July 6, 1999
Palma de Mallorca, Spain - The U.S. women's volleyball team (1-2) collected its first victory of the World University Games today, defeating Ukraine 3-1 (25-22, 25-13, 14-25, 25-13) at San Jose Obrero.
Team USA controlled the net, accumulating 14 blocks in the match, with UCLA's Elisabeth Bachman (Farmington, Minn.) having a hand in a team-high 11. Nancy Meendering (Hall, Iowa) led the team for the third consecutive match with 19 kills while Jenna Wrobel (Naperville, Ill.) had a team-high .590 hitting percentage, with 14 kills against only one error.
Team USA got off to a quick start in game one, jumping out to a 9-3 lead and holding off Ukraine the rest of the way. With the exception of a 1-1 tie, the U.S. led throughout, with Ukraine cutting the lead to one on two occasions. Leading 18-17 though, the red, white and blue ran off five straight points to essentially put the game away.
Game two turned into a block party for the United States as they sent back nine Ukranian attacks, leading to an easy 25-14 win. With the game tied at four, the U.S. blocked four consecutive attacks and never trailed again. They closed the match with six consecutive points.
"We communicated very well up front. Everyone on the frontline was talking, which allowed us to be in good position," said Bachman, who also contributed nine kills without a hitting error. "On offense we were passing very well and that allowed (setter) Robyn (AhMow) work the ball to different people."
The momentum from game two didn't carry over to game three for the U.S. as Ukraine jumped out to a 6-1 lead and never looked back. That seemed to wake Team USA up, though, as Meendering opened the game with an ace and the U.S. never trailed. Tied at 5-5, the U.S. went on a 7-2 run and cruised from there.
Team USA now awaits to find out their opponent in the first game of the consolation bracket, to be played Thursday at 10:00 a.m. at San Jose Obrero. This is the just the second time in the last five WUG that the women's team has failed to medal.
"This is a very talented field of volleyball teams," USA head coach Jim Stone said. "We're obviously disappointed that we're not playing for a medal, but we have three more games left and our goals is to keep improving and win all three."