The U.S. Women's National Team moved a step closer to $1 million with an impressive 25-18, 25-19, 20-25, 25-21 win against Brazil in pool play at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League finals Friday in Nanjing, China.
Three former Huskers each had a hand in the victory. Jordan Larson had 11 kills and two aces, and Mikaela Foecke had 10 kills and two aces. Kelsey Robinson was a back-row substitute in all four sets and had six digs in limited action.
Now Team USA turns its attention to the semifinals. Brazil also advanced after Poland went 0-2 in pool play. The United States will play China at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, and Brazil will face Turkey.
Even though the United States was assured a spot in the final four, a four-set win against Brazil showed the Americans are ready to defend their VNL title. Brazil, ranked fourth in the world, defeated No. 3 Team USA in four sets in Lincoln during a preliminary round in June.
Brazil had no answer for Jordan Thompson, who will be a senior at Cincinnati in the fall. She finished with 30 kills on 51 attacks, two blocks and one ace.
"She is amazing," Larson said of Thompson. "I think a lot of people don't know she is still in college."
Foecke handled a team-high 34 receptions without an error, and she added seven digs. Larson added 13 digs. Both Foecke and Larson started at the outside hitter spots.
The U.S. held a 19-18 lead in the first set before scoring the final six points.
In the second set, Thompson and Larson had back-to-back kills to give the Americans an 18-16 lead, and their advantage increased.
After winning the third set, Brazil took an 11-9 lead in set four, but a 4-0 American run included a pair of kills from Larson, and they never trailed again.