Long Beach, California, USA June 17, 2016 – The USA accepted the challenge Germany presented on Friday in World Grand Prix in Long Beach, California, where the Americans were playing in a rare home tournament match.
USA coach Karch Kiraly on playing at home: “It was a great atmosphere. It was a special treat. We do not play many tournament matches in the USA. Obviously we had a World Grand Prix Finals week last year in Omaha, but beyond that we have not played a Grand Prix phase since 1996 – after a 20-year break. It is not something we are used to. This was even a bigger adjustment as we have not played a tournament in Southern California, staying at home, making commutes and just having a different experience. I don’t think we handled it well in the first two sets and we got a little better as we went along.”
Karch Kiraly on Germany’s defense: “We want to face as many challenges as possible. They were much improved from last year and played great defense. We had some hitters get some great looks, hitters with zero blocks up and we didn’t put those to the floor and that is a credit to their good defense. It was a wake up call for us.”
Karch Kiraly on playing Japan on Saturday: “We are going to expect really long rallies. They play incredible defense. We may have to take five, seven swings to terminate a rally.”
USA captain Christa Dietzen: “We are really excited to be here in Long Beach. They are doing a great at making this event great. USA Volleyball is promoting this event, everyone is promoting it well. We are really excited to be competing against some of the best teams in the world on our home turf. It is different for us as we are used to being on the road.”
USA captain Christa Dietzen on the change after the second set: “Alisha Glass all brought us all in and told us we need to turn up our aggression level, meaning block and defense assertiveness. I also believe our communication needed to be crisper. We had a few mis-communication plays in the first two sets. I thought that was another upgrade and allowed us to play better, and our serve got better.
German Coach Felix Koslowski: “Of course, we are a little upset because we were thinking that maybe in the fourth set in the end we had a little possibility and we were fighting so hard and I think we really deserve to go 24-24 and then to see what can happen. Overall, I am happy about the match because my team today had an incredible attitude on defense. We had a lot of problems in passing during the match so we changed a lot of times the line up and tried a lot of different positions of the players and line ups of the players. So in the end we find a way how to play. I think we did a good job and when I think 7 days before we played the United States in 50 minutes, 3-0, we’ve all seen the ball. And today, when we could bring them over 20 and stay close to them, we challenged them, and I think this is a big thing for us and I’m really happy about that.”
German captain Denise Hanke “I think it was really better than last week. We know that the USA team is the best team and a hot candidate for the gold medal in Olympics. We are trying and we really tried to improve from week to week because we play them three times.”
German player Lenka Durr: “We are improving and we are trying to get better and every time it is a big honor to play for us against such big teams and we can really learn from all of those matches and that is what we are trying to do.”