Larson Leads USA Past Dutch, Japan Sweeps Belgium in #VNL Pool 5

  0 Wendy Mayer | May 23rd, 2018 | Asian Volleyball, European volleyball, FIVB Nations League - Women, International Volleyball, News, U.S. Women's Volleyball


Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
22 May 15:40 Belgium  2–3  Netherlands 25–21 19–25 25–23 29–31 10–15 108–115 P2 P3
22 May 19:10 Japan  0–3  United States 20–25 16–25 23–25 59–75 P2 P3
23 May 15:40 Netherlands  0–3  United States 19–25 21–25 23–25 63–75 P2 P3
23 May 19:10 Japan  3–0  Belgium 25–19 25–20 25–19 75–58 P2 P3


United States def. Netherlands 3-0

  • USA defeated Netherlands 25-19, 25-21, 25-23
  • USA moved to 4-1 (13 points); Netherlands moved to 4-1 (11 points)

Five aces and a balanced offensive attack lifted the USA to a quick sweep of the Netherlands, taking down the final unbeaten side in Volleyball Nations League play. The match was a homecoming of sorts as it pitted the Americans against a familiar face in former assistant coach Jamie Morrison, who is now the coach for the Dutch side.

Jordan Larson led the American attack with 18 points (14 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces), followed by Kim Hill (12) and Kelly Murphy (10). Hill downed 12 kills, while Murphy notched seven to go with two blocks and an ace. Foluke Akinradewo and Tori Dixon rounded out the offense with six kills apiece.

Maret Balkestein-Grothues paced the Dutch with 14 points (11 kills, 3 blocks), while Lonneke Sloetjes added 12 (10 kills, 1 block, 1 ace). Four other players turned in three of more kills, but it was not enough to get past the United States.

The Americans outdid their foes in kills (45-39) and aces (5-1), while trailing 9-8 in blocks.

Team USA staked their claim early with a 10-5 lead and went on to cap the 25-19 win on Larson’s hand.

In Set 2, the Americans trailed briefly at 15-14 but scored five straight to surge ahead. The Dutch countered to tie it up at 19 all, but in the end, USA staved off their foes for the victory.

The United States now stand atop the standings with 13 points with one match remaining in Week 2 play.

Postmatch reaction:

Netherlands captain Maret Balkestein-Grothues: “I think the US team did a good job. We were always working behind. We have to improve every day. In the third set we did good defense but it was too late.”

USA captain Jordan Larson said: “We are proud of ourselves. It was a lot of fun to battle against the Netherlands team. We are getting better.”


Japan def. Belgium 3-0

  • Japan defeated Belgium 25-19, 25-20, 25-19
  • Japan moved to 2-3 (6 points); Belgium moved to 2-3  (6 points)

Risa Shinnabe and Sarina Koga provided a 1-2 punch for Japan, each notching double-digit points and kill tallies to guide the home side to a dominant victory.

Shinnabe turned in 16 points, 15 on terminations, while Koga pounded down 12 putaways as Japan outdid Belgium 52-32 in kills. That was enough to offset a 10-4 deficit in blocks and 4-3 Belgian lead in aces.

Mai Okumura (9), Yuki Ishii (8) and Mami Uchiseto (6) rounded out the scoring, each turning in more than six kills.

Britt Herbots paced the Belgians with a match-high 17 points (14 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace), while Celine Van Gestel (9) and Kaja Grobelna (6) followed. Marlies Janssens provided four of the team’s 10 blocks.

Japan took the early lead in both of the first two sets and cruised to victory behind captain Nana Iwasaka and Mai Okumura. The Belgians were a stronger foe in Set 3, boasting a short-lived lead, but in the end, could not hang on to extend the match.


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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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