Osaka, Japan, October 7, 2018 - The United States picked up from where they left off in Kobe by winning their opening Pool F game in Osaka on Sunday, defeating Bulgaria 3-0. The reigning world champions came to Osaka from Kobe with a 5-0 win-loss record and extended that 100 per cent run to 6-0 with a fluid 25-16, 25-17, 25-11 victory in 72 minutes over the southern Europeans, who dropped to 2-4.
Kimberly Hill led the USA attack with 13 points, lefty Karsta Lowe added 12 and captain Jordan Larson kept her team flowing with nine points.
Bulgaria's main scorers were middle blocker Nasya Dimitrova (11) and wing spiker Miroslava Paskova with nine.
In the first set, USA captain Jordan Larson helped her team settle into the match and both Kimberly Hill and Lauren Gibbemeyer pulled off crunching blocks. Tetori Dixon made her presence felt at the net and Karsta Lowe fizzed over some searing cross-court winners.
Miroslava Paskova was Bulgaria's most dangerous attacker and captain Hristina Ruseva pulled off an inspirational block, but on more than one occasion there was a lack of communication on the Bulgaria side of the net.
Nasya Dimitrova held up the Americans' march to the opening set with another fine block and then spiked hard down the right side as Bulgaria appeared to be sorting out their defensive coordination. The lead was too big, though, and the USA sealed the first set 25-16 as Hill stepped up the pace.
The second set started in simimlar fashion with Dixon serving an ace and Lowe and Hill spiking hard to 8-3 at the first TTO. Gergana Dimitrova and Paskova repied for Bulgaria but, trailing 10-3, they took a TO.
Setter Carli Lloyd added to Bulgaria's problems with a couple of clever flick-overs as the USA tried to break clear and Bulgaria responded with more terrific all-round play from middle blocker Nasya Dimitrova.
Leading 16-10 at the second TTO, the Americans built on this advantage and closed out the second set 25-17 for 2-0 behind some lusty blows from Lowe on the right, Larson and Hill soaring from the back court.
A devastating Dixon spike down the middle sent Bulgaria into a TO behind 13-7, even though the form of the two Dimitrovas continued to trouble the USA.
Bulgaria made far too many unforced errors, notably on serve, and the USA wrapped up the match 25-11.