Omaha, USA, July 26, 2015 – The USA gave their home fans plenty to cheer about Sunday as they defeated China 25-23, 25-19, 25-18 on the last day of the FIVB World Grand Prix Finals being held in Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
Karsta Lowe sparked the American offense with 17 points, while Megan Easy added 13 points in her first start of the Final round. China’s Liu Yanhan scored a team-best 16 points, while Xiaotong Liu totaled nine points. USA held a 7-3 block advantage.
The USA, which clinched the title on Saturday, finished the tournament 5-0 and with their sixth overall event gold medal. China, which was battling for a medal, ended the tournament 2-3 and now must await results later today whether they will be on tonight’s award’s podium.
China notched a 3-1 lead to start the opening set, but was quickly erased as Easy, Larson-Burbach and Lowe put down kills to give USA a 4-3 advantage. Larson-Burbach blocked China to increase the American lead to 6-4. China leveled the score at 7-all. The Americans gained a two-point cushion at 13-11 with a Larson-Burbach attack, though China tied the set again at 14-all. Easy upped the USA lead to 17-15, but Xiaoya and Xiaotong scored quickly to square the set at 17-all. Dietzen and Easy hit consecutive winners putting the Americans in front 20-18. Liu Yanhan tied the set 21-alll with a cross-court winner. Lowe hammered an attack through the China block to lift USA in front 23-21 and the Americans made the cushion stand up for a 25-23 victory ending on a China attack error.
Lowe gave the Americans an early two-point cushion in set 2 with a kill at 2-0 and then extended the gap to 6-3. Kreklow blocked China to send USA into the technical timeout up 8-4. Easy hit an overpass kill to increase the lead to 9-4. USA reached the second technical timeout with a six-point edge. Larson-Burbach stuffed a China attack and Murphy hit an attack down the line out of the break to extend the margin to 18-10. Liu Xiaotong narrowed the China deficit to 22-15 after the USA led by as many as nine. Dietzen and Larson-Burbach ended the spurt with consecutive kills at 24-15. China went on a 3-0 run including two aces by Wang Yunlu to close to 23-18 before Dietzen ended the run to reach set point 24-18. Lowe hit the set winner at 25-19.
The USA grabbed an early 4-0 lead to start the third set including blocks from Dietzen and Lowe and a Kreklow ace. Larson-Burbach lifted the USA to an 8-3 advantage at the first technical timeout. China trimmed the deficit to at 9-8. Easy served an ace off the net between two Dietzen kills to yield a 14-10 American lead. Liu Yanhan tip around the block to cut the gap in half at 14-12. Lowe slammed an attack followed by a Robinson ace to shift the USA in front 16-12 at the second technical timeout. USA maintained the comfortable gap the rest of the set in winning 25-18.