It was a close game for USA v. Turkiye Volleyball Cup held at Walter Pyramid Sunday night.
USA took the lead of 25-21 in set one, 25-12 in set two and Turkiye taking set three 26-24 and set four getting 25-22.
With many fans cheering and filling the bleachers, USA Women’s Volleyball ended set five with a nail biter, closing the night with a winning set of 15-13, ultimately winning the game.
The win brings the USA 2-0 in the three game tournament against Turkiye, as they won the first game on Saturday, Aug. 27.
USA Team Captain Kelsey Cook guided the team to their victory over the middle eastern team.
“I think a lot of our focus is just like taking it point by point, and really making simple upgrades and just staying together,” Cook said. “I think Turkiye is a very strong team and they always come back no matter what the score is and no matter what the game count is, so you always gotta stay mentally locked in for that.”
The Turkish team had their strong points throughout the game as opposite position player Ebrar Karakurt brought a lot of energy to the team as she entered during set three, sending strong spikes across the court and helped win sets three and four.
USA player and middle blocker Haleigh Washington kept the team moving and alert with a huge block in the final set, giving the US enough morale to defeat Turkiye.
“My mind set was ‘I’ve been trying to do this freaking move all game, so let’s just keep trying and maybe this one will work’ and then I tried it again and I finally did the move right,” Washington said.
USA player Justine Wong-Orantes kept the game going with strong energy and producing dig after dig during the game that kept the audience cheering. The libero was a huge asset during Sunday’s game, keeping the team at a pace to win.
Being a “calm presence” for the team was Wong-Orantes’ mindset throughout the game.
“Man, we love to go to (set) five with Turkiye in every setting, no matter what tournament it is, even in a friendly match so its always fun,” Wong-Orantes said. “I think just focusing on our side of the run was key and like don’t getting too caught up with what they’re doing, but just stay present home on our side and I think that allowed us to play free and play loose.”
With the potential to have a clean sweep in the tournament, the USA’s final match against Turkiye will be on Aug. 30 at LionTree Arena in San Diego.
“I think when we bring the huddles together and we stay focused on the task at hand it anybody’s game,” Cook said.