Team Sybeldon hit the ground running with outside hitter Jordan Larson, opposite Karsta Lowe, and middle hitter Lauren Gibbemeyer. Each hit over .670 in the first set, with Larson hitting six kills, Lowe getting five kills, and Gibbemeyer obtaining four kills. Combined, the USA national teammates put up nine digs. Team Sybeldon dominated play during the set and won 25-12, earning them 40 win points.
Team King gained more momentum in the second set, leading midway through, but fell behind when opposing captain Lianna Sybeldon went on a 6-0 serving run to put her team up 23-19. Team King was unable to recover, and Team Sybeldon took the set 25-21, earning themselves another 40 win points.
Heading into the third set, Team King knew they had their work cut out for them to get some win points on the board.
Team Sybeldon continued their strong play and jumped to a 6-1 lead, but Team King responded by quickly tying the game up at 6-6. Team Sybeldon retook the lead and maintained it until Team King took their first lead of the set at 21-20. Contributing to the comeback was opposite Sherridan Atkinson, who finished the match with 15 kills and a .340 hitting percentage. At 21-22, an aggressive setter dump from captain Brie King on a tight pass gave her team a side out. At 24-21, King served an aggressive ball that left Team Sybeldon with few options off the pass, and a block by middle blocker Cori Crocker helped secure the final set win for Team King, earning them 40 win points.
Team Sybeldon ended the match with a total of 140 points for their won sets and winning the overall match, 73-58.
Larson, Lowe, and Gibbemeyer carried Team Sybeldon offensively with Larson hitting a .320% on 12 kills and 31 attempts. She was named MVP 1, earning 60 additional points to her 169 stat points for 369 points overall.
Larson, a member of the Player Executive Committee, has been involved with starting the professional volleyball league with Athletes Unlimited from the organization’s early days.
“It feels great [winning the first match of Athletes Unlimited]. I think the nerves finally settled after the first couple points in the first set and then we kind of got it rolling there,” Larson said. “I think we kind of lost focus at the end of the third, but overall, I was really excited about the match and was glad to have it under our belt.”
Lowe had 13 kills on 29 attempts for a .280%, and 124 stat points. She earned MVP 2 honors for 40 additional points and 304 overall. Gibbemeyer earned MVP 3 honors for an additional 20 points and 270 overall for her 10 kills and 17 attempts, a .530% attack percentage. Kaylee Manns had 31 assists in the match.
The top point earners for Team King were Atkinson and King. Atkinson earned 129 points, while King earned 108.
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