LARSON LEADS USA TO VICTORY OVER THAILAND AND SEVENTH STRAIGHT 3-0 WIN IN VNL
Bangkok, Thailand, May 31, 2018 – Leading by example with another stellar all-round performance, Jordan Larson guided the seemingly unstoppable United States to a comprehensive 3-0 (25-10, 25-22, 25-16) victory over Thailand in the women’s FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Thursday.
With USA’s leading pointscorer Michelle Bartsch-Hackley sitting out the match, Larson took up the role of the main attacking weapon, finishing with a game-high 15 points, comprising nine spikes from 18 attempts, as well as two blocks and four service winners.
Outside hitter Kimberly Hill was also in great form, particularly in the first two sets, racking up 13 kills as the reigning world champions posted their seventh consecutive straight-sets win to consolidate their lead at the top of the competition standings.
Outgunned at the start, Thailand improved as the match wore on, pushing the Americans in the second set and leading midway through their third before running out of steam, just 24 hours after they were involved in a marathon five-set defeat to Germany.
None of the Thai players managed to reach double figures although Onuma Sittirak led the way with eight after skipping the first set as the home crowd created a carnival atmosphere inside the stadium as they cheered every point and desperate save from the host-nation’s team.
Wilavan Apinyapong and Ajcharaporn Kongyot, finished with seven points each, while Larson took her series total to 90 points and was well supported by her team mates as four American players reached double figures.
Hill, who has 89 points in total, clinched the first and second sets with powerful spikes that proved too much for the Thai defence.
Andrea Drews finished with 12 points while Lauren Gibbemeyer got 10 and Foluke Akinradewores, the most-capped player on the American roster, chipped in with eight.
With the win, the US improved to 8-1 in the competition. Ranked number two in the world, they head to Jiangmen next week to join China, Brazil and Russia in Pool 14.
Thailand, who dropped to 2-7 after a third straight loss in Bangkok, switch to Nakhon Ratchasima next week to host Japan, South Korea and Turkey in Pool 15.
USA captain Jordan Larson said: “What an awesome environment it was to play here. We always enjoy coming to Bangkok and the Thailand Volleyball Association did a great job in hosting this event. It was just a great match to be a part of and I’m really proud of our team. We’re continuing to work on some things and we’re getting better everyday. We have a tough team coming up, but I’m confident with our team and I’m excited to keep going.”
USA coach Karch Kiraly said: “First of all, thank you to the organizers and hosts here. We’ve been really well taken care of and this week has been organized fantastically. We’re very grateful for the chance to play against a spectacular team that’s always been one of my favourites to watch – the Thailand team – especially here in Thailand where they have so many great fans and people who love volleyball and who love their team. We’re very thankful to play in a very special atmosphere like tonight. Our team is doing a good job of following our game plan. We make a new plan for every opponent and they’re doing a nice job of executing it and that started tonight with very good serving. We caused a lot of trouble for Thailand in that first set making our job easier because they have an offense that’s very complicated. We have a very difficult week ahead but we look forward to the challenge.”
Thailand captain Pleumjit Think said: “It is such a good opportunity for our team to play against a great team like USA. They have tall players playing fast with powerful attacks. They played well in every element today. We learned a lot from them today.”
Thailand coach Danai Sriwacharamaytakul said: “It was a very tough match for us today, but it was such a great honour for my team to have a chance to play against a strong team like USA. They played a high level volleyball and they have a very good playing system. We will take this match as a good learning experience and I hope my young players will gain good experience playing against a highly experienced USA team.”
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