Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand. — Illinois recruit Jordyn Poulter and the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Volleyball Team fell one victory short of a world title but still made history Sunday.
Top-ranked China defeated the fifth-ranked Americans 25-16, 25-21, 25-23 in the title match of the FIVB Girls’ Under-18 World Championship. Despite the loss, the silver medalists became the first USA Volleyball team of either gender to earn a world championship medal at the youth or junior levels.
“Our goal was to get a medal and today we made it silver, so that made me very happy and very proud of my team,” U.S coach Jim Stone said.
Team USA’s previous best finish in this tournament was fourth place in 2003 and ’05. The U.S. and China each finished with 6-2 records.
It was a historic day for China, too, which captured a record fourth gold medal — one more title than Brazil — in the Girls’ Under-18 World Championship.
Poulter, who started at setter and played all three sets against China, finished with 16 running sets. The Class of 2015 commitment from Aurora, Colo., also contributed two kills, two blocks and one service ace. For the tournament, Poulter ranked fourth in average sets per set (7.78) and limited her errors to nine in 596 total sets.
In the title match, China led in kills (46-32) and aces (7-3). Team USA also struggled mightily with its passing, committing 41 digging errors to China’s 27.
“China was certainly the better team today,” Stone said.
No. 2 Brazil, which went 0-2 against the United States, defeated No. 10 Peru 25-19, 25-23, 25-12 for the bronze medal.