Looking for their sixth Grand Prix title, the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team started the month-long FIVB World Grand Prix tournament with three straight wins.
The No. 1 seeded team, which includes five members of the 2012 Olympic silver medal-winning team, won their first match against Italy on Friday in four sets (25-27, 25-21, 25-22 and 25-23).
On Saturday, July 4th, the Americans celebrated Independence Day despite being abroad in Ankara, Turkey. First, they decked themselves out in extra patriotic outfits for their morning training session. Then they triumphed over Turkey, winning again in four sets (25-20, 17-25, 25-16 and 25-21).
Coach Karch Kiraly told TeamUSA.org after the match, “It’s been a nice July 4 first of all. Our team has a wonderful spirit about it. Everybody dressed up for practice in the loudest, boldest, proudest red white and blue that we could put together which was really fun, and then finished it out with a good match.
“I love it that Turkey came back and took us apart in the second set. They really served us well and put us in some serious reception stress and so we had to work through that and I think our passers did a nice job, especially Kayla Banwarth, to get us back on track and playing well.”
The winning streak continued on to Sunday’s game against Belgium, with victory over three sets (25-19, 25-20 and 25-18).
Brazil and China also remained undefeated through the preliminary round weekend.
The United States will next play in Russia and Hong Kong in successive weekends, then return to Omaha, Nebraska at the end of July for the final round. As the host team, Team USA is guaranteed a spot in the six-team round-robin tournament.