Inspired USA beat defending champion Russia to top pool


Russia proved a tough opponent for USA

Verona, Italy, September 28, 2014 – USA overcame defending champion Russia 3-1 (34-32, 25-19, 29-31, 26-24) to triumph at the top of Pool C at PalaOlimpia on Sunday.  

USA have lost no matches at this championship, conceding only one set to Mexico during their debut match on Tuesday. Russia, who won four matches and only lost one set to the Netherlands on Thursday, placed second.

Key points:

•This is the first defeat Russia suffer, interrupting a winning streak of 17 World Championships matches. It was the longest streak since Russia started to compete as a separate nation
•USA have now won four of a total of ten meetings played against Russia, after losing the last three in a row 
•The two teams had recently met at the World Grand Prix twice. Russia won the first match and USA the second. Both matches ended in four sets 
•USA have won their first five matches for the third time in the last four World Championships. They failed to do so only in 2006, when they won four of the first five meetings 

Jordan Larson-Burbarch and Kelly Murphy were the best scorer on the USA team with 20 points. Best contributors to Russia’s performance were Tatiana Kosheleva with 31 points and Ekaterina Gamova with 20 points.

Kelly Murphy’s powerful spike opened the first set and USA built an early lead to 7-3. Russia reacted and, despite a few defense errors, narrowed the gap to arrive to the first technical time out only two points down at 8-6. After Russia first tied to 10-10, the game kept level with the two teams exchanging the lead as neither USA or Russia were able to overpower the opponents. In a point-by-point battle, USA wasted seven set points and Russia three, until a spike by Kimberly Hill and an ace by Jordan Larson-Burbach secured the set 34-32.

USA started the second set determined to lead and so they did to 4-0. Russia fought back and Tatiana Koshaleva spiked to tie the score to 7-7, just before a serve error by Regina Moroz gave the lead to the Americans again. The match proceeded balanced to the second technical time-out, but Gamova struggled in defense and USA took control of the set to close it 25-19.

A very tight set followed with the two teams spiking and scoring evenly from both sides. Ekaterina Gamova and Koshaleva’s efforts gave Russia a temporary lead to 19-16 but USA quickly reached them. A block by Irina Zaryazhko gave Russia the first set point, immediately cancelled by USA. The two teams followed trading set points in a series of thrilling rallies, until USA’s poor handling in attack awarded the set to Russia 31-29.

The game kept level in the fourth set. Two powerful spikes in a row by Kelly Murphy created a two-point gap to 8-6, but Russia came back scoring with Koshaleva’s spikes and ace. Russia kept fighting and after a kill block by Evgeniya Startseva, USA's coach Kiraly Karch called a time out as Russia was leading 21-20. USA reacted and Kosheleva spiked into the net to give USA the first match point. Russia neutralised it, but it was their error in attack that closed the set and gave USA the victory at 26-24.

USA will meet Turkey and Russia will play Bulgaria at PalaPanini in Modena on Wednesday.


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