WARSAW, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Team USA came back from two sets down to outplay Thailand 3-2 (23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 27-25, 15-13) at the 2022 FIVB Women's World Championship in Lodz, Poland on Saturday.
Karch Kiraly's team, who had already qualified for the knockout phase, finished the second round in second place, just behind Serbia.
In the initial stage of the game in Atlas Arena, the Americans made many unforced mistakes, which allowed their rivals to take the initiative. Opposite Kokram Pimpichaya, who was the best scorer of her team with 20 points, led Thailand to win the two first sets.
Danai Sriwatcharamethakul's side were just one step away from a triumph when the U.S. found their feet to turn the game around, turning out to be more efficient than Thailand in both offence and blocking. Middle blockers Chiaka Ogbogu and Haleigh Washington found their way to deal with the Thai's block.
Kiraly's players continued the momentum to move the match to the tie-break. The last set was incredibly tight but the U.S. had the last word. Outside hitter Kara Bajema fired a cross-court spike to put her team in front 14-13. In the next action, Bajema's strong serve allowed Lauren Carlini to close the match with a counterattack.
"Honestly, Chiaka Ogbogu and I have been working very hard to make ourselves as available as we can and to work on being in good blocking positions, so it's been a process throughout this whole tournament. I'm just stoked that we managed to pull it off, last game in pool play," 27-year-old Washington claimed in an interview with the official site of the competition.
First-placed Serbia extended their winning streak to nine games, as on Saturday the reigning champions beat Türkiye in straight sets 25-20, 25-21, 25-23. Both teams will move to the next round. Opposite Tijana Boskovic, who was the MVP of the 2018 World Championship, delivered a match-high 23 points.
In the evening match at Atlas Arena in Lodz, Poland beat Germany 3-2 (26-24, 20-25, 25-18, 26-28, 15-10). The team led by Stefano Lavarini took fourth position in Pool F to book a ticket to the quarterfinals.