Finals start with big wins from Brazil, Russia and USA


Kseniia Ilchenko passes for Russia

Omaha, Nebraska, USA, July 22, 2015 – As the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals made its way to the United States for the first time, the opening day provided some key early momentum for three teams in Omaha, Nebraska.

Playing in front of their home crowd, the United States thrilled the fans with a 25-12, 25-15, 25-18 victory over Japan Wednesday evening to begin their FIVB World Grand Prix Finals schedule in Omaha, Nebraska.

Karsta Lowe paced the American squad with 17 points via 14 kills on 21 swings and three blocks. Foluke Akinradewo added six attack winners on 11 swings and a team-high foru blocks for 10 points, which was matched by Kelsey Robinson with eight kills and two blocks. Japan was led by Yuki Ishii and her seven points followed by Mami Uchiseto's six points off the bench. The U.S. out-blocked Japan 11-2 and both teams had three aces.

In a battle of undefeated teams from the preliminary round, Brazil earned a quick advantage in the opening match of the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals with a 23-25, 25-20, 25-16, 25-14 victory over China.

Brazil was led by Juciely Cristina Barreto with 17 points, while Gabriela Braga Guimaraes added 15 points and Monique Marinho Pavao totaled 14 points. China was paced by Changning Zhang and Yanhan Liu with 15 points apiece, while Yunlu Wang contributed 10 points in the loss.

Brazil out-blocked China 14-6 and held an 11-3 service ace advantage. China had 24 errors in the four-set loss, while Brazil limited their errors to 15.

In a rematch from the preliminary round, Russia started their FIVB World Grand Prix Finals on a positive note by defeating Italy 26-24, 28-26, 25-19.

Russia’s Nataliya Goncharova tallied 27 attack winners on 49 swings with a block for 28 points in the victory. Yana Shcherban totaled 11 points for Russia. Italy was led by Valentina Diouf's 17 points, while Indre Sorokaite and Cristina Chirichella contributed 10 points.

Russia held a 5-3 block advantage, while Italy held the edge in blocks at 5-4. Italy committed 21 errors in the three set loss to Russia's 16.

Top scoring performances
28 – Nataliya Goncharova of Russia v Italy (July 22)
17 - Karsta Lowe of USA vs Japan (July 22)
17 – Valentina Diouf of Italy vs Russia (July 22)

Top scoring performances by team
98 – Brazil v China (July 22)

Top blocking performances
7 – Juciely Cristina Barreto of Brazil v China (July 22)

Top blocking performances by team
14 – Brazil v China (July 22)
11 - USA vs Japan (July 22)

Top serving performances
4 – Danielle Lins of Brazil vs China (July 22)

Top serving performances by team
11 – Brazil v China (July 22)

Highest scorer by day
Day 1: 28 – Nataliya Goncharova of Russia v Italy (July 22)

Highest set score
Day 1: Russia v Italy, 28-26 (July 22)


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