USA’s Andrea Drews believes the atmosphere inside the Nanjing Olympic Sports Center helped spur Team USA to a 3-1 victory in their opening Finals Week encounter over Poland.
The former Purdue University star, who top scored for the Stars and Stripes with 23 points with 21 kills and a block and ace apiece, was appreciative of the support from the Chinese locals.
“It definitely feels like a Finals Week atmosphere,” Drews told TeamUSA.org. “There are some legs of VNL and some matches, that are a little quieter.
“I thought the atmosphere here was really great tonight and provided us some energy to feed off.”
Drews, 25, was assisted in the scoring by Kelsey Robinson (19) and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley (13) as they fought back from a set down and cruise to victory.
“We talked about pressure” – Drews
The turning point, according to Drews, was their change in approach prior to set two as they looked to play a more “aggressive” game.
“We talked about service pressure,” said Drews. “If we are going to error, let’s make some aggressive errors.
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“Let’s really push them to be out of system, put their setter on the move or make their non-setters set. I think we did a better job of that as the match went on.
“We still were pretty high error in service, but I thought we were better at putting pressure on and getting them out of system.”
Head coach Karch Kiraly, who made no changes throughout the four sets, was equally impressed with the attacking intent in response to Poland’s service game.
“Things went well for us as we served very tough and we received their serve well. Our receiver did a good job tonight, so did our servers,” the three-time Olympic gold medalist said.