It was quite the showing from Team USA as they defeated Brazil 3-1 in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League and booked their spot in to the semi-finals this weekend.
Here are five things we learned from the victory:
Thompson is the real deal
We’ve seen glimmers during the preliminary stages but against Brazil Jordan Thompson stood out. It’s hard to believe the 22-year-old still has a year remaining at college as she consistently causes misery for some of the best defensive units around the world.
The University of Cincinatti opposite is constantly improving, which was evident in her display as she recorded the highest tally by any other American in the tournament with 33 points.
Larson integral in the back court
From the youngest in the squad, to the most senior in Jordan Larson. The former Husker is still full of energy and is looking to complete her Olympic medal collection in Tokyo next year after picking up silver and bronze in London and Rio, respectively.
The captain registered 22 digs and had a 59 positive reception percent on 22 chances.
A repeat of the 2018 final?
Both the USA and Turkey topped their pools and look favorites to meet once again in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League Final – a repeat of last year’s showpiece.
But first they will need to prepare for their last-four match-up against hosts and Olympic champions, China. The Americans dispatched the Chinese outfit with ease in their round-robin match – can they reproduce such a performance?
Kiraly has tough choices to make
It can be the gift and the curse for Karch Kiraly when he makes changes as often as he does. With Annie Drews, Jordan Thompson, Jordan Larson, Kelsey Robinson and Michelle Bartsch-Hackley all impressing so far in China, it is going to be a difficult selection meeting.
Megan Courtney is almost a certain starter as libero, while Kiraly is likely to opt for Chiaka Ogbogu and Haleigh Washington as middle blockers with Lauren Carlini continuing as setter.
Service game wasn’t up to scratch
It wasn’t all positive for Kiraly, though, as they struggled with their service game throughout. This provided the Green and Yellows with a chance at getting back into the affair in the third set.
In total, USA made 17 service errors, something Kiraly and co will hope to address before their semi-final contest against China.
However, with Chiaka Ogbogu and Haleigh Washington expected to start, this should help eradicate the number of faults.