The U.S. Women's National Team, ranked No. 1 in the world by the FIVB, was upset by Serbia on day two of the FIVB World Cup, 25-20, 22-25, 18-25, 25-19, 15-6, Sunday in Matsumoto, Japan.
Team USA (1-1) returns to action Monday against No. 3 China (2-0) in an early key contest. The World Cup presents tickets to the 2016 Olympic Games to only the top two teams in the final standings, so each match has a lot riding on it. The two squads faced other in the 2014 FIVB World Championship gold-medal match.
Stanford grad Foluke Akinradewo paced the Americans with 12 points, which included seven kills on 12 attacks, three blocks and two aces. Karsta Lowe, Christa Dietzen and Kelsey Robinson each added 11 points.
"First of all, congratulations to Serbia on a great match," Dietzen said. "They're always a fun team to play with their height and power, and we learned a lot from this match. It's a long tournament and now it's time to concentrate on China, so we'll go home and think about what we could have done better, but it's on to what we have to do to defeat China."
Serbia was dominant at the net with a 22-10 block advantage to go with a 10-5 service ace margin. The Serbians edged the Americans 56-50 in kills to offset their 30 errors in the match to Team USA's 17.
Serbia converted 42.8 percent of its attacks with a .260 hitting efficiency (56-22-131). The Americans were held to a 37.3 kill percent with a .149 hitting efficiency (50-30-134).
Serbia's Tijana Boskovic led all scorers with 23 points while Brankica Mihajlovic added 21 points.
"Serbia played very well," U.S. coach Karch Kiraly said. "We love to compete against them. They're always a fierce team and one that presents challenges. We played certain phases of our game well, but I was particularly impressed with Serbia's blocking and we didn't make some smart choices when they were putting up a block. I think we can make better ones for sure."
Serbia won the first two points of the deciding fifth set, then went up 4-1 with a Ognjenovic block. Out of a USA timeout Stevanovic served an ace off the net and Rasic put up a block at 6-1. Serbia went up 12-5 on consecutive aces by Boskovic. Serbia finished the upset at 15-6.