phase.

"We have to put aside a disappointing loss and prepare for the match against Russia," USA coach Karch Kiraly said.

"We are a young team, but we learned a lot from Brazil today," China coach Lang Ping said. "Now we have to think about the next match that will be another story."

A loss by China would put both Brazil and Dominican Republic into Saturday’s semifinals, while a USA setback would automatically put Italy and Russia into the final four.

Pool G
October 8: Italy def. USA 25-23, 25-22, 25-20
October 9: USA versus Russia
October 10: Italy versus Russia

Pool H
October 8: Brazil def. China 25-19, 25-16, 25-15
October 9: China versus Dominican Republic
October 10: Brazil versus Dominican Republic

Pool G: United States – Russia
The USA are 8-2 in this World Championship, while Russia are 6-3. The Russians, who did not play on the first day of the third round, was the last team to qualify for the third phase as they were in a must-win situation on the final day of the second round against Serbia.

United States and Russia have met 10 times at the World Championship, with Russia beating USA six times and United States winning four times. Their most recent meeting came in the first round of this year's competition. United States beat Russia 3-1. This was their first win over Russia in 12 years.

In their head-to-head match from Pool C in the first round, USA won in four sets. Russia held a 71-69 attack point advantage over the USA. However, the USA's block took more points at 14-11. Jordan Larson-Burbach, joint top scorer in United States' victory over Russia on 29 September, had played for the Russia powerhouse club Dinamo Kazan. Both Larson-Burbach and Murphy scored 20 points against in Russia in the first-round win.

Earlier this year, USA and Russia split a pair of matches in the FIVB World Grand Prix. USA lost to Russia 3-1 in the opening weekend in Turkey, but bounced back to win the second meeting 3-1 in Brazil. Russia would later advance to the FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round and the USA was not able to qualify.

Russia have taken at least one set against United States in nine of their 10 encounters, including the last seven.

USA, after winning eight straight matches to open the World Championship, have lost back-to-back matches in straight sets for the first time since 3 consecutive 3-0 losses in 1998 (against Cuba, Italy and Bulgaria). They have now lost as many sets (six) in their last two matches as in their previous nine world championship matches combined. The Americans will try to avoid the same occurrence from the 2010 World Championship as they ended that campaign with three straight losses.

USA have won 249 sets in their World Championship history and needs just one more to reach 250. At the same time, USA have lost 199 sets at the World Championship and will avoid becoming the third team with at least 200 sets conceded, after Germany (325) and Netherlands (221).

Russia have placed in the top six in each of their 16 total World Championship participation. They will battle to finish in the top four for the 14th time.

Russia have lost three of their last five world championship matches after the USA snapped their 17-match win streak in this year's first round meeting. The last time Russia lost three in five matches was back in 1982-1986. Before these five matches they lost three in 38 matches at the World Championship. Russia will try to avoid losing four in six matches in the competition for only the second time after 1982.

Russia have taken at least one set in their last 43 world championship matches. As Soviet Union, one longer streak occurred – 52 matches in 1952-1974. Russia have conceded 11 sets at the 2014 World Championship. Only once did they lose more sets in a single edition: 12 sets in 1982.

Pool H: China – Dominican Republic
China are 8-2 in this World Championship after falling to Brazil on Wednesday. Dominican Republic, which was the idle team in Pool H on Wednesday, are 7-2 in this tournament.

Their most recent meeting came in this year's second round. Dominican Republic outspiked China 68-65, but China out-blocked them 14-7. Bethania De La Cruz scored a match-high in the competition with 37 points, almost 38 percent of the total points (98) scored by Dominican Republic in this match.

China are unbeaten in their three previous World Championship meetings with Dominican Republic. China beat Dominican twice in straight sets (2006 and 2010) and once in five sets (2014).

Dominican Republic, ranked No. 10 in the world and lowest ranked team to qualify for the third phase, are yet to win their first match against Asian opposition at the World Championship after six defeats.

After winning their first seven matches at the 2014 World Championship, Dominican Republic have lost the last two both in five sets. Both defeats came against teams from Asia: 3-2 against China and 3-2 against Japan.

Dominican Republic will avoid becoming the second country to lose three consecutive world championship matches in five sets in a single edition. Peru lost three five-setters in a row in 2006.

Of their nine World Championship matches this, year, Dominican Republic have played six full matches going to the fifth set with a 4-2 record in those contests. Dominican Republic have played the most sets in the first and second round combined: 41 sets in total. No other team of the top six has played more than 33 sets.

Dominican have won at least two sets in their last 10 world championship matches. Before this streak, they only succeeded to win two sets in 12 of their previous 38 matches in the competition.

China lost 3-0 to Brazil on Wednesday, suffering their first back-to-back losses at the World Championship since 2006 when they lost to Russia and Germany in the first group stage. With another loss, they would have three in a row for the first time since a team record of four consecutive losses in 1994. China have never lost back-to-back world championship matches in straight sets.

China are one win shy of setting a team record nine wins in a single edition of the World Championship. They currently share a record eight wins in 2014 with eight wins in 1974, 1982 and 1986.

China are unbeaten in their last 12 World Championship matches against NORCECA sides, including three against Dominican Republic.


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