Year in Review – USA rule the roost at U18 World Championship


Lausanne, Switzerland, December 24, 2019 – USA made sure that it was a case of third time lucky when they defeated Italy in the Egypt 2019 FIVB Volleyball Girls’ U19 World Championship. 

The US lost the two previous finals they had played at this age-grade – in 2013 against China and 2015 against Italy – but they ended that unenviable run with a 3-2 (25-17, 19-25, 25-18, 22-25, 15-10) victory.

Brazil won bronze with a 3-1 (25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 27-25) defeat of China that ensured they returned to the U18 podium for the first time since they won bronze in 2013. 

USA captain Kennedi Orr lifted the World Championship trophy after James Stone’s team ended the Azzurre’s hopes of winning a third-straight gold. 

“I'm happy that we won the first title for USA in the history of this competition,” Stone said. “We started the match very strong from the first set using our sharp service and we managed to disturb the Italians and began to unfold our strategy after that. 

“Even when Italy won the fourth set, we kept the pace until the end. I want to thank all my players for the hard work they have done throughout the competition.”

It was the first final to go to five sets since 2003 and following the match USA wing spiker Jessica Mruzik was named tournament MVP. 

She was joined in the dream team by teammates Orr at setter, and middle blocker Devyn Robinson. Italy provide three players, Georgia Frosini at opposite, Oghosasere Omoruyi as one of the two outside hitters and Emma Graziani as the other middle blocker. 

Bulgaria’s Maria Yordanova finished as leading scorer with 135 points. 

The tournament ran from September 5-14 and featured 78 matches taking place in Cairo and Ismailia, which hosted the final at the 3,500-capacity Ismailia Hall.