Hong Kong, July 16, 2015 - In a match filled with long rallies and great defensive performances on both sides of the net USA used their height and strength advantage to edge past Japan 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 26-24) in Pool H of the FIVB World Grand Prix.
USA started the match well racing out to a two-point lead at the first technical time-out. They controlled the situation from then on, thanks in a large part to their towering block and the confident spikes from Kelly Murphy and Christa Dietzen. At the end of the set Saori Kimura's smart serves helped Japan save three set points in a row, but Karsta Lowe closed out the set with a powerful smash down the line.
In the second USA were once again able to take an early lead, but Japan never gave up and finally managed to find their rhythm in service and block building a three-point advantage at 13-10. At this point American coach Karch Kiraly called a time-out to help his team regroup. It seemed to have worked as USA quickly regained the initiative and won five points in a row to go 15-13 up. Both teams impressed with impossible saves in defence, but in the end it was the greater power in attack that helped USA prevail in the set, 25-22.
The third set saw a repeat of the second with both teams trading narrow leads. At 18-15 for Japan four aces in a row from Kimberly Hill handed the lead back to her team. It seemed that the Americans would see the set out, especially when they took a 21-19 lead, but once again they struggled with Saori Kimura's serve and Japan earned set points at 24-21. The were not able to close out the set, though, as good service and defence from USA helped them win four back-to-back points. Jordan Larson-Burbach ended the exciting match with another kill block.
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