The U.S. women’s national volleyball team, the defending FIVB World Champions, dropped its second consecutive match of the FIVB World Championship 25-16, 25-23, 20-25, 25-16 to seventh-ranked Italy on Thursday in Osaka, Japan, which put the Americans in a wait-and-see mode on whether they would advance to the third round.
Despite the loss, the United States qualified for the third round (Final Six). Entering the match, the U.S. needed to win or have Russia lose to China later in the day. China prevailed 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20 over Russia.
The United States will compete in the third round held Sunday through Tuesday in Nagoya. The third round has two pools of three, and the USA is grouped with the Netherlands and China. The top four teams of third round advance to the semifinals.
Italy (9-0) closed out the second round as the only undefeated team remaining in the 24-team World Championship.
U.S. outside hitter Jordan Larson, a former Husker, scored a team-high 14 points, all on kills from 26 attacks. Italy sensation Paolo Egonu led all scorers with 33 points via 25 kills on 50 swings, five blocks and three aces.