No. 2-ranked Team USA kicks off its season in Santa Barbara

Team USA setter Courtney Thompson celebrates a point on Friday.

Team USA setter Courtney Thompson celebrates a point on Friday.

 

The  USA Women’s National Volleyball Team treated local fans to two-plus hours of  high-level competition in a six-set intrasquad match at the SBCC Sports Pavilion on Friday night.

The Red and Blue teams played to a 3-3 draw in the first  of a series of Friday night USA Volleyball Red-Blue Matches. USA coach Karch Kiraly is taking the team around Southern California to test players in a live match setting before competing in big tournaments around the world.

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Kiraly, who started his legendary volleyball career growing up in Santa Barbara, is beginning his second season as Team USA coach. He was an assistant coach for the women’s team that won silver at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The No. 2-ranked team in the world  is preparing for some major competitions this year, including a four-match series with No. 1 Brazil in the U.S. Cup on July 5-6 at UC Irvine and USC and in Hawaii, and the World Championships in late September in Italy.

Karch Kiraly coaches up Lauren Gibbemeyer

Karch Kiraly coaches up Lauren Gibbemeyer

The Red and Blue teams played six 15-point sets. The Blue got off to a fast start, opening up a 13-4 lead behind the hitting of Kristin Hildebrand. The Red cut it to 14-11 before  opposite Kelly Murphy put the ball away for a 15-11 Blue victory.

The play of Rachael Adams and Tori Dixon at the net sparked the Red to an 18-16 win in the second set.

The Blue rebounded with a 15-11 win in the third set, but the Red regained the moment and knotted the match up a 2-2 with a 15-8 victory in the fourth set. The blocking of Carli Lloyd and Adams and the hitting of Juliann Faucette provided the spark for the Red team.

The Blue had set point in the fifth set, 14-12, but the p lay of Adams and Faucette at the net kept the Red team alive. The Red fought back for an 18-16 win to take a 3-2 sets advantage.

Regan Hood stepped up big for the Blue in the sixth set  to help the Blue prevail 15-10 .

Hood and Hildebrand were the kill leaders of the night with nine apiece. Adams had eight kills and Kelsey Robinson and Faucette each collected seven kills. Libero Nicole Davis had 17 digs and Lloyd was led all setters with 39 assists.

Dos Pueblos alum Carly Wopat was with Team USA. She didn’t suit up Friday because she just joined the squad after completing her senior year at Stanford.

The U.S. women's national volleyball team wore the USA uniform in a match for the first time in 2014 at SBCC.

The U.S. women’s national volleyball team wore the USA uniform in a match for the first time this year on Friday at SBCC.

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