The USA U18 girls volleyball team captured the bronze medal Wednesday afternoon at the FIVB World Championship in Durango, Mexico, beating Serbia in four sets. Led by a talented roster featuring a handful of Preseason MaxPreps All-Americans, the U18 team finished 7-1 and downed Serbia 25-23, 25-28, 26-28, 25-18 as Harper Murray and Chloe Chicoine combined for a block to secure the victory.
The lone loss was in the semifinals to Italy, which fell to Russia in the championship match.
Mckenna Wucherer, who was named one of the two Best Outside Hitters for the tournament, finished with 12 kills, a match-high five aces and a pair of blocks. Bekka Allick led the US with 13 kills.
The US opened with a first-set victory as Maggie Mendelson gave her squad a 23-22 lead over Serbia. Following a Serbian hitting error, Wucherer finished off the set with a kill.
Mendelson capped the second set with a pair of kills to give the US a 2-0 lead, while libero Laney Choboy extended several rallies with go-for-broke digs. She ended with 16 digs.
"We fought our hardest," Wucherer told USA Volleyball
. "We never wanted to leave here without some hardware. We played our hearts out and it paid off."
After Serbia took the third set, the US came out and took a commanding 8-2 early lead before holding on for the 25-18 victory.
"Last night we talked about being who we wanted to be in this match," U.S. head coach Jamie Morrison told USA Volleyball. "I believe the entire match we did that. Serbia fought back strong in the third set, and in the fourth we just stayed true to who we were."
USA U18 Volleyball teamBekka Allick
, Waverly (Neb.)Julia Blyashov
, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego)Ella Brandewie
, Bishop Hartley (Columbus, Ohio)Chloe Chicoine
, McCutcheon (Lafayette, Ind.)Laney Choboy
, Leesville Road (Raleigh, N.C.)Caroline Jurevicius
, Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin (Chardon, Ohio)Devin Kahahawai
, Kamehameha Kapalama (Honolulu)Maggie Mendelson
, Fremont (Plain City, Utah)Harper Murray
, Skyline (Ann Arbor, Mich.)Bergen Reilly
, O'Gorman (Sioux Falls, S.D.)Alexis Stucky
, Laramie (Wyo.)Mckenna Wucherer
, Brookfield Central (Brookfield, Wis.)